Madonna brings legal action against Guy Ritchie under child abduction laws

March 4, 2016


Film director at London court hearing as Mr Justice MacDonald says he hopes former husband and wife can negotiate custody agreement.


Madonna has made a legal bid under child abduction laws to force former husband Guy Ritchie to return their teenage son to America, it can be disclosed.

Mr Ritchie, the film director, attended the latest stage of an acrimonious legal battle over the future of 15-year-old Rocco at the High Court in London.

A judge is analysing the family dispute case following similar court hearings in New York earlier this week.

It can be reported for the first time that Madonna, who has been one of the world’s most recognisable recording artists since the 1980s, made an application last year under the Hague Convention – which deals with the abduction of children – for the return of Rocco.

The teenager has been living with his mother in New York since the couple filed for divorce in 2008.

But in December, while travelling through Europe with his mother on the Rebel Heart world tour, he decided to stay with his father – much to the anguish of Madonna.

Mr Justice MacDonald considered preliminary issues at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court and is due to hear more evidence later this month.

Mr Ritchie, 47, appeared tense as he sat on the front row of the court with his solicitors during the 90-minute hearing.

Dressed in a grey tweed jacket, navy woollen waistcoat and a light blue shirt with a brown tie, he fiddled nervously with a ballpoint pen and drummed his fingers on the desk as barristers made their arguments.

Neither Madonna nor Rocco were in court.

Lawyers told Mr Justice MacDonald that Madonna wanted the teenager to return to live with her in the US and had issued an application under the international legal convention.

However, she has now applied to withdraw that application.

Mr Justice MacDonald said he hoped the pop singer and Mr Ritchie could negotiate an agreement.


He echoed the words of Judge Deborah Kaplan, who is dealing with the dispute in New York, when he said: “It is hoped further discussions between the parties can reach an amicable settlement.”

Mr Justice MacDonald added: “It is highly unfortunate and deeply regrettable as Judge Kaplan said that this family dispute is being dealt with in front of her and in front of me, through the agencies of highly capable lawyers.”

Both Mr Richie, who left court without commenting, and Rocco were said by their legal teams to want the court fights “to stop.”

David Williams QC, for Madonna, said: “It is her desire that this is resolved as quickly as possible.”

All sides initially wanted all reporting of the proceedings banned.

But the judge had to weigh up both the rights of the parties for privacy and rights of the media for freedom of expression.

He said so much was already in the public domain following the New York hearing he would allow additional reporting of his remarks and the fact that all sides now wanted the proceedings to stop.

In New York on Monday the pair were reprimanded by Judge Kaplan for dragging their son through an acrimonious custody battle.

“Frankly, both parties here have chosen to live their lives in a very public way, and may welcome the exposure, but the child has not,” she said.

“I urge them to consider what is the best interests of their son – which may be to remove him from the spotlight.”

Madonna is currently on tour and Mr Ritchie is currently directing Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur, starring Jude Law.

He married second wife Jacqui Ainsley, a model, last summer.

Earlier this week in New York Eleanor Alter, Madonna’s lawyer, accused Mr Ritchie of having “taught his son that court orders and signed statements do not matter”.

But Mr Ritchie’s lawyer, Peter Bronstein, hit back, saying the teenager could not be forced to return to New York.

“Rocco is of an age where he cannot be physically forced to board a plane to come back,” he said. “To make such an order is not the way a child should be forced to live.”

Rocco is currently enrolled at a London school, on the agreement of both Madonna and Mr Ritchie, and the teenager’s lawyer, Ellen Sigal, said that he was thriving at the school.


Following their divorce, the couple agreed to shared custody of their children – Rocco, and David Banda, adopted from Malawi, now aged 10.

Madonna also has a daughter Lourdes, 19, by the actor Carlos Leon and in 2009 adopted Mercy, a Malawian girl, also 10.

The singer has taken to social media as part of her increasingly desperate attempts to win her son over. The singer posted a picture of him on Instagram last week in an angelic, sunlit pose.

A fortnight ago she posted a photo of Rocco as a baby, with the caption, in French, saying: “I miss you.”

Reports of the court proceedings in New York did not specify why Rocco prefers to stay in London.

Asked if she could provide some clarity on the legal situation and what the next move would be in the case, one of Madonna’s representatives said: “Sadly not.”

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Madonna labels ex-husband Guy Ritchie a ‘c**t’ on stage over bitter Rocco custody battle

January 21, 2016


MADONNA has taken her bitter custody battle with ex-husband Guy Ritchie to a shocking new level — appearing to brand him a “c**t” on stage.

The pop legend, 57, who is gearing up for a showdown with her ex in court over son Rocco, stunned the audience at her Nashville show with the foul-mouthed rant.


She responded to a fan’s marriage proposal by saying: “I’m looking for a husband, not a c**t. I already married a c**t.”

The shocking outburst came at her Nashville gig on Monday — where she arrived on stage more than two hours late — after her and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director Guy, 47, fought in court over 15-year-old Rocco.

The teenager had been travelling with Madonna on her international Rebel Heart Tour, but left in December to go live with his father in London.

Madonna Guy-Ritchie

Madonna appeared in court in New York before Christmas after Rocco refused to come home for the holidays, and the judge ordered him to return to his mother so she and Guy could work out custody.

However, Rocco has so far refused to return to the US and remains in the UK.

The couple, who were married for eight years before divorcing in 2008, will now battle in court again over their son. Her sweary rant came just days after she fiercely denied reports that she was drunk during her Louisville concert.


The singer eventually came on at 10.31pm — two and a half hour later than her 8pm start time.

She wrote online: “’For those people who like to believe all they read I never drink and perform!!! My show is 2 hours and 15 minutes of non stop singing and dancing.”

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Madonnas drunken antics botch concert as custody battle looms

January 17, 2016


Madonna’s brewing custody battle with Guy Ritchie is stressing the 57-year-old pop diva out, and it’s starting to show. According to TMZ, Madonna had a minor meltdown during her January 16 show in Louisville, Kentucky.


The Material Girl drew ire from longtime fans when her concert started late, three hours late. Even worse, fans told TMZ that when Madonna finally took the stage, she was obviously drunk. However, fans don’t agree on how drunk. One angry fan described Madonna as “very drunk” while another claims that Madonna was only “a lil drunk but funny.”

It gets worse. According to some fans, Madonna tried to cover her drunken performance by turning on the audience. Madonna apparently adopted a “hillbilly accent” to trash talk her Kentucky fans.

Madonna appeared to admit to showing up tipsy for her performance in a post to her official Twitter account.

There might be more to Madonna’s alcohol-fueled slip up than meets the eye. According to People, Madonna and her ex-husband, Guy Ritchie, have been locked in a custody battle over their 15-year-old son, Rocco. It seems that after three months of traveling with Madonna on her Rebel Heart tour, Rocco decided he’d had enough and flew to the United Kingdom to live with Guy Ritchie.

The problem is, Rocco refused to return to the United States to spend Christmas with his mother and younger siblings. Undaunted, Madonna appeared in a New York courtroom on December 23, demanding that Rocco be returned to her custody. Reportedly, the judge ordered Rocco to return to the United States, but so far, he hasn’t. According to sources close to Guy Ritchie, Rocco misses his friends in London and hates the expensive Manhattan private school Madonna enrolled him in.

Guy-Ritchie and Madonna

Reportedly, Guy Ritchie wants Rocco to stay with him. Sources told People, that Ritchie dislikes Madonna’s reportedly authoritarian parenting style, and thinks it will stifle Rocco’s confidence. Madonna and Guy Ritchie as scheduled to appear in a New York courtroom on February 3 to settle the custody arrangement. Right now, it’s unclear if Guy Ritchie refuses to return Rocco to Madonna’s custody, or if the 15-year-old refuses to leave London.

This isn’t the first time that Guy Ritchie and Madonna have revealed conflicting views on their lives together. According to the Daily Mail, Madonna revealed that, from her perspective, a lack of romance was at the heart of her 2008 split from Ritchie. Apparently, Madonna thought her relationship with Guy Ritchie was flawless in the beginning, but over the years noticed cracks in the veneer that made her wonder how much she was willing to sacrifice.

Guy Ritchie doesn’t see it that way. According to the Mirror, Ritchie just wanted a normal relationship, but Madonna’s inner circle and celebrity lifestyle made that impossible.

“She’s obsessed with her own public image, obsessed with being seen as some kind of global soothsayer. It’s silly, she’s a pop star. And some of the advisers around her, some of whom have gone, made it impossible for us to have a semblance of a normal life. They worshipped at the altar of Madonna. I just wanted a regular husband and wife thing – not least for the sake of the kids.”

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the demise of Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s marriage and the custody battle over Rocco have both played out through the stars respective public relations teams. Ritchie continues to pain Madonna as self-absorbed and unnecessarily strict with her children. Meanwhile, Madonna’s public relations team paints Ritchie as a negligent parent determined to use their son to settle a score with his ex-wife.

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Madonna and Guy Ritchie are still “Hung Up” in court in a transatlantic custody squabble over 15-year-old son Rocco

January 14, 2016


Madonna and Guy Ritchie are still “Hung Up” in court in a transatlantic custody squabble over 15-year-old son Rocco.

Madonna Sighting - New York

While the teen was traveling with his mom on her Rebel Heart tour for three months in the fall, a Ritchie source told PEOPLE he got bored and decided to live with his dad in the U.K. in an act of rebellion. When he refused to return to the U.S. for the holidays, Madonna, 57, appeared in a New York City courtroom on Dec. 23, where a judge reportedly ordered that Rocco return to N.Y.C. to sort out his living situation.

Despite the judge’s order, sources have alleged Rocco hasn’t returned home yet, that he has missed school since moving in with his dad in December, and that the spat stems from a power struggle between Madonna and Ritchie, 47.

What happens if Rocco doesn’t return or if Guy Ritchie deters him from returning?
That puts Mr. Richie in a very poor situation vis-a-vis the New York proceeding, and it puts him in the same position [overseas] as Kelly Rutherford was over here. Assuming that the judge’s order is a valid and enforceable court order and the court has jurisdiction – and it seems as though it does – Guy Richie would have to bring the child into a courthouse in the U.K. or be arrested for his failure to do so.

But, you have a 15-year-old who apparently has some wherewithal and apparently a mind of his own. So judges can be extremely persuasive and probably can still impress upon a 15-year-old what that 15-year-old needs to do. I would suspect that when the judge would tell Rocco, “you are leaving now with your mom” that would happen, but what happens when Rocco gets home with his mom? That’s anybody’s guess.

If Rocco continues to defy the judge’s order, how much will his wishes regarding where he wants to live matter to the judge?
To be clear, Rocco isn’t a party in this case. The court ordered Guy Ritchie to return Rocco to his mother. Rocco’s refusal to come home is merely a demonstration of the fact that he is still a teenager and will be treated as such by the courts.

If Rocco has been missing school as has been reported, how will that affect which parent he ends up with?
Rocco missing school certainly doesn’t help Guy Ritchie’s case, but it doesn’t necessarily help Madonna’s. To the extent that Mr. Ritchie is responsible for Rocco’s truancy, it reflects poorly on him as a parent.

What are the next steps in this case?
The judge has mentioned that a lawyer will be appointed for Rocco, so I would suspect that that appointment has already been made or will be made sufficiently in advance of this Feb. 3 court appearance so that when the court appearance occurs, the judge can look at Rocco’s lawyer and say: “What does your client think and why?”

He – the lawyer for Rocco – is there to advocate for Rocco’s desires, so the lawyer is not some sort of a neutral who sprinkles the fairy dust of the child’s best interest on the proceedings. And so to the extent that Rocco’s interests are adverse to one of his parents, that’s why he gets his own lawyer because there’s a conflict of interest otherwise. And so the judge will begin the process of trying to determine what is in Rocco’s best interest.

 Rocknrolla Uk Film Premiere - London

The exes are due in court for a second hearing in New York on Feb. 3, and PEOPLE spoke to a divorce and family law expert who is not involved in their case to weigh in on what’s next.

“The courts know how difficult it is to get a teenager to do what he wants to do, which as a practical matter gives the child a louder voice than maybe he should have,” Michael Stutman – head of the family group at Mischon de Reya New York – tells PEOPLE. “Sometimes you’re creating more problems than you solve by trying to force a teenager to do what they don’t want to.

“And if the two parents are not united with respect to the child, the child will exploit those differences and get what he wants.”

Below, Stutman answers the big questions regarding this international custody battle as it heats up.

The judge ruled Rocco needs to return to the U.S. to determine next steps: Is there a time frame for when a child needs to return in these cases?
I would be surprised if the judge’s order did not say, “You are to return the child by such and such date.” I doubt that the order was that open-ended because otherwise it’s difficult to exploit it.

Rocco hasn’t returned to the U.S. yet: How might this affect which parent he ends up with and the judge’s final ruling?
I would be asking if Mr. Ritchie bought Rocco a plane ticket. I wonder what he has communicated to Madonna to let her know he’s trying his best to get Rocco back to New York. If he can’t show he is making a significant effort, he has a long road ahead of him.

If there are procedures in England similar to a U.S. writ of habeas corpus, Madonna could petition for the courts to recognize the New York court order and force Guy Ritchie to produce the boy. Should she choose to do so and prevail, Rocco could be on the next flight back to New York.

How much say does Rocco have in which parent he’ll end up with?
As most children are when the parents become adverse to each other, the children know how to manipulate that for their own personal gain. Children are very adept to this, and the older they get, the more precocious they are, the more able they are to manipulate it, so his legal posture may be as a subordinate but as a practical matter and as a represented party of the proceedings, he’s kind of got the keys to the car. And I think his voice will be heard and given some significant weight and that is after there has been some level of inquiry as to the motivation for his position.


If he says, “I want to be with Daddy,” and that’s because it turns out that Daddy is a Good Time Charlie while Mommy makes him go to bed all the time or makes sure he does his homework, the bonafides of the child’s expressed preferences may be questioned, and the kid may not get what he wants. If it becomes more along the lines of a kid saying, “Listen, I relate more to my dad; his interests are more like mine; he understands my issues with dating or with my friends or stuff like that and mom just doesn’t” … Depending on how sophisticated the child is in voicing his concerns, his voice will be given a lot of weight.

Can we expect Rocco to testify in the next hearing?
His court-appointed attorney would just speak for him. It would be very unusual for a child to testify. I don’t know if Rocco will be personally present in the proceeding, ordinarily the child, even though he’s represented, would not be in open court. He might be available to his lawyer by the phone somewhere, but there’s no need to have the child because, again, the disputes between parents are between the parents. It’s a matter for his parents to sort out: He’s more than a bystander, but he’s not a full-blown party.

How long could this be drawn out for in court?
It’s not going to go on past Rocco’s 18th birthday – we know that. And I don’t imagine the judge would let this drag on because it’s so contrary to the lives of all three of the people involved, and there are siblings and stuff, so it’s kind of misery. So I would suspect [the judge] will find a way to put an end to this feud reasonably soon.

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