Madonna caught flak galore last week when it was revealed that her older brother was homeless and living on the mean streets of Michigan. But every story has two sides, and it seems the deep-pocketed superstar hasn't been as callous as the Interwebs would like to believe.
In an interview with the London Daily Mail, Madonna's brother, Anthony Ciccone, 56, admits that his little sister, 53, has paid for him to go to rehab and has issued a standing offer to pick up the tab for him to return.
Not that he's rushing to accept her sobering overtures.
"My family seem to think rehab is some kind of magic panacea for life's ills," he kvetches to the paper, which says he called rehab "boring" while downing a bottle of the heavy-duty fortified wine, Wild Irish Rose.
Six years ago, Ciccone spent two months in a Houston rehab clinic on Madonna's dime for treatment of what he calls his "supposed" alcoholism.
He has been homeless since getting fired from his dad's Madonna-funded winery 18 months ago, apparently due to his drinking, and was evicted a short time later for turning his rental into a flophouse "for fellow drunks," according to the paper.
And even though both the pop icon and his father have repeatedly offered Ciccone a lifeline if he'll agree to get help, he refuses. Instead, he prefers to attack his famous sibling, whom he last saw from afar at a film premiere three years ago.
"We hated each other -- sibling rivalry, I imagine," Anthony says of their formative years growing up in a family of seven siblings. "She was a b----, just like she is now. She remains true to form. You have to give her credit for consistency."
Anything else? "My sister's a terrible actress, but she's a great entertainer and an excellent businesswoman."
Ciccone insists he's "proud of my sister, but it's been a burden, because I can't be me. I have to be related to a celebrity. People have their ideas and expectations. My sister's a multimillionaire, but she earned it, I have to give her credit for that. But you'd think there'd be some more family loyalty, and that's not the case."
Then again, Madonna apparently reached out a couple months ago by sending their father and another brother, Mario, to check on him.
"I'm a zero in their eyes; a non-person, an embarrassment," Ciccone grumbles. "If I froze to death, my family probably wouldn't know or care about it for six months."
What do you think of Madonna's tough love approach? Tell us in the comments.
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