Madonna is suing an auction house for trying to sell the controversial love letter written to her by ex-boyfriend Tupac Shakur.

The Material Girl singer took action against auctioneer Gotta Have It! Collectibles for putting several of her "highly personal items" up for sale without her permission and Judge Gerald Leibovitz has successfully granted the pop star a temporary restraining order blocking the auction.

Earlier in July, it was revealed that Tupac had written an emotional note to Madonna, 58, ending their brief romance in January 1995. The California Love rapper, who died in 1997, explained how he could no longer date Madonna because she was white and he was afraid of further isolating his fans in the black community.

In the legal documents, filed in New York City on 18 July, Madonna reveals her fears that the public could obtain her DNA from underwear or a hairbrush, which once belonged to the singer and are among the 22 items which have been placed on auction.

The musician states: "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."

Regarding the Tupac letter, which was expected to rake in around $400,000 (£307,000), Madonna says: "I was shocked to learn of the planned auctioning of the Shakur letter, as I had no idea that the Shakur letter was no longer in my possession."

The Like A Virgin hitmaker believes "former friend" and art consultant Darlene Luz and another person described as a "frequent overnight guest... would have had access to these items on numerous occasions" when the singer was not home. Madonna says Luz "betrayed" her trust "in an outrageous effort to obtain her belongings".

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Madonna adds: "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."

Other items which were set to go up for auction include unreleased audio recordings, personal photos and unsent "intimate love letters" to some of Madonna's other past boyfriends such as John Enos and Peter Shue.

Responding to the legal battle, the auction house said in a 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."