(US) Privacy – Madonna halts auction of Tupac love letter and underwear

Madonna has obtained an order from a Manhattan court, stopping the auction of a number of personal items. The items include: a letter from her former boyfriend rapper Tupac Shakur; other private letters and photographs; a hairbrush with strands of her hair; and previously worn underwear. The judge ordered Gotta Have It! Collectibles to remove 22 items from the auction. Other, less personal items remain for sale.

Madonna said that she had not known that the items were no longer in her possession until she became aware of the auction. ‘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’, she said, also referring to the possibility of her DNA being extracted from hair strands.

The letter from Tupac, who died following a drive-by shooting in 1996, was reportedly expected to sell for up to $400,000. In it Tupac wrote: ‘For you to be seen with a black man wouldn’t in any way jeopardize your career – if anything it would make you seem that much more open and exciting. But for me, at least in my previous perception, I felt due to my ‘image,’ I would be letting down half of the people who made me what I thought I was. I never meant to hurt you.’ In a separate letter to another individual, Madonna referred to Whitney Houston and Sharon Stone as ‘horribly mediocre’.

The auction house, and Madonna’s former friend and personal assistant Darlene Lutz who put the items up for auction, insist the items are rightfully Ms Lutz’s to sell. ‘We are confident that the Madonna memorabilia will be back’ a spokesman said. A further hearing has been set for 6 September 2017.