NEW YORK: Madonna and her former husband Guy Ritchie both appeared via video link in a Manhattan court yesterday (Wednesday) to continue their increasingly acrimonious battle for custody of their 15-year-old son, Rocco.
The 57-year-old singer divorced Ritchie in 2008, and was granted shared custody of their children - Rocco, and David Banda, 10, who was adopted from Malawi. Madonna also has a daughter Lourdes, 19, by the actor Carlos Leon and in 2009 adopted Mercy, a Malawian girl, also 10.
The children had accompanied her on her Rebel Heart tour, which began in Montreal in September and has seen her criss-cross the US, Europe, South America and Asia. Madonna has a few days off before her tour, which is promoting her 13th album, continues in New Zealand this weekend.
But it was while the family was in Europe that Rocco decided he wanted to stay in London with his father, rather than be based in New York and travel with his mother.
Mr Ritchie, currently directing Jude Law in Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur, married model Jacqui Ainsley this summer, and lives in London with her and their three sons.
In December, Judge Deborah Kaplan ordered that Rocco should discuss the matter with Madonna, and then revisit the issue of which parent he prefers. He has since remained in London, pictured last week spending time with Brooklyn Beckham - David and Victoria Beckham's 16-year-old son - in Notting Hill.
"He has expressed very clearly that he does not want to return to New York," said Eric Buckley, Mr Ritchie's lawyer, in December.
Madonna has taken to social media as part of her increasingly desperate attempts to win her son over. The singer posted a photograph of him on Instagram last week with the caption: "I miss this boy so full of life ..." Referring to his star sign, she added: "I hope we see that Leo Sun soon. The light is blinding."
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."
The singer has frequently posted photos of her children - something which has led to speculation that Rocco was uncomfortable with his mother's use of social media. Last year she posted on Instagram a picture of her son with his hair in bunches, and a video of Rocco performing a backflip wearing only boxer shorts.