Just days before Christmas Madonna has found herself in the middle of a bitter custody battle with Guy Ritchie over their teenage son.
The 57-year-old pop diva – currently in the middle of her Rebel Heart world tour – appeared in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, after son Rocco, 15, refused to return from London to be with his mom in the United States.
The Like A Virgin singer told a judge Rocco had informed her he would prefer to stay in the UK with his film-director dad and asked Justice Deborah Kaplan to force her ex to send him home.
According to the New York Daily News, an attorney representing Mr Ritchie responded the teenager ‘has expressed very clearly that he does not want to return to New York.’
When asked by the judge whether Ritchie, 47, has prevented his son from returning to the US, the filmmaker’s lawyer, Eric Buckley, reportedly replied: ‘Effectively yes.’
Kaplan ruled Rocco must return to New York and talk to his mother before deciding which parent he prefers.
The 15-year-old will be represented in the custody case by his own court-appointed attorney, Justice Kaplan decreed.
‘I’m directing the child to be returned to New York,’ Kaplan told the singer, who showed up in court in a black cape. ‘If he wants to stay with his father, he must return to his mother.’
Madonna and Ritchie began dating in 1998 and welcomed Rocco two years later on August 11, 2000.
It was the first child for Ritchie and the second for Madonna, who had a daughter Lourdes from a previous relationship with actor Carlos Leon.
Four months after Rocco’s birth the couple was married on December 22 at Skibo Castle in Dornach, Scotland.
In 2006 the couple welcomed another child when they adopted a child from Malawi called David.
But in October 2008 they announced they were splitting and their divorce was finalized that December.
The couple agreed to shared custody of Rocco and David, with the boys splitting their time between Ritchie’s home in London and Madonna’s home in New York.
Madonna went on to adopt another child from Malawi after the couple’s divorce in 2009, Mercy James.
Ritchie meanwhile now has two sons, Rafael, born 2011 and Levi, born 2014 and a daughter Rivka, born 2012, with his wife Jacqui Ainsley whom he married this past July.