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Madonna recalls manager saying her career was ‘over’ after ‘Like a Virgin’ VMA performance

The moment involved a wardrobe mishap.

Madonna has never been afraid of shocking people with her performances, but one of her most buzzed-about moments on stage actually happened by accident.

The “Frozen on Fire” singer, 63, recalled how her manager told her her career was “over” after she inadvertently flashed the crowd as she performed “Like a Virgin” at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards.

“I walked down these very steep stairs of the wedding cake and I got to the bottom and I started dancing around and my white stiletto pumps fell off,” she told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” Wednesday.

Madonna Attends The MTV Video Awards
Madonna's 1984 performance at the 1984 VMAs was the stuff of pop legend.Sonia Moskowitz / Getty Images

“And I was trying to do this smooth move, like, dive for the shoe and look like it was choreography. And my dress flipped up and my butt was showing,” she said. “Can you imagine?” 

Madonna made the moment her own, leaning into the mishap by rolling around onstage and ending the performance lying on her back.

But the initial slip, she clarified, “happened by accident.”

“I didn’t even know my butt was showing,” she said. “It wasn’t even like the whole butt. It was just like a butt cheek, like half a butt cheek.”

That 1984 performance is now legendary but at the time, Madonna said her team was not pleased.

"Yeah, when I went backstage, my manager told me my career was over with,” she said.

“Those were the days when you shouldn’t show your butt to have a career. Now it’s the opposite,” she quipped.

Madonna’s career, of course, was anything but over after that VMAs wardrobe mishap.

“Like a Virgin,” the lead single from her second studio album of the same name, hit the Billboard Hot 100 by December 1984 and was certified gold the following year. 

And today, seven Grammys and countless other honors later, the Queen of Pop does not hesitate to shake things up a little — like during her previous “Tonight Show” appearance in October, when she flustered Fallon by climbing on his desk and semi-flashing the audience.

“Artists are here to disturb the peace,” she said.