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Judge stops the auction of Madonna’s personal items after she raises objections

The auction of intimate items of singer Madonna, which includes a letter from Tupac Shakur, were halted after the singer said her privacy had been violated.

music Updated: Jul 20, 2017 18:19 IST
Agence France-Presse, New York
Madonna,Tupac Shakur,Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction house
Madonna’s personal items include a breakup letter from late American rapper Tupac Shakur.(REUTERS)

A judge on Wednesday halted an auction of intimate items of Madonna including a breakup letter from Tupac Shakur after the pop superstar said her privacy was violated.

New York Justice Gerald Lebovits ordered a hearing on the dispute for September 6 and barred the auction house, Gotta Have Rock and Roll, from holding the sale in the meantime.

Madonna on Tuesday asked the court to intervene, saying that the items were taken without her permission.

“The fact that I may have attained celebrity status as a result of success in my career does not obviate my right to maintain my privacy, including with regard to highly personal items,” the Material Girl told the court in a statement.

The items include a letter from Tupac Shakur, one of the defining figures of hip-hop, with whom Madonna had a relationship that was little known publicly until recently.

In the 1995 letter, Tupac -- who would be shot dead the following year -- said he was upset with her for saying in an interview “I’m off to rehabilitate all the rappers and basketball players.” He also said his image could suffer by dating a white woman.

A Tupac Shakur two-page handwritten and signed prison letter to the deputy warden of Riker's Island Prison, and a prison Polaroid of Shakur, estimated at $60,000 to $80,000, are displayed at Gotta Have It! Collectibles, in New York, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (AP)

Personal vendetta?

Many of the more than 100 items up for auction were identified as coming from Darlene Lutz, a New York art dealer who helped Madonna build a collection before falling out with her.

Madonna said Lutz, while still a friend, had helped her pack up a house in Miami where much of the personal memorabilia was present.

Lawyers for Lutz in a reply submitted Wednesday alleged that Madonna had a “personal vendetta” against Lutz, and said the singer had given up the right to make claims against Lutz as part of a court settlement in 2004.

The lawyers also said that a three-year statute of limitations had passed for Madonna to seek to recover personal property.

Lutz’s lawyers mocked the famously open star’s pleas for privacy, noting that Madonna had sent to a lover a pair of underwear that is now up for auction.

“If Madonna truly wanted privacy, then mailing her lingerie was not the way to go,” the motion said.

Among other items whose sale Madonna sought to block was a startingly frank letter to another former lover, actor John Enos.

In the handwritten note from the early 1990s, Madonna said she envied the careers of singer Whitney Houston and actor Sharon Stone, saying they were “horribly mediocre” and had built on Madonna’s foundations.

“Maybe this is what black people felt like when Elvis Presley got huge,” she wrote.

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First Published: Jul 20, 2017 16:10 IST