Madonna has become the latest star to speak out against bullying, insisting she is "incredibly disturbed and saddened" by the recent spate of suicides among unhappy youngsters - because she too felt isolated as a teen.
Troubled gay students have hit headlines across the U.S. in recent weeks after several allegedly took their own lives following cruel taunts from their peers. And the pop superstar admits she is heartbroken by the tragic deaths - because it was her gay friends who ultimately made her feel accepted.
Speaking via satellite on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show", Madonna says, "I'm incredibly disturbed and saddened by the overwhelming number of teen suicides that have been reported lately because of bullying. Suicide in general is disturbing. Teenagers committing suicide is extremely disturbing but to hear that teenagers are taking their lives because they are being bullied in schools and dormitories... is kind of unfathomable..."
"The gay community has been incredibly supportive of me... I can totally relate to the idea of feeling isolated and alienated. I was incredibly lonely as a child, as a teenager. I have to say I never felt like I fit in in school. I wasn't a jock. I wasn't an intellectual. There was no group that I felt a part of. I just felt like a weirdo..."
"It wasn't until my ballet teacher, who was also gay, took me under his wing and introduced me to a community of artists of other unique individuals who told me it was good and OK to be different and brought me to my first gay disco and ironically made me feel I was part of the world and it was OK to be different."