(NP) It may seem like an odd couple, but Madonna and Tupac were once an item. The couple dated three years before the rapper’s murder in 1995, but the reason as to why they split has only surfaced now – in a handwritten letter from Tupac to Madonna, unearthed this week by TMZ.

The surprisingly lengthy and passionate letter was written Jan. 15, 1995 at 4:30 a.m. while Tupac was serving time for sexual assault at Clinton Correctional Facility.

Chunks of it have been redacted by TMZ via E!News, but it opens addressed to “M”: “I’ve waited a long time 2 finally write this mainly because I was struggling to find all the answers that I wouldn’t leave any unanswered questions.

First and foremost, I must apologize to you because like you said I haven’t been the kind of friends I know I am capable of being.”

Later, he explains that he parted ways with her because of their difference in race: “Can u understand that?

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 & 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.”

He went on to explain that he heard her say in an interview “‘I’m off to rehabilitate all the rappers & basketball players,’” possibly paraphrased.

“Those words cut me deep seeing how I had never known you to be with any rappers besides myself. It was at this moment out of hurt & a natural instinct to strike back and defend my heart & ego that I said a lot of things.

“…Can you feel me? In the time since, as u can see, I have grown both spiritually and mentally. It no longer matters how I’m perceived,” he said.

“Please understand my previous position as that of a young man with limited experience with an extremely famous sex symbol. …  I offer my friendship once again this time my stronger & 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 2 me.”

After a few redactions, he closed it: “Please be careful Madonna. Everyone is not as honourable as they seem there are those whose hearts bleed with envy & evil.

They would not hesitate to do you harm! Let my 6 bullets be proof of that! … I don’t know how you feel about visiting me but if you could find it in your heart I would love to speak face to face with you. It’s funny but this experience has taught me to not take time 4 granted.”

Although long rumoured, Madonna confirmed she dated the late rapper in a 2015 interview with Howard Stern, referencing a 1994 appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman: “I was mad at [Letterman] when I said the F-word a lot.

I was in a weird mood that day. I was dating Tupac Shakur at the time and the thing is he got me all riled up on life in general. So when I went on the show I was feeling very gangsta.”

While that insufferable quote could offer a hint as to just why the rapper felt race was getting in their way, his brother, Mopreme Shakur, said he had helped get the two together. However, in 2014, Rosie Perez claimed she had introduced them.

The letter is set to be auctioned off by Gotta Have Rock and Roll between July 19 to 28 with a starting bid of $100,000.