30. A simple declaration "to rule the world"
<em>Jan. 14, 1984</em>
We first met Madonna in 1982, but it was by 1984 that she was a household name. When Dick Clark called her over following her "American Bandstand" performance that same year, the host asked her what her dreams are, to which she responded, "To rule the world." There's proof dreams do true.
29. That newfound British accent
Around the time she started dating English filmmaker Guy Ritchie, Madonna also began donning a British accent that drew snickers across the world. The European inflections still come and go today, but watch this 2006 clip to see the unexpected dialect in full force.
28. A Victorian "Vogue"
<em>Sept. 6, 1990</em>
The regal garb seen during Madonna's Video Music Awards performance of "Vogue" may seem strikingly tame for the singer, but the period-piece getups belie the display's sexual pageantry. It's one of the greatest TV moments of her career.
27. The king and queen of pop attend the Oscars together
<em>March 25, 1991</em>
Remember that time the two biggest pop stars on the planet dated? It's easy to forget since it only lasted one week. But it hit mass-chaos status when the Madonna brought Michael Jackson as her date to the Oscars, where she performed that year's Best Original Song honoree, "Sooner or Later."
26. Malawi adoption
Madonna's adoption of Malawian infant David Banda Mwale doesn't seem like a likely entry for a list of controversial moments, but naturally even it came with a contentious flavor. The singer attracted backlash from the country's government when her request to adopt David resulted in a waiving of Malawi's ruling not to allow foreign adoptions. Madonna has since adopted a second Malawian child, Chifundo James, whose name was changed to Mercy.
25. VMA performance offends Hindu community
<em>Sept. 10, 1998</em>
Madonna embraced a newfound spirituality prior to the release of the 1998 album "Ray of Light," but it offended the Hindu community when she donned the religion's facial paintings during that year's VMA performance.
24. "American Life" video takes it down a notch
<em>April 1, 2003</em>
In an unprecedented move for an artist who built her legacy around refusing to censor herself, Madonna changed her tune by choosing to tame down her <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYduJw5LyFM" target="_blank">"American Life"</a> video so it would center less on war and violence amid the country's international volatility.
23. "Erotica" album
<em>Oct. 25, 1994</em>
Madonna's alter ego, Mistress Dita, was in full swing on the "Erotica" album, a sexually charged ode to genital liberation. In addition to the title single, whose video was banned from networks, "Deeper and Deeper," "Fever" and "Bye Bye Baby" were all provocative pop hits. The singer's next album, 1994's "Bedtime Stories," continued her sexual track.
22. Marriage to Sean Penn
<em>Aug. 16, 1985</em>
Madonna upped the ante as a tabloid fixture by marrying Hollywood bad boy Sean Penn. She dedicated her third album, "True Blue," to the actor, but the pair divorced in January 1989.
21. Lady Gaga is "reductive"
<em>Jan. 12, 2012</em>
Lady Gaga fueled Madonna comparisons from the first moment she hit the big leagues, and the original Material Girl did not shy away from making her feelings on the similarities known. During a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJuYjtp70jc" target="_blank">January 2012 interview with ABC News</a>, Madonna called Lady Gaga "reductive" and then told the world to "look it up." She later crooned out a few bars of Gaga's "Born This Way" at the close of the similar-sounding "Express Yourself" on the "MDNA" Tour.
20. "I'd rather kill myself than be Mariah Carey"
Diva feuds are the best, and Madonna made clear that there is explicit animosity between her and Mariah Carey.
19. "What It Feels Like For A Girl" video banned
The hyper-violent video for <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYwgG2oyUbA" target="_blank">"What It Feels Like For A Girl,"</a> which tells the story of an abused woman seeking vengeance, was banned from MTV and VH1.
18. Puerto Rico condemnation
During the Puerto Rico stop on her "Girlie Show" world tour, Madonna rubbed the country's flag between her crotch and received official condemnation from the nation's congress.
17. "Erotica" days recalled in "Girl Gone Wild"
Madonna returned to the homoerotic imagery and sexualized fetishes of her "Erotica" days in the stylized video for <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYkwziTrv5o" target="_blank">"Girl Gone Wild."</a>
16. The violence comes out on the "MDNA" Tour
Madonna's "MDNA" Tour was the highest-grossing of 2012, but it came with a heaping pile of controversy, particularly regarding the gun-wielding "Gang Bang" performance. The dark, gritty segment featured blood splattering across the screen overhead as Madonna sought to kill a wrongdoing lover.
15. The sexual era is announced via Interview
This one speaks for itself.
14. John McCain is Hitler?
<em>Aug. 23, 2008</em>
During the opening stop on her Sticky & Sweet Tour, Madonna compared Republican presidential candidate John McCain to Hitler during a video montage.
13. Religious groups crucify "Live to Tell" performance
German prosecutors threatened to sue Madonna after she performed "Live to Tell" while standing on a cross and wearing a crown of thorns on her "Confessions" Tour.
12. "MDNA" peep show
<em>June 7, 2012</em>
Proving she's not afraid to show skin in her 50s, Madonna flashed various body parts during her performances of "Human Nature" and "Like a Virgin" on the "MDNA" Tour. Here she is seen baring her breast in Istanbul.
11. "Body of Evidence" nabs NC-17 rating
The sexually provocative "Body of Evidence" received an NC-17 classification upon its completion, but its theatrical release was softened enough to earn an R rating. The video release retains the initial version.
10. The cone bra
Madonna's cone bra has taken on many iterations, including during her recent "MDNA" Tour. Its genesis came at the hands of Jean-Paul Gaultier during the Blonde Ambition Tour, sparking backlash as well as numerous copycat versions.
9. Nude Penthouse photos
Having already caused an uproar in 1985 when Playboy and Penthouse published nude photos from 1978, more controversy arose when Penthouse featured another set of naked gems.
8. "Erotica" video banned
MTV declined to air Madonna's grainy sex ode <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyhdvRWEWRw" target="_blank">"Erotica,"</a> as did NBC's Friday night video block. The singer defended herself by claiming the depiction is a "fantasy."
7. Down and dirty "Like a Virgin" performance
<em>Sept. 14, 1984</em>
The first MTV Video Music Awards also featured the first moment Madonna truly became an unapologetic force to reckon with. After rolling around on the stage in a wedding dress, the burgeoning queen of pop's backlash was massive. The moment has lived on as one of the network's -- and the singer's -- most iconic.
6. "Like a Prayer" video's burning crosses infuriates religious communities
Pepsi dropped Madonna as its spokeswoman after the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79fzeNUqQbQ" target="_blank">"Like a Prayer"</a> video's protests were so vehement that the company felt it had no other choice. The backlash spread far and wide, with the videos' images of burning crosses prompting the pope to ban Madonna from appearing in Italy. In 2005, MTV ranked the video at No. 1 on its list of the 100 Videos That Broke The Rules.
5. Lip-locks with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera
<em>Aug. 27, 2003</em>
The queen of pop met the princesses of pop when Madonna took the stage with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to perform "Hollywood" and "Like a Virgin." It seems like just a cool pop-culture moment until Madonna locked lips with her younger counterparts, shocking viewers and Justin Timberlake.
4. "Justify My Love" video banned
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np_Y740aReI" target="_blank">"Justify My Love"</a> is arguably the most controversial video of all time, and MTV responded by banning it from the network. Madonna famously appeared on ABC's "Nightline," which agreed to air the video once in its entirety, to defend its content, including homosexuality, sadomasochism and seedy hotel-room promiscuity.
3. Masturbation simulation on Blonde Ambition Tour
The Blonde Ambition Tour's simulated masturbation scene during "Like a Virgin" has lived on thanks to the 1991 documentary "Truth or Dare." The scene features a pretty convincing mock-orgasm, cementing the singer's penchant for over-the-top sexuality.
2. David Letterman interview
<em>March 31, 1994</em>
Late-night TV got a blunt dose of invective when Madonna blasted the F-bomb a whopping 13 times during an interview with David Letterman.
Oct. 21, 1992
Nothing is Madonna's illustrious career is more notorious than "Sex," the coffee-table book that was loaded with erotic photos, including multiple nudes of the singer engaged in graphic sexual acts. The book remains one of the most sought-after out-of-print materials.