Inspiring Celebrities

Madonna’s Latest Lap Dance Was Controversial – But Not for the ‘Disgusting’ Reason You Think 

By | Celebrities, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities

The onstage lap dance Madonna recently gave Maluma is being called “disgusting” and “controversial,” but not because of anything other than her age.

Regardless of how you feel about this statement, it’s worth parsing out the reasons her performance has inspired such an incredible sense of scandal.

Madonna Has Always Been the Queen of Controversy

Madonna Like a Virgin cover

Throughout her long and storied career, Madonna has performed countless shows in which she pushes the envelope — after all, being bold, sexual and daring has always been her thing

Take her famed “conical bra” of 1990, in which she subverted the “soft curves the corset was supposed to shape,” turning the female anatomy into “a spiky, phallic weapon,” one she “celebrated by exerting her dominance, sexual or otherwise.”

At the time, she was already mired in controversy, after the video for her lead single, “Like a Prayer,” drew connections between racial injustice and organized religion, featuring burning crosses and Madonna herself receiving the stigmata. 

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Really, just the very fact that Madonna’s name is Madonna is subversive. Although she was given the name at birth (believe it or not), the simple fact that someone named after the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, would spend her life fervently reclaiming her own name via the development of a decidedly erotic persona is notable, to say the least.

“Art should be controversial, and that’s all there is to it,” she told the New York Times back 1989. Indeed, this is a credo she has yet to abandon.

Throughout Madonna’s many past “controversies,” the star endured sexism and misogyny regularly, yet her sex appeal was never questioned. That is a far more recent development, and one that many believe is linked to ageism — the gendered kind.

Madonna’s “Controversial” Lap Dance in Medelín

Madonna Maluma Medelin

Fast-forward to April 2022, when Maluma’s long awaited “Medallo en el Mapa” homecoming concert in Medellín, Colombia took place. Throughout the show, the 28-year-old reggaeton star delivered a dynamic performance with numerous special guests, including the one and only Madonna, aka “The Queen of Pop,” now 63 years old. 

Madonna joined Maluma onstage and together they sang their collaboration, “Medellín,” which was featured on her 2019 album Madame X. During the performance, Madonna joined Maluma’s backup dancers for several numbers, including a bit where she grinded up against Maluma, culminating in a brief but memorable lap dance. The crowd seemed to love it, and calls for future collaborations between the pair have resounded as a result on social media. 

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That being said, there have also been less-than-appreciative comments, with one Twitter user posting, “Awesome granny lap dance – how classy.” 

Although the majority of comments have been positive, the negative comments stand out more. Judgmental remarks like, “Madonna, what’s going on with you?,” “You didn’t need that,” and “This performance is very sad,” beg a further look into what, exactly, people are taking issue with during the concert.

Madonna, Sexuality and Ageism — a Striking Double Standard

Madonna black and white tied in rubber cables

Maluma and Madonna met at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, and since then, Maluma has shared that Madonna “changed [his] vision in many ways.” 

“I’m still young and I’m still learning a bunch of things in this industry and my career, but it was an important thing to just be more confident in myself,” he told Madonna during a chat for Rolling Stone in October. “Since I met you, that’s something I always do, and I really appreciate that.”

But while Maluma has seemingly found something of a mentor in Madonna, The Queen has been getting all kinds of flack for her lap dance.

Madonna’s critics have said they don’t think she acts her age because she dates younger men. British television personality Piers Morgan has also been vocal about his disgust towards Madonna’s continued presence in pop culture, calling her “pathetic,” “embarrassing,” and even claiming that she doesn’t know how to “age gracefully.” 

And yet, whether Madonna’s choices as an aging entertainer speak to you personally or not, it’s hard not to notice that aging male performers are hardly held to the same standards. After all, men dating women 20-40 years their junior has been altogether normalized. One need look no farther than Mick Jagger, 78, who has a child with his partner, 35-year-old Melanie Hamlick. The pair became a couple when she was just 27 and he was 70. Yet you don’t hear anyone dubbing him pathetic. 

In 2016, Madonna became the focus of ageist bullying after spontaneously kissing Drake at Coachella and having a wardrobe malfunction at the BRIT awards. Both incidents sparked torrents of social media commentary mocking her age. Some claimed she must have “sucked the youthfulness” out of Drake and suggested her age was the reason she fell down the stairs during her wardrobe mishap.

Madonna, Still a Trailblazer in 2022 

Madonna in kinky latex photoshoot

After winning Woman of the Year at the 2016 Billboard Women in Music awards, Madonna shared a powerful but rather tongue-in-cheek message with listeners, describing how society allowed women to be “pretty and cute” but not to share their opinions. Delving into the unwritten rules of the music business, she said, “Be what men want you to be. But more importantly, be what women feel comfortable with you being around other men.” 

“And finally,” she continued, “Do not age. Because to age is a sin. You will be criticised, you will be vilified, and you will definitely not be played on the radio.” 

She was likely referring to BBC Radio 1 declining to play one of her recent singles as it “pursued a younger audience.” Madonna responded to the radio ban by saying it was “discriminatory” and “unfair.”

RELATED: Tupac’s Letter To Madonna Reveals The Sad Truth About Their Romance

Strikingly, just as Madonna has been vilified for aging, she has likewise been vilified and scrutinized for getting too much plastic surgery — in what one might assume is an attempt to cope with the viciously gendered ageism she faces in the music industry. Sadly, Madonna’s decision to remain a sexually expressive public figure at 63 is still a radical act in 2022.

“At the beginning of my career, I got so much flak for using sexuality as part of my creativity and was called a sexual provocateur,” she shared in a 2018 interview. “Now, all the challenges that I had to face 20 years ago seem ludicrous.

“What I am going through now is ageism,” she continues, “with people putting me down or giving me a hard time because I date younger men or do things that are considered to be only the domain of younger women. I mean, who made those rules? Who says? I’m going to keep fighting it. 10 to 20 years from now, it’s going to be normal. People are going to shut up.”

RELATED: 4 Life-Changing Books That Inspired Madonna to be Fearlessly Different

“We need role models” to make real change, she insists. “It’s an outdated, patriarchal idea that a woman has to stop being fun, curious, adventurous, beautiful, or sexy past the age of 40… Why should only men be allowed to be adventurous, sexual, curious and get to have all the fun until the day they leave this earth?”

“I’m going to make it easier for all the girls behind me when they turn 60. I hope they appreciate it,” she told Voge the year she turned 60, clearly intending to be the kind of role model we so sorely need to change the way society views aging women.


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How Leonardo DiCaprio Made Kate Winslet Cry – And Why It’s So Important

By | Celebrities, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, relationships

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have enjoyed a decades-long relationship built on mutual respect and love.

The pair first met on the set of 1997 smash hit Titanic, which grossed over $1.8 billion (yes, billion) at the global box office and catapulted them to A-list status. Both actors were in their early twenties (she was just 21 while he was 22) and were still finding themselves — both as artists and as individuals.

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It was this unusual shared experience that helped solidify an unshakeable bond between them. In the 25 years that have followed, they’ve continuously made fans swoon with their sweet friendship. With that achievement, it’s time for us to look into and remember the importance of platonic love.   

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet’s Relationship, Explained

Kate Winslet looking over Leonardo DiCaprio's shoulder in Titanic

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet’s on-screen chemistry stole hearts around the world and left many fans hoping that life would imitate art. In fact, a potential off-screen romance between them continues to inspire fanfiction to this day. However, theirs was a different kind of love from the very beginning. 

Speaking with Vanity Fair back in 1998, Winslet conceded DiCaprio was attractive and even “probably the world’s most beautiful-looking man,” but explained that their union was destined for a different kind of greatness.

“To me, he’s just smelly, farty Leo,” she joked, later sharing that they “never fancied each other.” Rather, they bonded over common interests, the fact that they were both “really very young,” and the film itself, which proved to be “seven months of very intense work.”

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From that common ground stemmed trust, a mutual admiration, and what Winslet has called “one of the greatest friendships of my life.”  DiCaprio agrees and has dubbed her one of his best friends and his forever “homegirl.”

Given how young the two actors were when they first met, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see them grow in separate directions, but as they show us, a true connection can withstand anything, whether it’s time, distance or even fame.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet smiling on a couch in Revolutionary Road

Indeed, DiCaprio and Winslet’s friendship hasn’t wavered and they even worked together again on 2008’s Revolutionary Road. The film was actually directed by Winslet’s then-husband, Sam Mendes, and as she told kinowetter, the on-set dynamic was “really great.” 

That’s because when you accept that you can have different kinds of love in your life and you’re open and honest about them, they can come together without drama. Working with DiCaprio, whom she called “the best actor of his generation,” also gave Winslet the trust and confidence to push her acting and be the best possible version of herself, which is something that paid off during awards season as she won the 2009 Golden Globe for best actress.

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While accepting the award, she made sure to thank her husband and her kids, but also her bestie. “Leo, I’m so happy I can stand here and tell you how much I love you, and how much I’ve loved you for 13 years,” she gushed, enthusing, “Your performance in this film is nothing short of spectacular and I love you with all my heart. I really do.” 

Their bond also extends far beyond the professional realm. The award-winning twosome has been known to hang out at DiCaprio’s Saint-Tropez home; they like to quote Titanic at one another because, as Winselt shared, “we find it really funny,”; and they genuinely love being a part of one another’s biggest life milestones. Case in point: When Winslet secretly tied the knot with Ned RocknRoll in 2012, DiCaprio reportedly walked her down the aisle and gave her away.

DiCaprio and Winslet Prove the Importance of Platonic Love – Even in Hollywood

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet talking on-stage

Platonic love continues to be one of the most misunderstood types of love, and that’s a real shame. Many of us still have the tendency to assume that such a bond is simply impossible because one (or both) parties are sure to develop romantic feelings.

It’s a misconception so common that it’s been the basis of many rom-coms, including the timeless classic, When Harry Met Sally… However, Billy Crystal’s infamous proclamation that “men and women can’t be friends” is simply untrue. In fact, as Healthline points out, platonic relationships aren’t just possible, they’re important.

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The fact is that platonic love between two individuals can be a great gift. It can be the basis for a wonderful, fulfilling relationship in which both parties offer each other unconditional love, lift each other up, and have an all-around good time filled with laughter and joy — exactly like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have.

If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us about human connection, it’s just how important friendship is for our overall mental health and wellbeing. It’s something the two actors learned firsthand as they were unable to meet up for close to three years.

Opening up about their first post-lockdown reunion, Winslet told The Guardian, “I couldn’t stop crying.” Explaining why she was so emotional, she shared, “I’ve known him for half my life” and not being able to “have dinner or grab a coffee and a catchup” took a real toll. “Like so many friendships globally, we’ve missed each other because of COVID,” she said, gushing, “He’s my friend, my really close friend. We’re bonded for life.”  

As these two show us, love can take on many forms and is truly a gift to be charished, no matter how it manifests itself. Whether or not it goes against outdated norms should be of no concern, as long as the union in question enriches life, like it clearly does for DiCaprio and Winslet.


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Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes and Why Breaking Conservatorship Is Such a Powerful Victory

By | Celebrities, emotional health, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, mental health, self-development

Perhaps no single word in recent times has been thrown around the pop culture lexicon with as much controversy and magnitude as “conservatorship.” 

The institution of conservatorship has existed in some form or another since the formalization of law and order. In essence, it grants authoritative powers to a guardian over another person or organization’s personal and professional affairs. Mostly, this is due to that person being too old, too young or too sick to make their own decisions , and is generally meant to protect them.

However, as we’ve seen in very public cases, like, most notably, the one faced by Britney Spears, there’s something particularly visceral about the full extent of what a conservatorship could entail, especially when grown people — in particular women — have to fight tooth and nail to escape them.

As a result, there has been a collective examination of the entire concept of conservatorship and how its ostensibly protective merit is often manipulated and distorted to control women and suppress their mental health struggles. The most recent example of a conservatorship in the public eye coming to a cathartic close, after Britney, is the case of Amanda Bynes.

Why Did Amanda Bynes Have a Conservatorship – And Was It Really Necessary?

On March 22, 2021, a Ventura County judge officially terminated the conservatorship for Amanda Bynes, who had been placed under her mother’s “protection” over nine years ago. As mentioned, this comes directly on the heels of Britney Spears’ conservatorship ruling in November, which finally put an end to the legal arrangement that had been controlling Britney’s personal care and wealth for well over 14 years. 

In Amanda’s case, many members of the public didn’t even know she was under conservatorship until it was announced she was filing to terminate the setup. Unlike Spears, Amanda didn’t have to go through a tedious, drawn-out struggle in the public eye to get the motion passed in her favor. Her demand was granted only a month later, with the actress finally granted the ability to decide her own state of affairs. 

Amanda’s decline from A-list teen sensation to a person publicly dealing with many issues surrounding mental health and addiction has been well-documented in the media. Since 2010, she has quit acting, been arrested multiple times for offenses like driving while intoxicated, and been admitted to psychiatric facilities to get the help she needs and deserves.

In August 2013, Amanda’s mother Lynn was ordered by a court to take over her daughter’s personal and financial affairs, with the judge citing that Amanda “poses a substantial risk to herself, to others, and to property.” Though Lynn did seek consultation from legal professionals over how she could best oversee Amanda’s estate and guardianship, she remained the primary conservator. 

Despite losing decision-making power over her own life, Amanda tried her best to improve her condition. She went to rehab, focused on her sobriety, pursued fashion as a professional pathway, and even found love. When it was reported she was trying to end her conservatorship, her loved ones and supporters couldn’t be more ecstatic. Even her mom and dad, who were said to have maintained a positive dynamic with Amanda throughout the ordeal, were on board with the termination.

The family lawyer, David A. Esquibias, told TMZthat the petition to end the conservatorship had been “years in the making” and that both Amanda’s mom and dad had “realized the significant progress [Amanda] made in coping with bipolar disorder.”

When the judge officially decided to discontinue the arrangement, Amanda, via a statement from her lawyer, said, “I would like to thank my fans for their love and well wishes during this time.” She also thanked her parents for their support over the last nine years. She concluded by saying she’d like to continue prioritizing her well-being and is excited about the new chapter in her journey. 

In the last several years, I have been working hard to improve my health so that I can live and work independently, and I will continue to prioritize my well-being in this next chapter.

Amanda Bynes via PEOPLE

Britney Spears and Free Britney sign

Britney Spears’ conservatorship, unlike Bynes’, had been so controversial and protracted, it effectively shattered the relationship between herself and her father, Jamie Spears, for good.

Spears’ conservatorship order was established in 2008 in the wake of her public breakdown, which included psychiatric restrictions and orders around her children’s safety. Much has been written about this period in Britney’s life — who was to blame, who should have provided support, to what extent should the public have weighed in, the responsibility carried by her loved ones — but the fact remains that Britney wasn’t given the resources she needed to heal. She was left to fend for herself, and therefore submitted to the legal protocol purported to heal her. 

Not only did my family not do a goddamn thing, my dad was all for it […] I’ve lied and told the whole world, ‘I’m OK, and I’m happy.’ I’m not happy. I’m so angry. It’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.

Britney Spears via Variety

As mentioned above, a temporary conservatorship can be beneficial in a few ways to help someone slow down and restore their mental faculties, but if a stipulation runs too long, it may endanger stripping those under protection of not just their autonomy but any semblance of inner peace they might achieve.

In Britney’s case, her family and legal team should have realized and recognized Britney’s progress as she was starting to demonstrate sound capabilities. Instead, they forced her to work in endeavors she had no passion for, prevented her from participating in rehabilitation, kept away her children, and governed her reproductive health. This took place for nearly 14 years, and it took a documentary and a global movement to reverse the damage. 

Why Breaking Away from Conservatorship Is So Important 

Not all conservatorships are equal — everyone will have a different experience, and for many, it is a necessary course of action. What more of us need to acknowledge, however, is how there’s a broader distaste for women going through mental health illnesses, and how, if they cross a supposed limit, they are punished, imprisoned, and in many ways, infantilized.

There is a way to help these women without trapping them in devastating circumstances that steal their lives for far too much time. On many occasions, as we’ve seen especially with Britney Spears, long-term conservatorship is just a convenient way to control women, their day-to-day lives, their long-term visions, their key relationships, and everything in between. The focus should be on nurturing these women, empowering them to fight their mental health struggles and helping them reclaim their right to freedom — not to keep them locked in the same situation, devoid of any agency or ownership.

How Christina Ricci Went from Underrated Actor to Outspoken Activist and Back Again

By | Celebrities, Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities

Known for playing unusual characters with a dark edge, Christina Ricci, now 42, is best remembered by most fans for her child role in Mermaids and her subsequent emergence as a ’90s ‘teen icon’ with roles in The Addams Family, Casper, and Now and Then. 

Although she’s been in a number of films since, including the 2003 biographical crime drama Monster, in which some say her performance was sorely underrated, most people still have to stop and think about the last time they heard anything much about Christina Ricci.

That’s all going to change again, of course, thanks to the recent announcement that Ricci will return to the Addams Family universe in Tim Burton’s Netflix spinoff series, Wednesday, albeit not in the title role. And while this project and a few other recent cameos have put her back at the forefront of many of her fans’ minds, this paragon of Hollywood’s Goth alternative spent the bulk of the last few years fading into the background when it came to her acting career. But that’s not to say she hasn’t been busy creating new fans for a very different reason.

What Exactly Happened to Christina Ricci?

Always a nonconformist, Ricci has tended to gravitate toward smaller, edgier independent films. She has often portrayed young, alienated, sexually curious and/or manipulative women in films like The Ice Storm and Black Snake Moan. But although she’s often had rave reviews, she hasn’t enjoyed the same sort of mainstream success she knew as a kid, leading many people to believe she disappeared altogether. 

Given Ricci’s “pushing the envelope” era of her late teens and early twenties, where she really tried to establish herself as a “grownup” actress with The Opposite of Sex, 200 Cigarettes, Buffalo 66, and Pecker, some fans believe it may have all been a bit too much at once for mainstream Hollywood to feel comfortable keeping her in mind. And that’s saying nothing about casting her in big productions. In other words, it’s possible Ricci was typecast as the “teen queen of crass.”

It’s worth noting, however, that Ricci has been attracted to edgy, gritty, bold and nonconformist projects for many solid reasons, most of them deeply personal.

For instance, Ricci has publicly opened up about how she “had a very hard time with fame as a child,” reasoning that, “no child should be held up for adults to criticize, question, interview, weigh in on.” As the result of finding it difficult to “navigate being an adult celebrity versus being a child celebrity,” a young Ricci took to “goofing around” by making shocking statements during interviews, such as “I’m not afraid to die,” and “It’s such a natural thing to have sex with [your parents].” 

Ricci has since confirmed that these statements were “ironic” and nothing more than a “teenager spouting obnoxious things.” Off-screen, Ricci struggled with her fame as a teen battling with anorexia and self-harm but has since overcome these demons.

Christina Ricci’s Path from Acting to Activism

Christina Ricci as Rainn spokesperson

In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Ricci was asked about her motivations in taking on provocative roles like the ones she played in The Opposite of Sex, and The Ice Storm, particularly in a context where she struggled with self-image so much as a teen. 

She replied, “The sexual aspects of all those roles were not something I liked. For me, those kinds of things are just necessary evils. But I always wanted to play more complicated characters. And I guess when it’s a teenage girl, the issue of sexuality is going to be part of it. But I hated the whole “sexy” thing, and people talking about my boobs. It was just gross to me. Totally gross.” 

Ricci’s portrayal of nymphomaniac Rae in the 2006 drama Black Snake Moan was particularly well received. However, the film was deemed controversial because of its dark and exploitative themes. Still, critics felt Ricci was impressive, with one writer describing her performance as “fearless, specific, and blazingly committed,” adding, “She’s the white-hot focal point of [director] Brewer’s loud, brash, encompassing vision.”

Despite her success, Ricci was so disturbed by the marketing campaign for Black Snake Moan that she became an activist for rape victims. Rae, the character she portrayed, was a sexually abused girl desperate for male attention. But when she saw herself on film posters posing seductively in a navel-bearing top and short shorts, Ricci was inspired to join RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), an organization founded by songstress Tori Amos. 

“I wasn’t really comfortable with the way [Black Snake Moan] was being marketed and I was trying to combat how exploitive that campaign was, given what I thought the movie was about when I was making it. So I became directly involved with RAINN [on the issue of] rape trauma syndrome, and … They asked me to be their national spokesperson, which was amazing. Then they invited me to go to Washington to lobby the Congressional Appropriations Committee for funding for legislation. That was crazy. I didn’t know just anyone could go and meet with congress-people. I kept saying, ‘You guys know I didn’t go to college, right? I’m just an actress.’”

Ricci became RAINN”s national spokesperson in 2007 and continues to fulfill the important role of advocating for survivors of sexual assault to this day.

On a personal level, Ricci is no stranger to abuse, having suffered domestic abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, James Heerdegen. In her divorce filing, she stated that she was subjected to “severe physical and emotional abuse” and that, “many of these acts of abuse” took place in front of her son.

Christina Ricci: Onward, Upward and Beyond

Today, along with her aforementioned Addams Family project, Wednesday, Ricci stars in the critically acclaimed drama seriesYellowjackets, in which she plays a role she’s seemingly been working up to forever. Her character, Misty Quigley, is a nurse with a pet parrot named Caligula and an obsession with lacing household items with narcotics.

Ricci, today a proud mother of two, has also begun producing her own projects, and is interested in directing as well. Her outspoken, envelope-pushing journey thus far has undoubtedly played a part in the thoughtfulness she puts into the types of roles she takes on these days as a full-blown adult.

“Just recently have I actually started thinking, ‘What do I really want to contribute? Who am I? What means something to me?,’” she asks. “I deserve to do work that I feel good about. I want to contribute to the world, I don’t want to just take from it. I want to do things that I’m proud of instead of being exploited, as I feel I was when I was a child. I am now more in charge of myself and doing things because I understand more fully what life is supposed to be about.”

Pierce Brosnan’s Challenging Experiences With Fatherhood And Death Reveal a Powerful Lesson

By | Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, Pierce brosnan, stories

Pierce Brosnan may have ingrained himself in the public consciousness as the effervescently cool, sophisticated, and suave James Bond of the nineties, but in reality, their stories couldn’t be more different. 

For starters, Pierce, though a renowned actor of our times, isn’t nearly as glamorous or untouchably perfect as 007. He has faced his battles, some of which left him wounded, devastated, and emotionally crippled for years on end. He has experienced unimaginable losses, those which you do not recover from but only make peace with as you get older. Anyone remotely familiar with Pierce’s background can attest to the challenges that have plagued him since the beginning. 

Yet, what makes his journey more meaningful and possibly more impressive than James Bond is how he doesn’t bother to hide behind the mystery. He is willing to discuss at length some of the battles he’s fought and what he’s actively doing to heal himself and his family. We’ve already explored the sense of protectiveness he feels over his wife Keely Shaye Smith, but it’s time to unpack the complex relationship he shares with his children. 

Here’s why his undying commitment to fatherhood carries a lesson for everyone.

Pierce had to “cut off” his adopted son Christopher due to lifelong addiction troubles

Pierce Brosnan, Son Christopher Harris, and Daughter Charlotte Harris (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Pierce’s journey with fatherhood began in quite a unique, sudden fashion. 

He was only twenty-four when he met Australian actress Cassandra Harris in 1975. They instantly fell in love, with Pierce remarking how he didn’t think “of wooing her, or attempting to woo her.” He just wanted to “enjoy her beauty and who she was.” They married in December 1980 and welcomed their son Sean in 1983. Pierce also adopted Cassandra’s children, Charlotte and Christopher, when their father passed away in 1986. Charlotte and Chris subsequently assumed the Brosnan family name. 

Instead of being able to focus his energy on raising just one kid, the Mamma Mia actor had to quickly acclimate to being a parent of three children, including two sullen teenagers who were still grieving the death of their biological dad and didn’t see Pierce as a father figure at all. “To begin with I was Pierce, then I was Daddy Pierce, and then I just became Dad,” Pierce said. Despite the initial adjustment hiccups, the five of them had figured out how to be a loving, blended unit. “We just clicked as a family.”

Unfortunately, tragedy engulfed the family in short order when Cassandra was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the late eighties. She passed away on 28 December 1991 at the age of 43. The death understandably shattered the family inside out, and Pierce had to reckon with not only losing the love of his life but being a beacon of strength for the family while coping with his own trauma. As for Charlotte and Chris, the sorrow of losing both their mom and dad in the span of a few years struck them hard. Describing the situation, Pierce said, “I was in a helpless state of…confusion and anger. She was comforting me.”

Over the years, things had to get worse before they could get better. While Pierce was eventually able to get back on his feet and recuperate, Chris tried to numb his agony with substances. He started relying on heroin and cocaine to get through the day, spiraling deeper and deeper into a tumultuous state of disorder. In a 2005 Playboy interview, Pierce shed some light on what had been occurring with his son. “Christopher is still very lost. Shockingly so.” 

I had to say, ‘Go. Get busy living, or get busy dying.’ For all his waywardness and addiction I adore Christopher and just want him well and healthy.

Pierce Brosnan to Playboy

Pierce also shared how he had to “cut off” Christopher because his behavior was becoming more and more erratic, impossible to control, incorrigible to reason. “[Christopher] has tested everybody in this family but none more so than himself. He knows how to get out. He doesn’t want to.” It’s a difficult realization for any father to undergo, but enough is enough. Sometimes, you have to accept that there is only so much you can do to help your wounded, dysfunctional child. Pierce did what he could, but at the end of the day, he had to set boundaries with Chris. “I had to say, ‘Go. Get busy living, or get busy dying’. He has my prayers.”

He lost his daughter to the same disease that claimed his first wife

Pierce Brosnan and his daughter Charlotte (Photo by Mu Kei/FilmMagic)

If Christopher’s state of affairs wasn’t harrowing enough, Pierce lost his only daughter, Charlotte, to ovarian cancer in June 2013. It was a tragic repeat of what had transpired to her mother twenty-two years earlier, sending Pierce into a mournful, dejected frame of mind yet again. In a statement to the press, he announced Charlotte’s death and said, “Our hearts are heavy with the loss of our beautiful dear girl. We pray for her and that the cure for this wretched disease will be close at hand soon.” 

At least, he was able to work through the pain with the support of his wife Keely, but it’s never easy to lose both your wife and your daughter to the same disease. When asked how he is able to grapple with life’s many adversities, he said, “I don’t look at the cup as half full, believe me,” adding that the “dark, melancholy Irish black dog” sits beside him occasionally. The despair has a way of latching into your inner self, spreading like a virus and becoming an “indelible part of your psyche,” he said. 

To watch someone you love have his or her life eaten away bit by bit by this insidious disease, that kind of sorrow becomes an indelible part of your psyche. 

Pierce Brosnan via Entertainment Tonight 

Thankfully, Pierce hasn’t given up hope yet. He’s more in love than ever with Keely, he values his hobbies and does try to spend as much time as he can with his children and grandchildren. “My days are full in a leisurely sort of way,” he said. He cherishes being a father to Sean, Dylan, Paris, and even Christopher, despite the heartache the latter may have caused. “I know what it’s like to bring up sons, and it can be a very arduous road,” he said. Yet, at the same time, he has faith in his “instincts.”  As long as he’s trying his best to support, nurture, and love his children, the code to cracking fatherhood will be within grasp. 

Never turn away from acknowledging your sadness

Christopher Brosnan, Charlotte Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, his mother and Sean Brosnan (Photo by Gareth Davies/Getty Images)

You could be the sexiest, most beloved man in the world and still be haunted by immeasurable tragic memories. That’s what Pierce’s journey serves as a reminder to: in life, we can’t have everything. We are undeniably going to go through our own excruciating circumstances that inflict a great deal of suffering, sacrifice, and loss. Sometimes, it’s death; sometimes, it’s divorce, and sometimes it could be seeing our loved ones descend a frightening path over which we have no control, but we are going to come across them nonetheless. Instead of ignoring their presence and just going about your day like it’s no big deal, it’s valuable to acknowledge the pain in your life. Grief will lodge deep within your heart and build a home, but as long as you make room for other positive emotions, you’ll be okay. Don’t refuse to acknowledge the reality, as distressing as it may seem. Sadness is what gives meaning to happiness.

Rise Again

“You will survive and you will find purpose in the chaos. Moving on doesn’t mean letting go.” — Mary VanHaute

Ice Cube’s Relationship With His Wife Proves Marriage Doesn’t Have to Mean The End of Romance

By | Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, stories

Ice Cube may be known as one of the hardest men in the business, but once you begin peeling through the layers, he’s a softie at heart. 

A self-proclaimed gangster, he’s built his reputation as the type of person who fears nothing and no one, someone who is willing to court danger and jeopardize his livelihood in the name of standing up for himself. His public persona, as such, exudes ruthlessness and a tough-as-nails resolve, which does tend to drive people away. If everyone is terrified of you, how will you ever find love

At the same time, his unyielding personality does allow him to get through most of life’s biggest hurdles with ease and determination. Take, for example, his thirty-year marriage with Kimberly Woodruff. They weren’t meant to get together, but Ice Cube waited patiently and respectfully till his turn came. Once it did, he seized the opportunity by its horns and ensured he would never let his lady go. Their story exemplifies what it means to share a long-term commitment, a commitment that tests you to the limit every day but also inspires you to be your best self. 

Let’s chronicle Ice Cube’s relationship with Kimberly and how they’ve been subverting expectations for thirty years and counting.

How Ice Cube and Kimberley’s relationship turned from unrequited love to a thirty-year “partnership”

Ice Cube and Kimberly Woodruff in 2010 (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)

It wasn’t a straightforward beginning for Ice Cube and Kimberly. Like any other couple, they had to go through their share of ups and downs, but unlike most couples, they managed to overcome those obstacles with aplomb. 

The rapper, born O’Shea Jackson, met Kimberly when she was in college. At first, it was a one-sided attraction. “The first time we met, she wasn’t feeling me, she was NOT having it,” he shared. She’d also been in a relationship at the time, so the prospect of dumping her boyfriend for an up-and-coming rapper didn’t seem appealing at all, to say the least. It wasn’t until six months later that Ice Cube was able to reconnect with her and take another stab at pursuing a romance. This time around, he was successful, and Kimberly accepted his advances, opening herself to him bit by bit. “She could feel my vibe and fell in love with your boy,” the former N.W.A member said. 

The two started dating shortly and became engaged three years later. Their first son, O’Shea Jackson, was born on February 24, 1991. They married a year later, on April 26, 1992, and went on to have three more children over the next four years. Speaking about the secret to their long-lasting marriage, Ice Cube said it’s nothing but a genuine “partnership” among the two and that he still gets “butterflies” when he sees her. You’d think a couple in their fifties would have difficulties keeping the spark alive, but as per Ice Cube, nothing has changed at all. The passion is still intact, the infatuation is as boundless as ever, and the connection they feel toward each other is becoming more and more potent with time. 

Romance and sex doesn’t have to fade. I still want her to look at me and say ‘this is the man I still want to be with.’ So have to keep yourself up, your P’s and Q’s and go for what you know.

Ice Cube via Black Doctor

There’s mutual “respect” but they also feel “butterflies” when seeing each other

O’Shea ‘Ice Cube’ Jackson and Kimberly Woodruff with their son O’Shea Jackson Jr. (R) (Credit:
Kevin Winter / Staff via Getty)

It’s as though they’re a pair of lovebirds laying their eyes on each other for the first time, brimming with endless affection and emotion. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to view your partner with the same rose-colored glasses as when you first met them — to keep this going for three years running is nothing short of extraordinary. Best of all, they’re able to take the wisdom gathered over the last thirty years and actually apply it to their marriage. “I respect my wife and she respects me,” stated Ice Cube, indicating the extent to which he and his wife understand each other. 

What’s sweet is how Ice Cube actively endeavors to preserve the excitement. He could easily rest on his laurels, and their rapport would still survive. But that’s not enough: he aspires to sustain the attraction for as long as possible. That means “keeping yourself up” and rising to the occasion whenever necessary. “I still want her to look at me and say, ‘this is the man I still want to be with,’” the Ride Along actor revealed. If she stops desiring him at any point, something went awry, and he will undoubtedly take it personally. That’s why he celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a “re-proposal” of sorts. “I don’t know if it was considered romantic. I had bought her a new car, a BMW 5-series, and when she went to sit in the car, there was a ring sitting on the seat,” he stated. 

Ice Cube will be the first to tell you that it’s not mandatory to surprise your partner with a 24-carat gold ring or a BMW car. The gesture could be as small as you’d like, but as long as you’re making an effort and showing up, you’re doing something right. For example, he stresses the importance of simply “hanging out” with his wife. “I like to hang out with my wife, talk about things, get some coffee, you know,” said the 52-year-old. In his view, you don’t have to move heaven and earth to make a statement. “Sometimes just understanding where the other person is coming from is helpful to getting along and being happy,” he said, emphasizing how communicating is key to their relationship. 

Sometimes just understanding where the other person is coming from is helpful to getting along and being happy.

Ice Cube via Daily Mail

Ice Cube’s gentle side might be a surprise to many, but it proves once again how nobody is two-dimensional. You could present yourself as the most rugged, bullheaded man in the world, but you still need to turn on the charm periodically: it’s the least anyone can do to strengthen their marriage. 

Always go the extra mile when it comes to love

Effort is everything. Love doesn’t last on its own; the people involved in the relationship have to go the extra mile to keep the connection powerful. Ice Cube understands the value of a partner by your side in sickness and in health: that’s why he always makes sure to impress his wife, see where she is coming from, and show her a good time. Age doesn’t have to be a barrier in what you can do to convey your admiration, respect, or lust for someone. Different couples have different traditions and preferences, so take the time to know your partner and get familiar with their needs. The relationship matures, so must your way of expressing love. 

Keep your love alive

Small and meaningful gestures can go a long way.

How Fergie Redefines Motherhood by Challenging All Expectations For Older Women

By | empowering, Fergie, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, motherhood, stories

From her start on the small screen to her solo singing career, Fergie is a complete artist and was made for the spotlight. 

The 8-time Grammy winner began her career by appearing in commercials and on the cast of Kids Incorporated in 1984. In 2003, Fergie joined the hip-hop rock band The Black Eyed Peas and their first album, Elephunk, became a huge smash. With singles like Where Is The Love and Hey Mama, the group conquered everyone’s hearts and then invited them to the dance floor.

However, the road to success was not an easy one for the singer. Behind a seemingly strong facade, Fergie hides a powerful story of resilience against all odds.

From addiction to a solo career

Taboo, Fergie, Will.I.Am and of The Black Eyed Peas (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)

But before The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie was struggling with her career, started partying a lot and eventually developed an addiction to crystal meth. The singer realized that her addiction definitely won’t help her in her future plans and slowly tried to get up on her feet, kicking her drug habit in 2002.

We always have choices. And sometimes I made bad ones! I needed to make better choices to get me on an even keel.


No need to say that her years with The Black Eyed Peas were a massive success, but when Fergie decided to try a solo career (which only made sense), a lot of people were skeptical, thinking that she would soon fade out of the spotlight. Then the singles “London Bridge” and “Fergalicious” were released and let’s face it, the singer proved that she doesn’t need a band to entertain a crowd. Her flamboyant personality, moves and her incredible strong voice were more than enough to fill the stage. Beautiful, fierce and overly-talented, she let the whole world know that she can be a force on her own.

It was in the next stage of her journey, motherhood, that Fergie would find yet another challenge.

After 5 years of dating and about 8 years of marriage, Fergie and actor Josh Duhamel decided to publicly announce that they were separating. However, the good part in all of this is that both of them are doing their best to remain involved in their child’s life.

Even though they’re not a romantic couple anymore, Fergie and her ex still meet and enjoy some normal family activities together with their son, Axl Jack. They made a solemn promise to always be united and support each other and their child, and that’s one of the best things anyone would hope to happen after a breakup.

Fergie’s version of motherhood

<> at SiriusXM Studios on September 25, 2017 in New York City.

While Fergie took it down a notch to take care of her newborn (which is totally understandable), in 2017 she came back with a second solo album, Double Dutchess, and a single that raised a lot of eyebrows – “M.I.L.F.$.”

The video for the single opens with a 1950s suburbia aesthetic and stars celebrity moms such as Kim Kardashian, Ciara, Chrissy Teigen, Alessandra Ambrosio and more.

Fergie redefined the meaning of the acronym M.I.L.F.. Probably most of you know what MILF really means, but the singer turned it into “Moms I’d Like to Follow”. And it was a genius idea because now anyone can say it without any trace of guilt. However, the video still stirred up some controversy until Fergie explained the idea behind it.

Both the lyrics and the video celebrate female power. It’s about encouraging all the female breadwinners out there to keep up the good work as moms, but also take some time for personal treats. Because, yes, one can be a nurturing mom and still look hot.

I’m a firm believer in moms getting to go out once in a while and having fun. It makes you a better mom because you come back refreshed. In this world of mommy shaming, ageism, fear of being relevant and all that.


Taking care and giving yourself a treat every now and then should be part of your routine and by any means, it shouldn’t make you feel guilty. You work hard and you deserve a little “me time” to do whatever brings you pleasure. There’s really nothing wrong in reminding yourself that you are first and foremost a woman, and you are allowed to feel attractive and confident, regardless of how many children you’ve got or how old they are.

Fergie and her friends not only know that but they also firmly believe in it. The colourful shots of all these fashion girls of all shape and sizes are meant to be empowering. They are all mothers, have a career and they still find time to take care of themselves and feel sexy.

Society tries to tell moms what they should and shouldn’t be, and it’s just a little freeing to have fun with pushing those limits a bit. I might do it a little bit more than others, but that’s just who I am.


What is Fergie doing now?

Shortly after the release of  “M.I.L.F.$”, the Double Duchess has split from her label and went on to start her own. Even though she has laid low for a while and a reunion with The Black Eyed Peas seems unlikely to happen, we are sure that the singer is thriving independently.

During her career, Fergie took on some small roles in movies such as Poseidon (2006) and Grindhouse (2007).  So who knows? Maybe we’ll see her acting in the near future, rather than singing. We also know that Fergie is a business woman, so on or off-stage, she is still a career mom.

At 46, with a strong personality (that shows) and the courage to step out of the box while others try to fit in, Fergie keeps inspiring millions of mothers to live their best life – and we applaud her for this.

life is what you make it

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou

This Couple Could Only Afford $1 Wedding In T-Shirts – Until Strangers Stepped In With Major Surprise

By | Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, stories

Weddings are a 50 billion dollar industry worldwide, thanks to societal pressures and traditional expectations placed on couples. Energy goes into planning the weddings while marriage preparation (like premarital counselling, or important discussions about money and family planning) falls by the wayside. Terms like “Bridezilla” are commonplace when talking about weddings. Meanwhile, phrases like “Happy Wife, Happy Life” dominate the conversation about marriage. One couple in Kenya decided to skip the “zilla” of wedding planning and jump straight into the “happy life” of marriage.

Frugal festivities

Wilson Mutara, 27, and Ann Mutara, 24, had postponed their wedding twice in 2016 when they found themselves unable to raise the $300 fee that was required to throw a more traditional wedding. When friends and family were not able to help them raise the required sum, Wilson’s brother encouraged him to continue to save money and just move in with Ann, unmarried. Wilson, a self-employed fruit seller, and Ann wouldn’t have it. They wanted a permanent, and “blessed” union. So, they decided to get married in 2017 with minimal expense– and with some help from their community.

A sweet scene

Ann and Wilson’s church pitched in and covered the unavoidable marriage expenses like the license. Ultimately, the couple spent only $1 on rings, dressing casually in jeans and t-shirts and skipping any extras like a cake, decorations, or fancy clothes. The only touch of drama came from Wilson himself, who shocked the congregation when he ran out into the street mid-ceremony, only to return with a pair of wedding rings. The crowd cheered when he pulled them out as the exchange of vows was about to start. 

Positive feedback

Wilson and Ann’s story was shared widely on social media, where it garnered plenty of positive attention. 

  • “Who said we have to complicate marriage ceremonies with huge budgets?” Jay Can-did(Nairobi News comment page)
  • “This is impressive. The most important thing is the marriage, not the wedding.” Daniel Wafula (Twitter)
  • “Their wedding had nothing, but their marriage will be beautiful,” Beatrice Oloo (Facebook)

I believe money should not stop young people like us from getting married. If people love each other and want to marry they should.

– Ann Mutara

Even though the couple was more than happy with their wedding, the attention on social media resulted in them receiving gifts from people who were touched by their story and the purity of their love. They were even gifted a 5-day honeymoon by a travel agency!

Less is more

Ann and Wilson’s story reminds us that behind all of the pageantry and expense of a wedding, a marriage is about expressing love and creating a lifelong union. We should all take an example from Ann and Wilson and remember that love and family is always more important, and more inspiring, than a fancy dress or a beautiful cake. 

More powerful love stories:

Keanu Reeves Surprises Entire Crew With $7000 Personalized Rolex Watches To Express His Gratitude

By | Food for thought, giving, Inspiring Celebrities, inspiring celebs, keanu reeves, stories

For some actors, a fourth installment of an action series might be something to look past and immediately move on from. But not Keanu Reeves.

Keanu Reeves has earned the reputation as one of the nicest guys in Hollywood wherein he continuously takes the people around him, his coworkers, and also his fans by surprise with his heartwarming gestures.

His one such kind deed is going viral.

He bought the stunt crew Rolex watches

After wrapping up the filming for John Wick: Chapter 4, the Matrix actor surprised his stunt crew — Bruce Concepcion, Jeremy Marinas, Dave Camarillo, and Li Qiang — with personalized Rolex Submariner watches during a dinner in Paris.

According to Dmarge, the Submariner is a dive watch that’s extremely rare. So rare that waiting lists can run multiple years long.

‘Best wrap gift ever’

Marinas shared a look at the watches in his Instagram Stories, calling it the “best wrap gift ever.”

He went on to show the message Keanu had engraved on the watch: “The John Wick Five. Jeremy Thank you Keanu JW4 2021.”

Got that new new thank you bro KR.

Jeremy Marinas wrote in his Instagram Stories

Stay humble

This is not the first time a heartwarming act by Reeves has gone viral.

There was the time he shared his unique and inspiring take on death, the time he called everyone “breathtaking,” and then signed a lawn sign by a fan. There was also the time he selflessly went on a road trip with a bunch of strangers.

With each and every viral kind deed by Reeves, it’s a reminder to be humble. No matter how rich and famous you are, we all have to treat others with respect.

More uplifting stories:

Treat everyone with respect

No matter your status in life, everyone deserves to be appreciated and treated with kindness and respect.

Homeless Man’s Unconventional Friendship With Actor Colin Farrell Completely Changes His Life

By | Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, stories, uplifting news

In Hollywood, there is a common misconception that celebrities are arrogant and self-centered. However, that’s not completely true. Sometimes celebrities can surprise us by committing acts of kindness that can drastically change a person’s life.

This is one such story of actor Colin Farrell who did something not many people would do – he treated a homeless man with respect, proving the power of compassion.

Colin Farrell treated the man like a friend

Colin Farrell was at the Toronto International Music Festival in 2007 when he encountered a houseless man named David on the curb of a local restaurant.

Instead of ignoring the man, Farrell asked the man for a cigarette and sat down to chat.

“Him reaching out [to] me through the years of my journey somehow gave me a good lift of hope.”


“I didn’t know who he was,” said David in a 2012 Global News report. “I just thought he was a regular human being.”

As the two were chatting like longtime buddies, Farrell passed David a book called The Voice of God by the Persian poet Hafiz and a wad of cash for a new wardrobe. He also said he’d pay for a nice place to stay for a year and promised to check up on David via text.

The homeless man bounced back thanks to Farrell

Five years later, David is back on his feet and no longer homeless and he credits Farrell for helping him get there.

“He’s a down-to-earth guy. He’s willing to help you out. If you show respect it goes a long way,” David told the news camera. “I haven’t been homeless now in 5 years and that’s a blessing.”

David explained that his key to staying off the curb is to watch his boundaries.

“I’ve changed in so many different ways. Mainly more stable, more calm.”


“People, places and things. And staying around healthy people that are more positive, not negative, is key.”

David finished the interview by giving praise to the man who helped him.

“He’s a very kind person Colin, he’s very considerate,” he said.

Treat those who are struggling with respect

Beyond being a testament to Farrell’s character, this story proves how important it is to show respect and care to those that are struggling around us. We might not be able to hand a homeless person a wad of cash and money for an apartment, but we can treat them like a friend.

More uplifting stories:


No matter their station in life, everyone is human and deserves to be treated with respect and kindness.