An impending auction of pop star Madonna’s memorabilia, including a love letter from her ex-boyfriend the late rapper Tupac Shakur, a pair of previously worn underwear and a hairbrush containing her hair, was halted by a judge on Tuesday as requested by the star, saying the intimate items were stolen by her former friend.
Manhattan state Supreme Court Judge Gerald Leibovitz ordered Gotta Have It! Collectibles to pull 22 items from its rock-‘n’-roll-themed auction scheduled for Wednesday.
The superstar filed a motion with a New York court a day before auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll was set to start taking bids for more than 100 items, with Tupac’s letter expected to fetch as much as $400,000.
In a statement to the court, Madonna described the auction as “beyond the bounds of decency” and said she was “shocked” to learn of it through media reports.
“The fact that I 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,” Madonna said in court papers. “I understand that my DNA could be extracted from a piece of my hair. It is outrageous and grossly offensive that my DNA could be auctioned for sale to the general public.”
Madonna’s court papers name Darlene Lutz, a former friend, art consultant and “frequent overnight guest” in Madonna’s home when she was “not in residence,” as behind the sale of the property.
“It seems obvious that Defendant Lutz betrayed my trust in an outrageous effort to obtain my possessions without my knowledge or consent and now attempts to profit by auctioning off my personal belongings and private communications to the general public,” Madonna said.
A spokesman for Lutz and the auction house said the allegations will be “vigorously challenged and refuted” in court.
“Madonna and her legal army have taken what we believe to be completely baseless and meritless action to temporarily halt the sale of Ms. Lutz’s legal property,” said spokesman Pete Siegel “We are confident that the Madonna memorabilia will be back.”
Madonna also asked the judge to prohibit the sale of cassette tapes of unreleased music and a hairbrush.