Madonna on stage over an hour late after losing custody: 'I accept I have lost my son'

The material girl finally materialised on stage in Auckland tonight after keeping her fans waiting for over an hour. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
The material girl finally materialised on stage in Auckland tonight after keeping her fans waiting for over an hour. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

She took her time but the material girl finally materialised on stage in Auckland last night after keeping her fans waiting for over an hour.

Madonna took to the Vector Arena stage about 10.30pm last night for the second Auckland show of her Rebel Heart world tour.

Fans took to social media to voice their frustrations with the delay.



TVNZ journalist Jessica Mutch asked "Where oh where is Madonna? More than an hour since the warm up act finished".

Earlier The Mail on Sunday has revealed that the pop star has conceded defeat to her ex-husband Guy Ritchie over the custody of their 15-year-old son, Rocco . The singer has told friends she has "lost the battle" after finally admitting her son does not want to live with her.

This comes after she broke down on stage during the New Zealand leg of her Rebel Heart tour on Saturday, emotionally professing love for her son to the crowd.

Read more:
Madonna's tears for her son - before pashing Kiwi fan

The mother-of-four burst into tears on the Auckland stage as she told fans: "There is no love stronger than a mother for her son," before dedicating her song La Vie en Rose to him.

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The saga began last December, when Rocco left his mother's world tour to fly to Britain to stay with his film director father. Rocco then defied the superstar's pleas - as well as an order from a New York court - to return to Madonna's US home for Christmas, preferring instead to remain in Britain with Ritchie.

Now, having accepted that she is fighting a losing battle, Madonna has told friends that she will let her son stay in Britain. The 57-year-old is said to be "utterly bereft" and, as part of the peace deal, she is demanding a series of assurances that she will retain some parental influence over her only natural son.

Losing him: Madonna with her son Rocco. Photo / Getty Images
Losing him: Madonna with her son Rocco. Photo / Getty Images

Last week, as a fresh legal bid was launched at the Family Division of London's High Court, a judge urged the couple to settle their differences out of court.

One of the singer's closest friends last night conceded: "The fact is Madonna has now accepted Rocco isn't coming home and that his home is now with his dad. Rocco wants to be with his dad but she won't give up being his mother.

"She won't stop fighting to try to make sure Rocco is kept safe and has what he needs. She can't understand why it has come to this. Her world has been shattered."

The temporary truce comes after weeks of stalemate negotiations between lawyers for Madonna, Ritchie and their son.

A draft agreement with 24 bullet points was initially drawn up but sources say the couple cannot agree on at least seven of those issues.

The Mail on Sunday can exclusively reveal the key factors at the heart of the tug-of-love, which will be hammered out as Madonna prepares to go to court yet again in New York later this month.

They include Madonna's request for Ritchie to set aside time in the week when she and her other children can speak to Rocco, and she is seeking clarification on her right to have a say in her son's education.

She wants to be reassured that an adult will be informed of Rocco's whereabouts when he goes out to parties and a stipulation that Ritchie provides him with 'native security' - low-key security guards often hired by celebrities to follow their offspring at a discreet distance.

Madonna is also adamant that the legal tussle should be thrashed out in a US court, where parents retain greater controls over their children until they are 18, rather than in the UK where more freedoms are granted to 16-year-olds.

The source said: "It is unbelievable but so far Madonna does not know when she will be able to see her son again, let alone have any say in his future. The situation between her and Guy is toxic."

The battle for Rocco began in December when the teenager left his mother's world tour after a row over his mobile phone and flew to London to be with Ritchie.

When Madonna requested information about her son's return, Ritchie failed to respond, prompting the star to resort to a Manhattan court where their custody arrangements were made after their divorce in 2008.

The judge ordered that the teenager be returned home. And despite invoking the Hague Convention, which is used in child abduction cases, and subsequent appeals to the court, Ritchie's own lawyers stonewalled any return, defending the teenager's right to make his own decisions about where he lived.

The 47-year-old director - who was awarded a £50 million divorce settlement including the Wiltshire country estate, Ashcombe, - claimed his son needed "his space and freedom".

The increasingly bitter fall-out between the pair began with a cyber-competition over happy family Christmas snaps shared on Instagram and Twitter, followed by Madonna having meltdowns on tour.

And while Ritchie's camp claims the teenager hated having to go on tour with his mother, photographs emerged of a scruffy-looking Rocco crouched down in a South Bank park smoking with his skater friends.

Rocco has now enrolled at a North London private school, although his mother has yet to be consulted over his subject choices.

The source said: "Madonna worries her son will run wild. She was beside herself when she saw pictures of him in a skate park."

A member of Madonna's inner circle added: "Guy has him and she completely gets that a 15-year-old boy wants to be with his dad. It might break her heart but she gets it. But she wants to know she can see her son. For the past eight years, there has never been a problem with Guy seeing Rocco but this situation is just not being resolved."

Meanwhile, during Friday's Auckland show - which happened ahead of these new claims - Madonna was openly emotional as she spoke of her teenage son.

Perching on a chair in the middle of the stage in front of her sold-out crowd of 12,000 people, the True Blue hitmaker spoke of her love for Rocco.

"That is my son who I mentioned earlier," she started off.

"He is actually 15, and its true, there is no love stronger than a mother for her son," she added before taking a long pause to compose herself.

She went on: "And if I talk about him too much... I might cry." The singer could be heard holding back tears, as she struggled to go on.

"But I would like to dedicate this song to him - It's a love song for a man but I know he will need one, one day,' she said through difficulty as she took a number of deep breaths. I hope he hears this somewhere and he knows how much I miss him."

- nzherald.co.nz and The Mail on Sunday

- Daily Mail

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