Madonna’s new “romance” seems more like a showmance.
Even for the Material Girl it seemed like fast work: On Wednesday, just a few days after Page Six revealed the singer had split from model boyfriend Andrew Darnell, she was linked to boxing coach Josh Popper.
But all is not as it seems, sources told Page Six Thursday.
Friends said that the photographs of Madonna, 64, and Popper, 29, which both of them posted to Instagram, were simply to help him with publicity. Popper is coaching the singer’s son David, 17, to take part in a charity boxing match and asked her to help publicize his Bredwinners gym in Manhattan.
“He’s a good-looking guy, but Madonna isn’t looking for love at the moment,” one source said. “Josh has been training her son and she’s impressed. She said she would help him promote the gym.
“He’s up-and-coming and has just appeared in a reality show on Bravo, so he is eager to get attention with Madonna,” the source added of Popper, who made a cameo in Monday’s episode of “Summer House.”
Still, the source clarified, “That’s not to rule out any romance in the future — but for now things are strictly platonic.”
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Page Six has reached out to Madonna’s representative for comment.
Right now, Madonna “has lots of other things in her life that she needs to concentrate on. The most important thing is being with her family as they mourn her brother — she is particularly worried about her dad and is spending time with him.”
Madonna’s oldest brother, Anthony Ciccone, passed away on February 25, at the age of 66, after a troubled life of alcohol and drug addiction. In 2011, he was said to be living under a bridge in the family’s native Michigan.
Anthony once complained that his relatives had ignored his pleas for help. “My family
turned their back on me basically, when I was having a hard time. You think I haven’t answered this question a bazillion times — why my sister is a multi-bazillionaire and I’m homeless on the street?’”
While Madonna and other family members reportedly offered to pay for Anthony to go to rehab, he refused until 2017. According to reports, the singer and their other five siblings all supported and visited Anthony as his health declined over the last few months.
Posting on Instagram about him over the weekend, Madonna noted how grateful she was for his influence when they were younger: “Thank you for blowing my mind as a young girl and introducing me to Charlie Parker, Miles David, Buddhism, Taoism, Charles Bukowski, Richard Brautigan, Jack Kerouac, expansive thinking, outside of the box. You planted many important seeds.”
Madonna, whose mother died when the singer was 5, is particularly close to her father Tony who is 91. The death of his oldest son has hit him hard, according to the source.
“Madonna is spending time with her family and she especially wants to support Tony, who is frail. It’s a very upsetting time all around,” the source said. “Madonna is busy preparing for her tour, which is pretty all-encompassing, but everyone knows she needs to be left alone to be with her family right now. Being there for her dad is her priority.”