Pop superstar Madonna is refusing to worry about her forthcoming 50th birthday, insisting the landmark age is "not a bad word".
The Material Girl singer will celebrate the milestone on 16 August, but claims her advancing years have done little to dampen her attitude to life.
At a press conference on Thursday to promote the upcoming release of her new album Hard Candy, Madonna was hounded by reporters wanting to know how she feels about turning 50.
When a journalist mentioned "5-0" in hushed tones, she responded, "It's not a bad word, you can say it."
She also urged them not to view the age as a milestone, saying: "I see it as another excuse to have a birthday party.
"(Physically) I feel stronger now than, maybe, 20 years ago - but I think your physicality is connected to your consciousness so if your mind is strong, your body will be strong."
(China Daily March 4, 2008)