It’s been more than 20 years since influential musician and poet Tupac Shakur was gunned down in 1996, but with the release of the 2017 biopic All Eyez On Me and a newly revealed letter written by the LA native, the rapper is once again in the headlines.
During a 2015 interview with Howard Stern, Madonna confirmed that she and Tupac dated before the rapper’s murder, with mutual friend and actor Rosie Perez setting the pair up. In a 2013 interview with Wendy Williams, Perez revealed that she introduced the musicians at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1993 and the two became a couple, something that was news to fans of both artists. According to Perez and The Daily Mail, the couple were seriously dating by March 1994, with Madonna citing Tupac’s influence as the reason for her infamous expletive-ridden interview with David Letterman that month.
The pair reportedly split in 1995 after Tupac went to jail for a 1993 sexual assault charge. Shakur was eventually released and shot on September 7, 1996, but his murder still remains unsolved.
Now more details about Madonna and Tupac’s relationship are coming to the surface. A letter written by Tupac on January 15, 1995 is going up for auction later this month and TMZ obtained a copy of the note. In the letter, addressed to Madonna and written while Tupac was incarcerated, he reveals the reason behind the pair’s split, which, apparently, was motivated by a number of social factors and comments Madonna made publicly.
Shakur, who was considered the face of the West Coast rap scene and whose parents were both Black Panthers, admitted that being a black man dating a white woman meant something very different for him than Madonna. In the heartbreaking letter, Tupac writes “For you to be seen with a black man wouldn’t in any way jeopardize your career – if anything it would make you seem that much more open and exciting. But for me, at least in my previous perception, I felt due to my ‘image,’ I would be letting down half of the people who made me what I thought I was. I never meant to hurt you.”
Tupac goes on to say that an interview Madonna gave about dating multiple rappers was hurtful to Shakur. “You said ‘I’m off to rehabilitate all the rappers and basketball players’ or something to that affect. Those words cut me deep seeing as how I had never known you to be with any rappers besides myself. It was at this moment out of hurt and natural instinct to strike back and defend my hurt and ego that I said a lot of things.”
Tupac wrote that following their break-up “I have grown both spiritually and mentally. It no longer matters how I’m perceived.” Hoping to leave their relationship on better terms, Tupac closed the letter by asking Madonna to visit him in prison, writing “Please understand my previous position as that of a young man with limited experience with an extremely famous sex symbol.”
Famous for rapping about the violence and danger that waited on every street corner in his native Oakland, California, Tupac writes near the end of the letter, “I offer my friendship once again, this time stronger and focused. If you are still interested I would like to further discuss this with you but some of it couldn’t wait. I felt compelled to tell you…just in case anything happened to me.”
Madonna has not publicly responded to the letter, but she did wish the late artist a happy birthday on Instagram in June.
Shakur’s 1995 letter will go up for auction at Gotta Have Rock And Roll on July 19. The starting bid is $100,000, with previous letters by Tupac fetching as much as $170,000 at auction.