Lourdes Leon is getting real about her relationship with legendary mother, Madonna.
In a new conversation with Interview, Leon opened up about her experience growing up as the firstborn daughter of pop sensation Madonna. She said that, at times, she felt overwhelmed. “I think my mom saw all these other kids of famous people, and she was like, ‘My kids are not going to be like this,'” Leon said. “Also, I feel like if your parents pay for things, then it gives them leverage over you. My mom is such a control freak, and she has controlled me my whole life. I needed to be completely independent from her as soon as I graduated high school.”
Leon, Madonna’s firstborn with her ex actor Carlos Leon, sought out financial independence at a young age, reportedly paying her own college tuition and later renting out an apartment in Brooklyn. Still, her experience with independence allowed her to develop more appreciation her mother for all she’s managed to do. “I didn’t fully comprehend that until I realized the importance of empowerment and what it means to be a woman,” Leon said, adding that she admires her mom for how she’s always been “empowering to other women” and “ahead of her time.”
“She’s probably the hardest worker I’ve ever seen,” she added.
Madonna has also had her own reflections on being a mom.”I had this funny notion that when your children get older, they learn to take care of themselves and it gets easier,” Madonna reportedly told People back in 2017. “But actually the older they get, the more challenging it gets, because now they’re becoming adults, and they really need guidance.”
She’s also clear on her philosophy on parenting. “I’m in charge! I’m the boss!” she added jokingly. “Lola has a different father than Rocco, and I have four adopted kids, so there’s a lot of outside influences. I’m trying to make sure I impart the same wisdom and love to everyone. I’m bad-cop. I’m the one that says no. I accept that role. I’m not the popular parent.”
In addition to Leon, Madonna is mother to Rocco, 21, David, 15, Mercy, 15, and twins Estere and Stella, both 9.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US