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Madonna defends O'Donnell in Trump flap

In her first-ever live TODAY interview, the pop princess discusses new motherhood, her new movie, and defends her friend Rosie in her feud with Donald Trump.
/ Source: TODAY

On this morning's TODAY, Madonna became the latest celebrity to weigh in on the Donald Trump-Rosie O'Donnell feud.

"People are giving Rosie a hard time. I wish they'd stop, I don't think it's fair," the singer told TODAY's Meredith Vieira in her first-ever live interview on the morning show. The pop star said she first heard about the flap while on vacation in the Indian Ocean and immediately sent O'Donnell an email. The two have been good friends since they starred in 1992's "A League of Their Own."

"I don't know exactly the context of what she said," Madonna told Vieira Thursday morning. "I have to hear it from the horse's mouth. She's a stand-up comic. All stand-up comics talk about provocative things in their monologues before shows."

The pop icon's remarks came during a wide-ranging interview that was delayed because the international superstar was late (she blamed it on her hair). Showing up without a coat because she was told about last week's unseasonably warm weather in New York, Madonna spoke about the latest developments in her own life — including the child she adopted and a new movie.

Madonna was in New York promoting her latest project, providing the voice of the beautiful Princess Selenia in the new animated feature "Arthur and the Invisibles." Later in the day she was scheduled to host special screenings of the movie at two city charter schools.

The 48-year-old singer didn't discuss the headline-grabbing controversy surrounding her planned adoption of David Banda, a one-year-old boy from the impoverished African nation of Malawi. She also steered clear of any reference to Angelina Jolie's remarks about the adoption in a French gossip magazine. A furious Jolie has since told People magazine that her remarks were twisted.

Early last year, Madonna founded "Raising Malawi," an orphan care initiative to help Malawi's estimated one million orphans.

In an interview with Vieira that aired on TODAY in November, Madonna said all the attention on David’s adoption was actually a blessing. “Now people know about Malawi. Now people know about the orphans there. And now David’s home."

In today's interview, the singer said that family life with three kids is "amazing" and that her daughter Lourdes, 10, babysits for David. (She also has a son Rocco, 6, with husband Guy  Ritchie.)

Madonna said she enjoyed her role of "Arthur and the Invisibles," in which she co-stars along with the voices of Robert De Niro, Jimmy Fallon, David Bowie, Mia Farrow, because it was a departure from fans' image of her.

"They perceive me as a queen, not a princess," Madonna joked. "And I don’t normally fall in love with 10-year-olds."

The first animated feature by filmmaker Luc Besson ("La Femme Nikita," "The Fifth Element") is about a boy who sets out to save his family home from real estate developers after his grandfather disappears. Arthur discovers that he must follow his grandfather's clues to a vast treasure, and unlock the gateway to a new world filled with mysterious little people whose help he must enlist.

Madonna's character is one of the tiny people who help Arthur. Madonna herself has penned critically acclaimed children's books, including "The Adventures of Abdi," "The English Roses" and "Lotsa de Casha."

Of her role she said: "I play a princess, which is new for me. I just loved the idea of playing a character where I can create a fantasy world that has nothing to do with who I am, or what people associate with me."

At the start of the interview at 8:39 a.m. ET, Madonna waved at the crowd outside the TODAY studio and asked “Why are they up so early?” She said she had so far avoided a live interview on TODAY because “I don’t like getting up and talking to people this early.” She said she agreed to come on the show at the behest of the film’s producer.

"I saw my career flashing before my eyes when they said you weren't here," Vieira told Madonna, when the star hadn't arrived at the studio quite in time for the planned 8:35 a.m. spot.

“I’m always seeing my career flash before my eyes,” Madonna said of her chronic lateness.

When asked about her friendship with Britney Spears, with whom she shared an infamous kiss at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna said the two have drifted apart. “We shared a kiss and I never saw her again. That’s how it goes in my life,” the singer joked.

After the interview Madonna headed outside to the plaza to greet fans.

Madonna, who lives mainly in England, told Vieira that she misses New York City. “I keep telling my husband I want to come back here and I want to live here,” she said.

—By John Springer for TODAY