Madonna persuaded a New York state judge to halt the auction of 22 personal items including a pair of worn satin panties, a hairbrush containing her hair, and a break-up letter from a former boyfriend, the late rapper Tupac Shakur.
Justice Gerald Lebovits of the state Supreme Court in Manhattan temporarily blocked the online auction of the items, which was scheduled for Wednesday, and directed the auctioneer Gotta Have It Collectibles to explain on Sept. 6 why he should not issue a preliminary injunction.
Lebovits issued his order on Tuesday, a few hours after Madonna sued, and made it public on Wednesday. In a court filing, Madonna said the 22 items were among 128 being consigned for the auction, mostly by Darlene Lutz, whom she described as a longtime friend and art consultant.
The 58-year-old singer said she was not trying to block the auction of all 128 items, but would face “irreparable harm” if many of her “extremely private and personally sensitive belongings” were sold.
“It seems obvious that defendant Lutz betrayed my trust in an outrageous effort to obtain my possessions without my knowledge or consent,” and make a profit “in complete disregard of my rights, especially my right to privacy,” she said.
In a Wednesday court filing, Lutz said she and Madonna had a “falling out” in 2004 that led to a legal settlement that should have resolved the singer’s latest claims. Lutz’s lawyers said in another filing that Madonna had waited too long to sue, and Lebovits should vacate his order.
“Madonna conveniently omits that she had sent her ‘under-wear’ with a handwritten note to a former love interest ‘as you requested’ ‘for love & luck,'” the lawyers wrote, referring to Lutz. “If Madonna truly wanted privacy, then mailing her lingerie was not the way to go.”
Gotta Have It Collectibles on Tuesday called Madonna’s claims “completely baseless and meritless.” It was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday. Shakur wrote his letter to Madonna in January 1995, while he was in prison for sexual assault.
He said he ended their relationship because he thought dating a white woman could jeopardize his career. “I never meant to hurt you,” Shakur wrote. Shakur died at age 25 in September 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.