At London’s High Court on Friday, Madonna’s lawyers said the 57-year-old singer wanted to end the bitter custody battle between her and ex-husband Guy Ritchie and would consider it “terrible” if further litigation was required.
“Madonna wants to find a way in which this family can come together to heal the wounds that have been inflicted,” David Williams QC told a private hearing in the court’s family division, adding, “She very much hopes that the family can start the process of reaching a resolution for the problem.”
Sources confirmed to PEOPLE the problem began late last year when Rocco refused to return to the U.S. to live with his mother, who was in the midst of her Rebel Heart world tour. Instead, Rocco stayed in London with his father, British film director Ritchie, who remarried and has three children with wife Jacqui Ritchie. And Rocco remained in Guy’s care despite a New York Supreme Court judge ordering his return in December.
While Madonna had originally issued an application in England under an international legal convention, the singer has now said she wants to bring legal proceedings to a close and has invited both Guy and Rocco to New York when her Australian tour ends in just over one week, her lawyer said. Guy has proposed that talks happen in London instead.
While both Guy and Jacqui sat with Rocco at various intervals of Thursday’s proceedings, on Friday Rocco was in court alone, aside from his legal guardian and lawyers. Meanwhile, Madonna’s lawyers commented that “Mrs. Ciccone had wanted to be at this hearing,” but unfortunately was on tour. The representative assured the court that she “wants to work with him and Guy to resolve matters for her family.”
The reps also commented on the impact of the battle – not just on Madonna and Rocco, but also “other family members” who have been “profoundly affected.”
Since the hearings began at the High Court on March 3, judge Mr. Justice MacDonald has repeatedly urged Madonna and Guy to resolve their dispute and spoke of a “desirability in the parties reaching a settlement.”
While the High Court had previously ordered that all legal arguments heard inside Court 39 of the Royal Courts of Justice remain private, the judge on Friday relaxed the restrictions (while still prohibiting certain topics) on account of the “unprecedented nature of this case.”
The case will continue next week when the judge will hear further evidence and decide whether the proceedings launched by Madonna in the U.K. should come to a close.