Pop diva Madonna taped an interview for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" today via satellite from London to respond to the swirl of controversy surrounding her efforts to adopt a baby boy from Malawi. Though the show doesn't air until Wednesday (Oct 25), a member of the studio audience has revealed that Madonna said she was surprised by the controversy and accused the press of "getting to" the father.
Madonna told Oprah that she and her husband, Guy Ritchie, contemplated adoption for more than two years before going through with it, according to audience member Sheryl Lewis of Deerfield, Ill. Lewis added that Madonna said she had been surprised by the attention and controversy, especially surrounding the baby's father, Yohane Banda. Lewis said Madonna talked about meeting with the father.
"She said she met with the father, she looked him in the eye," said Lewis. Madonna, according to Lewis, told Oprah that she and Ritchie had followed the country's customs and had secured both "oral and written approval … and just now the press have gotten to him."
This apparently contradicts accounts of the adoption told by David's father, Yohane Banda. He has claimed in interviews that he had not realized he was signing away custody of his child permanently. A consortium of 67 human rights groups has gone to court to try to stop the adoption. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday.
Another audience member, Amanda Bannon of Crawfordsville, Ind., said, "The biggest thing was that Madonna wants to get the point across that she doesn't want this to be a discouragement to other families to not adopt."
Robyn Radecker, also of Crawfordsville, described Madonna's interview as focusing on motherhood, not celebrity. "It was about her loving her kids and wanting to be a mom," she said.
Both Bannon and Radecker said Oprah showed photos of the baby, calling him a "precious little boy." Bannon also said that Madonna denied having been influenced by movie stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who have adopted African children. The pair have adopted two children, including a baby girl from Ethiopia.
Another audience member told ABC News that Madonna plans to return to Malawi once or twice a year and take David with her.
Madonna's interview with Oprah airs tomorrow on the "Oprah Winfrey Show."