Madonna Loses a Lawsuit Against Her Ex Art Advisor, Greenlighting the Sale of Her Lingerie and Breakup Letter From Tupac Shakur

The judge ruled that the statute of limitations had run out for Madonna to reclaim her possessions.

Madonna at the "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & the Catholic Imagination" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

An auction of Madonna’s personal belongings—including lingerie worn as stage costumes and a breakup letter from ex-boyfriend Tupac Shakur—can proceed as planned, a New York state appeals court in Manhattan ruled on Tuesday. The singer had hoped to prevent her former art advisor, Darlene Lutz, from selling the items, which Madonna claims went missing during a 2004 move.

The new ruling upholds a Manhattan Supreme Court judge’s finding that Madonna’s lawsuit fell outside of the three-year statute of limitations to recover her possessions. Plus, in a 2004 settlement over a dispute about works of art, the singer signed a release clause barring future claims against Lutz.

“The court came to the absolute right decision,” Lutz’s lawyer, Hartley Bernstein, told Reuters. “The property is Ms. Lutz’s to do with as she wishes.”

Lutz worked as Madonna’s art advisor from 1981 to 2003, when the two had a falling out.

An exhibit presented to the courts showed Madonna's personal effects for sale on Gotta Have It! Collectibles' website.

An exhibit presented to the courts showed Madonna’s personal effects for sale on Gotta Have Rock and Roll’s website.

Madonna took legal action after Lutz consigned 22 items that once belonged to the singer to online auctioneers Gotta Have Rock and Roll in 2017, claiming that Lutz had stolen them.

The items offered included Madonna’s original résumé, handwritten song lyrics, a checkbook, and her headpiece from the film Evita. The letter from the late Shakur, informing Madonna that he feared having a white girlfriend could harm his career, was expected to sell for as much as $400,000. The sale was initially halted over concerns that one lot, Madonna’s hairbrush, could contain her DNA.

Raquel Welch, Madonna, and Tupac Shakur at the Interview Magazine party in March 1, 1994 in New York City. Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Raquel Welch, Madonna, and Tupac Shakur at the Interview magazine party in March 1, 1994 in New York City. Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Gotta Have It will now proceed with the sale, including the contested lots, in its upcoming “The Rock and Roll Pop Culture Auction” from July 17–26, according to a post on the company’s Instagram.

Madonna’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“It’s good to know,” Lutz’s lawyer told Page Six, “that justice is blind to things like celebrity and that facts will prevail.”


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