Madonna splits from her Muslim toyboy, 24, after 'rows about religion'

Mail, UK/May 9, 2011

He's 24, but she is older than his mother. He's a strict Muslim, she has fervent Kabbalah beliefs.

So it was hardly likely to last. Madonna, 52, has split from her lover Brahim Zaibat, a hip-hop dancer, after nine months, the Daily Mail has learned.

Last night a close friend of Zaibat's said sarcastically: 'Who's Madonna?'

The friend added: 'Brahim has been home and he's a single guy.

'He's no longer an item with Madonna. He's very happy. There's nothing more to say.'

He is believed to be lying low at his family's home in Lyon in France.

But Madonna was happy to be pictured stepping out alone at the Annual Costume Institute gala in New York this week. She sparkled in a floor-length blue gown adorned with stars down its back and designed by her friend Stella McCartney.

Referring to Madonna's devotion to Kabbalah, a mystical branch of Judaism, a source close to Zaibat added: 'Brahim's family had told him they did not want him going to Kabbalah meetings and wanted him to stick to his Muslim beliefs, which caused some rows.

'Things started to turn sour and they were hardly seeing each other.'

The couple met in September last year and had been spotted at some of London's most exclusive restaurants.

Last year Zaibat's mother Patricia Vidal told how she received a call from her son, who was in New York, when he revealed: 'I've got a new girlfriend.'

The mother of four was unperturbed when he mentioned an age gap of eight years. She said: 'You've always been mature for your age - it will be good to spend some time with a girl who's a bit older than you.'

But he replied: 'No, she's eight years older than you, mum - and her name is Madonna.'

Mrs Vidal said: 'My mouth fell open. Madonna was already a big star when I was a schoolgirl, let alone when Brahim was growing up. The whole situation is very strange indeed - surreal even.

Last night a spokesman for Madonna said: 'We never comment on Madonna's private life.'

Madonna, a mother of four, divorced film director Guy Ritchie in 2008 after eight years of marriage.

She dated Brazilian model Jesus Luz - who like Zaibat was 28 years her junior - for a year until February 2010.

She has a 14-year-old daughter, Lourdes, with former boyfriend Carlos Leon and a son, Rocco, ten, with Ritchie.

Madonna then adopted David Banda from a Malawian orphanage in October 2006 - with Ritchie - and later adopted a little girl called Mercy James from Malawi by herself.

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