Madonna has lost her legal appeal to stop the sale of the letter Tupac sent her when they broke up.
The 60-year-old songstress sued online auctioneer Gotta Have It! Collectibles and her former friend and art consultant, Darlene Lutz, for attempting to sell a note from her late former lover – who was killed in 1997 – which revealed that he thought their romance could jeopardise his career because of their different races.
However, the New York State Appeals Court ruled on Tuesday that Madonna couldn’t pursue claims against Lutz or Gotta Have Rock and Roll for selling the letter, as well as silk underwear that belonged to the Material Girl hitmaker and a hairbrush with strands of her hair, to the online auction house.
The lawyer for Lutz and the company, Hartley Bernstein, said in a statement: “We feel that the court came to the absolutely correct decision and it’s good to know that justice is blind to things like celebrity and that facts will prevail.”
In April 2018, a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge ruled that Lutz would be able to sell on personal items belonging to the singer because the statute of limitation to recover items had passed.
In giving his decision, Justice Gerald Lebovits shared at the time: “[Madonna] knew that throughout her relationship with Lutz, Lutz was in possession of various pieces of [Madonna’s] personal property. Yet before this auction began, the plaintiff did not make any demand to return her possessions.”
Whilst Gotta Have It! online auction house co-owner Ed Kosinski added: “It’s a clear-cut victory for us. She shouldn’t have signed a settlement agreement relinquishing the right to all property in Darlene’s possession.”
In 2004, Madonna had also signed a release from “any and all” future claims against Lutz, meaning she could not bring this lawsuit.
Madonna previously insisted her love letter shouldn’t be sold because it was “intensely personal”.
She recalled: “I have a specific memory of receiving that letter because I had a close personal relationship with Tupac Shakur and I specifically remember receiving a phone call from him while he was in jail. My recollection is that he had one of his friends hand deliver the letter to my home in Manhattan. I also have a specific memory of reading the letter. In particular, I remember that he apologised to me. I never gave this letter away. It is intensely personal.”
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