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Judge halts auction after Madonna objections
[NEW YORK] A judge on Wednesday halted an auction of intimate items of Madonna including a breakup letter from Tupac Shakur after the pop superstar said her privacy was violated.
New York Justice Gerald Lebovitz ordered a hearing on the dispute for September 6 and barred the auction house, Gotta Have Rock and Roll, from holding the sale in the meantime.
Madonna on Tuesday asked the court to intervene, saying that the items were taken without her permission.
"The fact that I may 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," the Material Girl told the court in a statement.
The items include a letter from Tupac Shakur, one of the defining figures of hip-hop, with whom Madonna had a relationship that was little known publicly until recently.
In the 1995 letter, Tupac - who would be shot dead the following year - said he was upset with her for saying in an interview "I'm off to rehabilitate all the rappers and basketball players." He also said his image could suffer by dating a white woman.
Many of the more than 100 items up for auction were identified as coming from Darlene Lutz, a New York art dealer who fell out with Madonna.
Madonna said Ms Lutz, while still a friend, had helped her pack up a house in Miami where much of the personal memorabilia was present.
Ms Lutz in a reply filed Wednesday does not deny much of Madonna's account although she said that several items, including a pair of underwear the singer sent to a love interest, came to the auction house from elsewhere.
Ms Lutz said she had helped Madonna build an art collection and had stored some shipments from the star's Miami home.
She said that she reached a confidential settlement with Madonna in 2004 after their friendship soured.
Among other items whose sale Madonna sought to block was a startingly frank letter to another former lover, actor John Enos.
In the handwritten note from the early 1990s, Madonna said she envied the careers of singer Whitney Houston and actress Sharon Stone, saying they were "horribly mediocre" and had built on Madonna's foundations.
"Maybe this is what black people felt like when Elvis Presley got huge," she wrote.