(Reuters) - Madonna says it’s pretty obvious why she was drawn to the story of Wallis Simpson — the American divorcee who was vilified for persuading a British king to give up his throne in order to marry her.
The sometimes prickly pop superstar said she had been fascinated for years by Simpson before deciding to write and direct her second film, “W.E”, which opens widely in U.S. movie theaters on Friday.
The movie chronicles the romance and 1930s marriage of King Edward VIII and Simpson, who were shunned by British society after Edward renounced the throne to be with her.
“I could understand a lot of aspects of Wallis Simpson’s life, having people ... view you from the outside, make judgments about you, have opinions about you, write things about you that are untrue - and not feel like you are able to defend yourself, that sometimes kind of makes you feel helpless,” Madonna, 53, told Reuters Television in an interview.
“She didn’t commit a crime, she fell in love ... She says in the film, ‘If you do this, if we get married, I will be the most hated woman in the world,’ and she was .... Obviously I can relate to her life on certain levels. I think that a lot of people who are public figures have the same experience,” Madonna said.
Madonna, who moved to England during her second marriage, to British director Guy Ritchie, said she too has made sacrifices for love.
“Whether you move to another country and you give up your roots, or when you have children — you love your children, but you have to give up say your free time, your sleep. So I think we are in the process of making those sacrifices for love on a daily basis if we’re in relationships or if we have children,” she said.
“W.E” stars Abbie Cornish as a New Yorker in the 1990s who becomes infatuated with the marriage between Edward and Simpson who is played by Andrea Riseborough.
The film has been characterized by movie critics as visually stunning but lacking in focus. But Madonna won the best original movie song Golden Globe in January for “Masterpiece” from the “W.E” soundtrack.
The first song from her new album “MDNA,” which marks her return to music after focusing on the movie, is set to be released on Friday. Called “Give Me All Your Luvin,” it features Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.
Madonna will be also performing on Sunday in the half-time show at the National Football League Super Bowl — the biggest television and sporting event of the year in the United States.
Reporting by Alicia Powell; Writing by Jill Serjeant