Madonna was raped at the start of her career.
The pop legend opened up about her traumatic ordeal for the first time in nearly two decades, revealing she was sexually abused by a stranger at knifepoint, shortly after arriving in New York City from Rochester, Michigan, to pursue her dreams of stardom.
Writing in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, the 55-year-old singer recalled: "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.
"I 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."
The "Like a Prayer" singer was determined to survive in the Big Apple in spite of her terrible experiences, and was all the more "hell-bent" on making a name for herself, even if it meant doing jobs she didn’t like.
Madonna explained: "Arriving in New York wasn’t anything I prepared for.
"Trying to be a professional dancer, paying my rent by posing nude for art classes, staring at people staring at me naked.
"Daring them to think of me as anything but a form they were trying to capture with their pencils and charcoal.
"I was defiant. Hell-bent on surviving. On making it.
"But it was hard and it was lonely, and I had to dare myself every day to keep going."
The superstar first made the shocking admission she had been raped when she was younger in a 1995 interview with NME, but hasn’t dwelled upon it since.
She confessed at the time: "It is not an experience I would ever glamorize. Although it was devastating at the time, I know that it made me a much stronger person. . . . It forced me to be a survivor."