Nearly a year after an auction of personal Madonna items – including the singer's breakup letter to Tupac Shakur – was halted and thrown into legal limbo, the judge presiding over the case ruled in favor of the auctioneers, allowing the sale to proceed.
Bidding on Madonna's breakup letter to Shakur reached $100,000 in July 2017 when the singer filed an emergency court order over Gotta Have Rock and Roll's auction and 22 contested items, which came from the collection of Madonna's former personal assistant Darlene Lutz.
In Justice Gerald Lebovitz's decision Monday, he wrote that "(Madonna) knew that throughout her relationship with Lutz, Lutz was in possession of various pieces of (Madonna’s) personal property. Yet before this action began, the plaintiff did not make any demand to return her possessions," the New York Daily News reported.
Lebovitz also noted that Madonna forfeited her rights to the items as part of a termination agreement between the singer and the personal assistant.
In addition to the Tupac breakup letter, the auction also featured contested items like a hairbrush containing Madonna's hair, a pair of the singer's underwear and a letter where Madonna called Whitney Houston and Sharon Stone "horribly mediocre."
"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," Madonna said in court papers at the time. "I understand that my DNA could be extracted from a piece of my hair. It is outrageous and grossly offensive that my DNA could be auctioned for sale to the general public."
A rep for Madonna did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Gotta Have Rock and Roll said in a statement Monday after the judge's decision, "We did substantial due diligence when we took all the Madonna items for auction. We were confident that Madonna had no claim whatsoever, and the judge clearly agreed with us.” Jeffrey Haas, the lawyer for the auction house, added, "I was confident in our case and that Madonna’s lawsuit was frivolous. And all the high-priced attorneys she hired couldn’t change that fact.”
Gotta Have Rock and Roll told the Daily News that the Madonna items would go back on the auction block in July.