PLATELL'S PEOPLE: Madonna toyboys are fun but not if you value dignity

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: Yes, Madonna toyboys are fun but not if you value your dignity

Had it not been for her recent facelift, which appears to have left her features frozen, even Madonna might have raised a quizzical eyebrow over her latest choice of partner — the 6ft 4in, 17st boxer Josh Popper who’s 35 years her junior.

Popper trains people to box in a New York gym and is thought to have met the Like A Virgin star while coaching one of her children.

Well, Madonna, 64, is no virgin when it comes to seducing much, much younger men — Popper follows in the long line of hot toyboys the superstar has dated. In her defence, she says: ‘I didn’t choose to have a relationship with a younger man. That’s just what happened, that’s the romantic in me.’

Romance? Or the foolhardy notion that you’re ageless and endlessly attractive to men half your age?

Before we sneer at her over this, let’s remember no one raises an eyebrow when men date much younger women. Perhaps Madonna has just turned the tables and is showing us that older, wealthier women can be catnip for young aspiring men.

Had it not been for her recent facelift, which appears to have left her features frozen, even Madonna might have raised a quizzical eyebrow over her latest choice of partner — the 6ft 4in, 17st boxer Josh Popper (pictured together) who’s 35 years her junior

But there’s a catch — and I know as I’ve been there. After my marriage ended in my 30s, I had a six-month relationship with someone half my age I met in the office. It lasted until the moment he confused Nelson Mandela with Mohammad Ali, spluttering in his defence that they were both ‘black guys fighting for freedom’.

Later the hot young Eastern European who fell in love with me — or rather my pay packet — contributed nothing, loved the heavy metal band Metallica, thought The Beatles were insects and Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone was written by Mick Jagger.

The sad truth is that Madonna has not yet realised — as I have, finally — that a healthy relationship for mid-life women is one with a man of a similar age with shared experiences. Men who know Dire Straits is not a conflict in the Middle East.

Pictures of her gripping her new toyboy Popper don’t make her look younger and more empowered, just a bit tragic and old. As Rod Stewart sang in his hit Maggie May: ‘The mornin’ sun when it’s in your face really shows your age, but that don’t worry me none, in my eyes, you’re everything.’ Until you’re nothing to him.

The idea you are only as young as the man you feel is a myth. Toyboys are fun, Madonna — but they come with a price, not least to your dignity.

Pictures of her gripping her toyboys don’t make her look younger and more empowered, just a bit tragic and old. Pictured: Madonna with ex-boyfriend Andrew Darnell

Harry’s mistake

It was reported that the King decided to evict Harry and Meghan from Frogmore Cottage after learning of his son’s attacks on Camilla in the book Spare.

Which just goes to prove how thick Harry is — Charles made it clear back in 1999 when he first appeared publicly with Camilla that she was ‘non-negotiable’ and would always be by his side.

After being chucked out of a woman’s prison, double rapist trans woman Isla Bryson will serve the sentence in a men’s jail. The next we’ll hear of her is when she’s complaining she’s being denied her human rights to her blonde wig, mascara and acrylic nails. 

Westminster wars

After disclosure of his private WhatsApp messages revealing misjudgments during Covid, an outraged Matt Hancock (pictured right) says he is ‘hugely disappointed’ by the ‘massive betrayal and breach of trust’. Perhaps now he knows how Martha — his dumped wife of 15 years — feels.

When Labour MP Betty Boothroyd became the first female Speaker of the House of Commons in 1992, her party claimed she’d broken the glass ceiling for women in politics. Three decades later, not one leader of the Labour Party has been female, while the Tories have had three women Prime Ministers.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove wants to punish parents whose kids play truant by cutting their child benefits. What, make the most dysfunctional families in society even poorer and hungrier? I thought we’d laid to rest the nasty Tory Party.

Paula the fast worker

Some wonder if a new documentary on Paula Yates will be true to her intoxicating life. When asked how long it took her and INXS singer Michael Hutchence to ‘get it on’ after interviewing him on her Big Breakfast show, she giggled ‘five minutes’, in the Green Room. Which sounds about right — a cabbie who told me he’d picked up the couple from the Savoy Hotel said that within minutes they were having sex in the back of his taxi! 

Fighting accusations of betraying Matt Hancock by publishing his WhatsApp messages, Isabel Oakeshott says: ‘There are plenty of things I can say about his behaviour that I’m not going to do, at least at this stage, because it wouldn’t be pretty.’ Isabel should be careful, the ex-wife of her current squeeze, Richard Tice, may have a thing or two to say about her that wouldn’t be pretty. 

Jude’s on the hook

Ahead of playing Captain Hook in Disney’s Peter Pan & Wendy, Jude Law says: ‘Part of childhood is the nightmares and the fears we all have, and Hook embodies that.’

As a dad of seven by four different mums spreading his time between his respective families, Law may well have caused his own children nightmares. Feed him to the crocodile!

Great to see Sheridan Smith getting rave reviews for her one-woman show Shirley Valentine. Should we care about the travails of a mid-life woman questioning her mundane life, her banal compromises and her rebellion against it? Well, only a man would ask that question. 

The spy who messed up

The head of MI5, Ken McCallum (pictured right), apologises for missing opportunities that could have prevented the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi from slaying 22 pop fans. 

He’s a photofit for James Bond’s Q, the geeky inventor of weird 007 gadgets, played by Ben Whishaw. 

The difference is this is about real lives, while Bond is fiction. 

After gleeful reports that Jeremy Clarkson had been sacked from the next Who Wants To be A Millionaire series, ITV has made it clear ‘Clarkson has not been cancelled’. Why would he be, given the extra millions of viewers he’s won since he took over that tired old show? 

A secondary school in Worcester has covered mirrors in the girls’ loos with posters warning them wearing make-up is akin to addiction, adding that boys would go for ‘natural beauty’. Try telling that to Cleopatra, lover of Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, who never appeared in public without full slap. 

Let’s see justice for Auriol 

Disabled and partially sighted Auriol Grey (pictured right) remonstrated with a cyclist riding on the pavement causing her to fall into the path of a passing car.

A terrible tragedy, yes. But Grey’s been given three years for manslaughter even though the law states pavements are for pedestrians not cyclists who now seem to think they rule our streets and pathways. 

She’s appealing her sentence and if there is any justice, she will win.

Launching his new album Subtract, Ed Sheeran reveals his mental health agony and says it’s ‘a trapdoor into my soul’. Yes, he’s had a tough year after his friend Jamal died, his wife had a tumour during pregnancy, and he had a court case over a false claim of plagiarism against him. But isn’t it a bit off when your personal anguish is used like this to promote your latest disc? 

My moggie Ted has just recovered from learning that, during lockdowns, ministers considered killing all 11 million cats in the country for fear of cat-to-human transmission of Covid, even though there’d been just one case worldwide. 

Blatant cattism, he calls it, as the dog-loving Tories would never consider a mass culling of their precious pooches. 

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