"She's always been in control of things," said the author of "Madonna Revealed" and "Madonna: Queen of the World."
"It goes back to her early days in New York, picking the guys in the band, the guys who could help."
For a while, he said, the British press treated her like royalty, until it realized she was like the "empress's clothes -- that there wasn't much there."
Thompson, who hails from Britain, said the failure of Madonna's marriage to Ritchie comes down to culture. "She's a very brash woman from middle-America," he said. "She conquers New York, she conquers the world. And then she plays this part in England, and there is a big gap. Guy's a normal bloke. He's happy to go down to the pub. He's probably very set in his ways. It looks like a complete mix-matched marriage. I would have thought that from the beginning."
Thompson believes that Ritchie, 40, doesn't care that the marriage is over and won't put up much of a fight over the children or their assets -- including a 1,200-acre country estate, a London town house and homes in Los Angeles and New York.
"I think he'll do the English thing -- roll over and let her do what she wants," Thompson said. "I don't think he's confrontational. He was the one wearing the kilt."
Another Madonna biographer, J. Randy Taraborrelli, said that while Madonna may seem cold and calculating professionally or in media reports, she is actually quite vulnerable in her personal life.
"One of the biggest misconceptions I found about Madonna that I really worked on setting straight is the notion that she has sort of flitted from relationship to relationship without any emotional consequence, that she's cold and unemotional," Taraborrelli, the author of "Madonna: An Intimate Biography," told CNN in July 2001. "What I learned was that in her personal life, and I make that distinction here, she's more emotionally vulnerable than most."
It seems her brother would agree. He told" GMA" in July: "I think, ultimately, she's a lonely person and, unfortunately, it truly is lonely at the top."