While she may not have released a new album this year, 2013 brought us lots of Madonna news! Let’s take a look back at the year that brought us Grillz, SECRET PROJECT, and more MDNA.

As is becoming a tradition, Madonna spent the New Year in Gstaad, Swizerland. Perfecting her skills at skiing during the day. Most of January was quiet.

February started off with a bang when Madonna posted her first official Instagram selfie. Madonna has used the popular social media service to connect with her fans on a daily basis.

February also brought us a first look at the MDNA Tour DVD footage, when trainer Nicole Winhoffer was interviewed by Good Morning America. Though the rough footage ended up using different angles than were actually included in the official release, fans were given a nice sneak peek of how the final product would end up looking.

Also in February was the annual Kabbalah Centre Purim Party which Madonna attended in Los Angeles wearing a brunette wig.

In March, Madonna made her first official appearance of 2013 at The GLAAD Awards in New York City. Dressed as a boy scout, the queen of pop presented Anderson Cooper with the Vito Russo Award in honor of his contributions to promoting equality in media and journalism.

Madonna welcomed the spring by heading to Malawi in the beginning of April. Her humanitarian mission brought her back to the orphanage where she met her two adoptive children David and Mercy. She inspected the progress of the schools that Raising Malawi (no longer affiliated with the Kabbalah Centre), in partnership with BuildON, helped to fund. She also spent a considerable amount of time at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, where she urged people to support her “hero” Dr. David Borgstein, chief pediatrician of the facility.

Unfortunately, no trip to Malawi is complete without controversy. Malawian officials questioned Madonna’s involvement in the building of the schools, and President Joyce Banda was quoted slamming Madonna’s arrival and apparent expectations for royal treatment. Madonna reached out to President Banda for a meeting, but her request was ignored. Madonna responded to her critics in the country by saying “My reasons of being here haven’t changed, I have been here (in Malawi) for seven years and I have seen a lot of changes to the better. My goal will always be for the children of Malawi.” Madonna issued a full statement regarding her commitment to Malawi when she returned to America.

While Madonna was in Malawi, we the fans were growing impatient waiting for news about the MDNA Tour DVD and fake rumors were flooding the internet – bogus claims, release dates, run times, covers and titles all taught us the importance of waiting for official press releases about upcoming projects.

In May the cold of winter had faded, and Madonna continued to work on her major projects of the year – The MDNA Tour DVD and SECRETPROJECT REVOLUTION. She took a break from her work to appear at the Annual Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York decked out in full “Madonna Punk Chic”. There, she was reported to have partied the night away into dawn with other A-List celebrities, all of whom were in awe of being in the presence of such a legend.

The following day it was announced that Madonna would be honored with a Billboard Music Award for her achievement of Top Touring Artist of 2012. It was also announced on May 9 that The MDNA Tour would premiere on June 22 on premium cable network EPIX. As they hurried to finish the final film, Madonna posted several teaser images on her Instagram account. On May 17, Entertainment Tonight posted the first clip from the DVD, a 2 minute snippet from Give Me All Your Luvin, which astute fans noticed was not the same footage as was shown earlier in the year on Good Morning America.

On May 19, Madonna jetted to Las Vegas to pick up her Billboard Award. There, a two minute “trailer” of the MDNA Tour DVD was broadcast live to the world.

June was another busy month for Madonna. Starting with a concentration of further humanitarian efforts, she appeared at the Chime For Change benefit in the London on June 1. Speaking about the importance of education and starting a revolution, Madonna was joined on stage by Humaira Bachal, an education activist from Karachi, Pakistan. She asked viewers to help contribute to the building of a new and bigger school for Humaira’s students and personally committed to funding the completion of the school’s construction if viewers funded the first floor.

When she returned from the UK, it was back to work promoting the MDNA Tour DVD. Along with a special “Workout with Madonna” contest, EPIX hosted a special premiere screening of the tour film on June 18 at New York City’s Paris Theatre. Dressed in a full Dietrich inspired tuxedo, Madonna hosted a Q + A with her fans about life on the road, the making of the DVD, and plans for the future.

The rest of the summer was spent focusing on her upcoming SECRETPROJECT and finding time for relaxation. In July, Madonna and family headed to Europe, where Madonna would spend her birthday with French Revolution themed bash in the south of France.

The summer marked the beginning of the GRILLZ era. After doing a photo shoot with Terry Richardson for Harpers Bazaar, Madonna was frequently spotted sporting her favorite fashion accessory – gold plated Grillz for her teeth. Following their appearance the opening of Hard Candy Fitness in Rome (and the outpour of disgust over them from many of her fans), Madonna took to Instagram to tell the world “The Grilzz Are here to. Stay! So There! If you Don’t like don’t follow!”

September was focused on SECRETPROJECT, something fans had been hearing about since last December, but still had absolutely no idea what it would be. Madonna used social media once again to connect with her fans by participating in a Reddit “Ask Madonna Anything” event.

The SECRETPROJECT REVOLUTION was released on September 24 in collaboration with VICE and BITTORENT. A 17 minute film directed by Steven Klein, Madonna urges the world to get out and start a “Revolution of Love”. Screenings were held around the world projected onto buildings for anyone to come out and see. It debuted in conjunction with the launch of a digital initiative called Art for Freedom, which encourages others to submit video, music, poetry and photography that addresses persecution around the world and the personal meaning of freedom and revolution. A star-studded premiere event was held in New York at the Gagosian Gallery. There, Madonna debuted the film and showcased a number of dance performances. She took the stage at the end of the “show” to sing a cover of Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars”.

In conjunction with the release of SECRETPROJECT, Madonna graced the cover of Harpers Bazaar in October. Her only magazine shoot of the year, by Terry Richardson, the issue included an article penned by Madonna herself. The article itself was a stunning glimpse of Madonna’s struggle with being daring and defying the world’s conventions. She talks openly about her childhood, her move to New York City in the 80′s (and the rape she suffered during this time), her struggles being married, and her passion to teach the world to think outside the box.

In November Madonna took a trip with ex-husband Sean Penn to Haiti to view the reconstruction efforts in the impoverished country. Through Instagram, Madonna engaged fans in her experience in Haiti, posting photos of the country’s inspiring children and various locales such as the beach of Ile-a-Vache, an island off the southwestern peninsula of Haiti. She encouraged fans to support J/P HRO programs which provide health care, education, construction and the safe return to permanent housing for displaced earthquake survivors residing in the Petionville Camp.

In Madonna’s personal life, it was officially announced in December that Madonna had split with her boyfriend of 3 years, dancer Brahim Zaibat. At the same time Forbes announced that Madonna topped several lists as a top earner of 2013. Before heading to her annual ski holiday in Switzerland, Madonna made surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live on December 21. appeared as herself in the skit The Barry Gibb Talk Show’” alongside Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

2013 marked so many memorable successes in Madonna’s career. As always with Madonna, you never know what to expect from her, and we know we will be saying the same in 2014. Surely she is cooking up new ideas and projects. Our fingers are crossed for new music in the new year. Tonight we raise a toast to the woman who continues to thrill and exhilarate her fans worldwide, and to the fans that keep her on top – right where she belongs!

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