Court Rules Auction House Can Sell Madonna's Old Panties, Breakup Letter from Tupac

Illustration for article titled Court Rules Auction House Can Sell Madonnas Old Panties, Breakup Letter from Tupac
Image: Getty

A court has ruled that a New York City auction house does have the right to sell several personal items that once belonged to Madonna, including a pair of her panties, a hairbrush, and her breakup letter from Tupac.

Madonna has been trying to block Gotta Have Rock auction house from selling off the items for more than a year now; she got a court order to temporarily block their sale in July 2017. But on Monday, it was reported that she lost her bid to stop the auction permanently.


The Guardian explained:

In a decision made public yesterday, judge Gerald Lebovits ruled that she had misdirected her legal action by targeting Darlene Lutz, the New York art collector who helped Madonna build a collection before the pair fell out.

Lebovits sided with Lutz, who claimed that the pair’s disputes had been settled in a 2004 legal agreement. The judge questioned why Madonna had pursued Ms Lutz rather than her own assistants, who Madonna claimed gave her possessions to the dealer. Lutz’s lawyer, Judd Grossman, called the decision “a total win,” saying: “Ms Lutz is now free to do with her property as she pleases without any continued interference by Madonna.”

The New York Daily News quoted the judge who said, “[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.” (Madonna claimed that she didn’t know Lutz had the items.)

The lot also includes a checkbook, photos, and another letter, in which Madonna called Whitney Houston and Sharon Stone “horribly mediocre,” according to NBC News. It might be legal to purchase the discarded underwear and apparently hair-containing brush of a living celebrity, but that doesn’t mean it’s not creepy and gross.

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



Okay, here’s one of those stories within a story:
I read about this legal dispute last year, and my first thought was: If a friend is taking stuff like your panties, your used hairbrush, and your old letters to late lovers, then is that person really a friend?
My second thought, which came about a nanosecond after the first, was: WAIT, there’s an auction house called Gotta Have Rock that sells stuff like used hairbrushes and underwear?! Hey, maybe they’d be interested in that autographed Kurt Cobain set list I got from a friend the year before Cobain died...?

I’ve never felt so mercenary in my life. I hadn’t asked for the autographed MTV Unplugged set list; a friend who was working the MTV shoot told Cobain that I was a fan, and Cobain just signed the set list and gave it to him - and he sent it to me. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I put it into my filing cabinet along with the backstage passes to various other gigs where this friend had worked. After Cobain died, I felt weird keeping it, and weird throwing it away. (I always thought it was a really sweet gesture of Cobain to do something like that, unbidden, and to tell my friend to say hi from him.)

It was in the wastebin more than once - it just felt really morbid. I’m not a collector at all. Well, not of anything but Japanese tea cups, but that’s a different issue. Over the years, I offered it to Sotheby’s and Christie’s over the years - they turned me down. I’d fold it up and file it again. I figured the next step was to offer it to a museum or something. Or just to toss it.

But guess who didn’t turn it down? Gotta Have Rock. I figured they might sell the set list to someone who really wanted it and would display it somewhere. And you know what, last year they did just that. It’s a relief to have it out of the house, the extra change wasn’t bad, and I hope whoever has it is happy.

So...thanks to this dispute between Lutz and Madonna, a completely unrelated signed Xerox copy of a Nirvana concert found a new home.

Thanks, Madonna!