Madonna has lived one hell of a life.

The singer graces the November cover of Harper's Bazaar -- and she's revisiting some of the terrifying struggles she's had to overcome.

Before making it big, the 55-year-old spent a very traumatic year in New York City.

"New York wasn't everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms," she explains.

"The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back," she continues. "I had my apartment broken into three times. I don't know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time."

The shocking occurrence took place back in 1978 -- after Madonna had just dropped out of the University of Michigan (where she had a dance scholarship), to move to the city in search of fame.

The superstar admits that she wasn't prepared for the life-changing move.

"I was defiant. Hell-bent on surviving. On making it. But it was hard and it was lonely, and I had to dare myself every day to keep going," she confesses.

Nearly seven years later, the "Vogue" singer signed with Sire Records and released her very first single, "Everybody." The rest is history. 

Reflecting on her experiences in New York, the pop star believes that everything she's endured -- both good and bad -- has made her the loving mother and music icon that she is today.

"Most people thought I was strange. I didn't have many friends; I might not have had any friends. But it all turned out good in the end, because when you aren't popular and you don't have a social life, it gives you more time to focus on your future. And for me, that was going to New York to become a REAL artist. To be able to express myself in a city of nonconformists. To revel and shimmy and shake in a world and be surrounded by daring people," she writes.

What do you think about the "Like a Prayer" singer's story? Tell toofab in the comment section below, and click "Launch Gallery" above to see all the sexy photos from the shoot!

Make sure to check out the Harper's Bazaar website to read Madonna's full story.

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