One of the most stunning moments of the 2015 Brit Awards came when Madonna experienced what looked like a bad fall backwards off a flight of stairs during “Living for Love.” The Rolling Stone cover star miraculously recovered and finished out her performance, but video of the plunge continued to be the story well after the award show. Madonna sat down with The Jonathan Ross Show for a special episode set to air March 14th on ITV to discuss her new album Rebel Heart as well as the epic fail.
“I didn’t hurt my butt, I hurt my head. I did,” Madonna tells Ross. “I know how to fall, I’ve fallen off my horse many times and I tucked and I have good core strength… but the thing is, I had a little bit of a whiplash and I smacked the back of my head so there was a man standing over me with a flashlight until about 3 a.m. making sure that I was still compos mentis.”
Because of the “Living for Love” lyrics – “Took me to heaven and let me fall down / Now that it’s over I’m gonna carry on / Lifted me up and watched me stumble /After the heartache I’m gonna carry on” – fans questioned whether Madonna’s fall was perhaps a stunt. While Madonna denied that her stage gaffe was planned, she did recognize the coincidence. “I’m never writing lyrics like that again! The universe was trying to teach me a lesson I guess,” she said.
Madonna further elaborated on how exactly the wardrobe malfunction resulted in her falling backwards onto the ground. “I’m a creature of habit and I rehearse everything – everything, everything, everything – and I was thrown a wrench at the very beginning of my entrance. I was told to tie my cape and start much further back than we had rehearsed so because I had to walk so much further, everybody was worried that my cape was going to slide off because it’s quite heavy so they tied it really tight around my neck,” Madonna said.
Popular on Rolling Stone
“So here I am marching in like a queen and I got to the top of the stairs and I pulled my silky string and it would not come undone and my two lovely Japanese dancers basically strangled me off the stage. I had a choice, I could either be strangled or fall with the cape and I fell.”
While the video of Madonna’s spill quickly went viral, the singer admits she hasn’t watched it. “It was a horrible nightmare because I like to be amazing. Seriously I rehearse and I rehearse and I rehearse so that when I do the show, it’s effortless and I create magic and I did the opposite,” she told Ross. “I actually created a horror show for everyone.”