Madonna's fascination with the abdication of British monarch King Edward Viii prompted her to re-evaluate her relationship with director Guy Ritchie after realising there were "cracks in the veneer" of their marriage.
The pop superstar admits researching the story of Edward Viii's controversial romance with American divorcee Wallis Simpson, for whom he gave up the throne, was enlightening - because it gave her a love story to believe in as her own union began crumbling.
Madonna, who split from Ritchie in 2008 after eight years of marriage, tells Newsweek magazine, "I'd been married 10 years (sic) when I started writing it. And I was certainly asking a kind of existential question that I think people ask when they've been married that long: 'What is the perfect love?'
"When you start off, everything's great and lovely, and the person you've married is flawless, and you're flawless. Then time goes by, and you share a life, you have children, and there are cracks in the veneer. It's not as romantic as it used to be. You think, 'This isn't what I thought it was going to be,' and, 'How much am I willing to sacrifice?'"
But the Material Girl refused to let her own failed marriage change her views about true love as she worked on her movie W.E.: "When you get to the end of the movie, I think it's very clear they (Edward and Simpson) really loved each other... I am a romantic and I do believe in true love."