Madonna's ''real muse'' was the late David Bowie.

The 58-year-old singer - who has boasted a successful music career spanning over three decades - has revealed a number of artists including Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde and Aretha Franklin inspired her to be a musician, but the 'Starman' hitmaker was her ultimate icon.

Speaking to Billboard,t he blonde beauty said: ''I was of course inspired by Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde and Aretha Franklin, but my real muse was David Bowie.''

And the 'Like A Virgin' hitmaker has revealed it was Bowie's ''male and female spirit'', which appealed to her.

She continued: ''He embodied male and female spirit and that suited me just fine. He made me think there were no rules. But I was wrong. There are no rules - if you're a boy. There are rules if you're a girl.

''If you're a girl, you have to play the game. You're allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy. But don't act too smart. Don't have an opinion that's out of line with the status quo.''

And the star claims the entertainment industry don't want stars to age and believes it is viewed as ''a sin''.

She said: ''And finally, do not age. Because to age is a sin. You will be criticized and vilified and you will definitely not be played on the radio.''