Rocco, 15, left Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour and relocated to London to live with film director father
Lawyers for Madonna and Guy Ritchie will go to court in New York on Wednesday as part of a custody battle over the pair’s 15-year-old son Rocco.
The former couple, who divorced in 2008, have been in conflict since December, when Rocco left Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour and relocated to London to live with his film director father.
The teenager, who was living with Madonna in their New York townhouse, worked backstage on his mother’s tour this year. He has previously filled a variety of roles on Madonna’s projects including performing as one of her dancers in 2012.
Attempts by Madonna to get him to return home proved unsuccessful, and the singer took the matter to court in December. A judge ordered Rocco to return home, noting that he needed to talk to his mother about any decision he makes.
“I’m directing the child to be returned to New York. If he wants to stay with his father, he must return to his mother,” Manhattan supreme court Justice Deborah Kaplan said, before setting an initial hearing date for the start of February – later delayed by a month.
Rocco’s lawyer Eric Buckley said at the time that the teen had “expressed very clearly that he does not want to return to New York”.
In the intervening period, Madonna has been sharing a string of posts on social media expressing how much she misses her son. A recent photo of Rocco was captioned: “I miss this boy. I hope we see that Leo Sun soon. The light is blinding!”
On another picture of her with her children, she wrote: “It’s possible to be an entertainer and a good mother!!! Too bad we don’t live in a society where many encourage strong independent single working moms! The next great frontier!”
Madonna and Ritchie were married for a total of eight years. Alongside Rocco, they also have an adopted son, David Banda, aged 10. Madonna has two other children, Lourdes Leon, 19, and Mercy James, 10, who was adopted from Malawi.
Though both parties are scheduled to appear before Judge Kaplan in a Manhattan courthouse at 2.30pm on Wednesday, reports have suggested they might not show up because of the publicity surrounding their fight.
Madonna is currently nearing the end of her world tour, which began in Montreal in September. The singer played a sold-out show in Singapore on Sunday, but the next date on her tour tour is not until 5 March in New Zealand.
Ritchie married model Jacqui Ainsley last summer, and lives in London with her and their three children, Rafael, four, Rivka, three, and Levi, one.
This article was written by Nadia Khomami, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 2nd March 2016 14.52 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010