In a new essay for Harper’s Bazaar, pop icon Madonna reveals that she was raped at knifepoint before she became famous, as she struggled to make it in New York City.
"New York wasn’t everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms. The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back, and had my apartment broken into three times. I don’t know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time," she writes in the essay.
While she was excited by the energy of New York City, she writes that she was also "scared shitless and freaked out by the smell of piss and vomit everywhere, especially in the entryway of my third-floor walk-up."
One image that kept her going despite her loneliness was artist Frida Kahlo, Madonna notes.
"And I wondered if it was all worth it, but then I would pull myself together and look at a postcard of Frida Kahlo taped to my wall, and the sight of her mustache consoled me. Because she was an artist who didn’t care what people thought. I admired her. She was daring. People gave her a hard time. Life gave her a hard time. If she could do it, then so could I," she writes.