Judge Halts the Auction of the Revealing Breakup Letter Tupac Shakur Wrote Madonna From Prison
The pop icon says the letter and other belongings were stolen from her by former art advisor Darlene Lutz.
A judge has halted a planned sale of a handwritten letter that late rapper Tupac Shakur wrote pop icon Madonna from prison, according to various media reports. The decision Tuesday (July 18) by Manhattan Supreme court judge Gerald Leibovitz was reportedly welcomed by Madonna, and it extended to other personal items—22 in all—the singer says she was surprised to find on the auction block after they were stolen from her. Among the items included were a pair of worn panties and a hairbrush containing the singer’s hair. The items were being offered by New York-based auctioneer Gotta Have Rock and Roll.
artnet News reached out to Gotta Have Rock and Roll, which bills itself as the “premier auction house for rock and roll memorabilia.” The auctioneer and the consignor of the Tupac-Madonna memorabilia, Darlene Lutz, Madonna’s former fine art advisor, issued this statement:
“Madonna and her legal army have taken what we believe to be a completely baseless and meritless action to temporarily halt the sale of Ms. Lutz’s legal property. We believe that her intent is nothing more than to besmirch the good reputations of the auction house and Ms. Lutz. Madonna’s allegations will be vigorously challenged and refuted in a court of law in due course. We are confident that the Madonna memorabilia will be back listed in a future Gotta Have Rock and Roll online auction once the legal proceeding is concluded.”
The site still features a number of Madonna’s personal items for sale, including jewelry, clothing, and tour ephemera. It is unclear if these items are involved in the dispute. Photos of the withdrawn memorabilia are still featured on the auctioneer’s Instagram feed.
As for the three-page letter, the late rapper confesses to Madonna that he ended their short-lived romantic relationship over race.
“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,” Shakur wrote in the note, which is dated January 15th, 1995. “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.”
According to reports, Madonna said she was “shocked” when she learned about the auction and filed an emergency court order to prevent the sale. She accused Lutz of taking the belongings from her home. Madonna told Reuters that Lutz “betrayed my trust in an outrageous effort to obtain my possessions without my knowledge or consent.”
This isn’t the first time Madonna has clashed with Lutz in court. In early 2005, the pop star filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court against the advisor for breaking a contract agreement signed in 2004 for which Lutz reportedly owed $265,000 for a painting she sold. The painting was not identified.
Follow artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.