A few weeks ago, the 63-year-old singer Photoshopped herself — legs spread and bosom bulging, clad in a fetish-style corset and leather gloves — into an image of her bikini-clad daughter Lourdes Leon, 25, from a magazine shoot.
Madonna then shared it with her 17.2 million Instagram followers — some of whom called the move “desperate” and the singer herself “trash.”
But, sources told The Post, the odd display was meant as a sweet expression of maternal pride.
Lourdes is reportedly uneasy on social media and the photo maneuver, it seems, was Mom’s way of encouraging her.
Lourdes follows no one on Instagram and cannot be tagged on her public feed. Mostly silent, she will sometimes respond to those who post things like “Your Mom is a legend” by snarking, “Follow her then. It’s @Madonna.”
“Lourdes has an enormous sense of self — she is spiky and tough,” a Madonna source told The Post. “Her attitude is defiant, all day, every day.”
She may bridle at her famous mother’s influence, but Lourdes is also very much Madonna’s daughter — determined to make her own mark, boundaries be damned. When the singer was 25, she released her debut album and captivated audiences. Now Lourdes is ready to do the same.
“She loves to shock and provoke,” according to the Madonna source — like when she took part in a simulated orgy at a fashion event at Art Basel last year. In September, she walked the runway for both Versace and Fenty, in very revealing outfits.
“Ultimately, she wants to break boundaries like her mom did,” said an insider.
But her mother reportedly is not a fan of Lourdes’ tattoos. Madonna herself got her first ink at age 62; she now has the initials of her six children (Lourdes; Rocco, 21; David Banda, 16; Mercy James, 15; and twins Stelle and Estere, 9), the Hebrew word for “kissed” and an X (as in her “Madame X” album), all on her wrists.
Lourdes lives in Bushwick with her boyfriend Jonathan Puglia, who she’s been seeing for five years. He’s reportedly a hipster who is keen on skateboarding and street style. (Her first boyfriend, from her days at LaGuardia High School, was actor Timothée Chalamet.) Lourdes is said to be surprisingly domestic and likes to cook for Puglia. The two are also, reportedly, big weed connoisseurs.
Their friends are a crowd of creatives — songwriters, hair stylists and dancers like Lourdes.
“She has taken herself seriously as an artist for some years,” an insider said of Lourdes. “She loves dance and spends most of her time taking dance and art classes. She is all about self-expression and she doesn’t believe in traditional ideas or being stifled.”
Lourdes is hoping to make her way as a choreographer and dancer — following in her mom’s footsteps — and is modeling as well, appearing in campaigns for Marc Jacobs and Juicy Cuture.
“Financially, modeling is a smart decision. I enjoy being very hands-on with the campaigns I do, so that I’m not just modeling, per se,” she told Interview magazine. “I dance, I have a very specific sense of style, and I’m interested in aesthetics, so I like to incorporate all those parts of myself into my projects.”
Despite Madonna’s $250 million fortune, Lourdes is said to have paid her own way through a dance program at the University of Michigan — from which she graduated in 2018 — using money from the Material Girl clothing line she and her mother founded in 2010.
“I feel like if your parents pay for things, then it gives them leverage over you. My mom is such a control freak, and she has controlled me my whole life. I needed to be completely independent from her as soon as I graduated high school,” Lourdes told Interview.
She is close to her father, fitness trainer Carlos Leon. He and Madonna dated in 1994 after he caught her eye while they were both jogging in Central Park and the singer enlisted him as her trainer. By the end of 1995, the relationship ended so badly that Madonna changed the locks at her New York apartment. But she then got pregnant after they had an “on the road” liaison the next year.
Madonna wed British film director Guy Ritchie shortly after Lourdes — then known as Lola — turned 4. The girl attended the private Lycée Francais school in London.
She was always a talented dancer and Madonna jumped on that, sending the girl to classes from the age of 3. “My mom really went hard for that once she saw there was potential,” Lourdes has said.
Insiders told The Post that Lourdes had to focus on her studies and work hard — and that Madonna was always far harder on her than her brother Rocco. (David was adopted in 2006, six years after Rocco was born to Madonna and Ritchie.)
But both children had a highly disciplined life, with television only permitted on weekends and a controlled diet of macrobiotic foods. Time with Madonna was scheduled into the singer’s diary weeks in advance, in 15 minute increments.
“The list of things I wasn’t allowed to do is never-ending,” Lourdes has said.
By the time she was 12, she had an allowance of £10 ($13) a week, which could be docked for failure to tidy her room or make her bed.
The family relocated to New York City after Madonna separated from Ritchie. Attending the Manhattan branch of Lycée Francais, Lourdes had one of her first rebellions: cycling to school without bodyguards across Central Park.
She and Madonna became extremely close when Lourdes was in her teens, as Madonna had fallen out with many of the women who used to support her — from her nannies and personal assistants to trainer Tracey Anderson.
Lourdes became the best friend of the woman she calls “Motta,” attending awards shows and Kaballah meetings together.
Still, there were arguments about Lourdes’ wardrobe, with Madonna telling her, “School’s not a nightclub … Do you want everybody to be staring at your breasts, or do you want people to talk to you?”
But the relationship was truly strained for a while, over Lourdes smoking cigarettes and getting piercings. The teen had been working in the wardrobe department of her mom’s MDNA tour, but left the tour.
“Madonna had already [demoted her] from being a dancer to helping with wardrobe after an argument,” a source said.
There was talk that Lourdes might move in with Carlos, by then married to model Betina Holte. However, the teen stayed put with her mother until she started college.
“Getting old is hard enough for a control freak like my sister to deal with,” Madonna’s brother Chris Ciccone once told the Daily Mail. “Then to have a really smart and pretty daughter like Lola coming up behind her — frankly I don’t know how she’s going to deal with it.”
A little space seems to have helped the mother-daughter relationship. Madonna told British Vogue in 2019 that, “I’m green with envy because she’s incredible at everything she does … she’s way better than me in the talent department.”
“She is far more like her mom than her dad,” the Madonna source said of Lourdes. “She wants to be famous like her mom but really rankles at any accusation that she lacks talent or is trading on her coat tails. The truth is, she is living in an enormous shadow as Madonna’s daughter — but she is still in denial that that even exists.”