“I want my life back.” – Britney Spears has spoken in open court for the first time to address her controversial conservatorship. So, what is Britney Spears conservatorship?
For nearly half of Britney Spears’s decades-long career as a world-renowned pop star, the “Womanizer” singer hasn’t held full control of her life.
Britney has been under a conservatorship helmed by her father, Jamie Spears, since the singer’s infamous breakdown 12 years ago, which resulted in hospitalization and rehab.
What is a conservatorship?
A conservatorship, according to the California Courts official website, is where a judge appoints an individual or organization to care for another adult who is deemed unfit to care for themselves or to manage their own finances.
In Britney’s case, Britney is considered the “conservatee” and her father, Jamie, the “conservator.”
For the last 12 years, the details of Britney’s conservatorship have been private, but the singer recently filed documents via her lawyer that request parts of her conservatorship be open to the public, according to TMZ.
Why was Britney’s conservatorship put into place?
Britney was put under conservatorship following her very public breakdown in 2008. Following a year of seemingly erratic behavior—such as shaving her head and attacking a paparazzi’s car with an umbrella—the singer was put under a “5150 hold” in a psychiatric hospital for a mental health evaluation.
At the time, Jamie petitioned courts for an emergency “temporary” conservatorship, alluding to the fact that his daughter was unable to properly care for and manage herself amid her mental health struggles.
From there, Jamie was given the legal right to oversee and make decisions regarding Britney’s finances, health, business deals, and personal life.
Tussling over the conservatorship
Britney Spears indicates through her lawyers that she no longer wants her father to be involved in handling her career. A lawyer says Spears is “afraid of her father” and will not return to the stage as long as he retains control.
Later in 2019, Jamie Spears steps away as her conservator temporarily, citing his poor health.
Britney reportedly does not want her father to return as head of the conservatorship.
Instead, Britney has voiced that she “strongly prefers” Jodi Montgomery, who has run her conservatorship since her father’s stepping down due to health issues in 2019, to continue in that role.
Per The New York Times, Britney’s conservatorship has been extended to at least 2021, and the singer’s requests—including permanently removing her father from his role—will not be approved or altered until February 2021.
Britney Spears speaks out for the first time in court
She said she was traumatized and cried every day, telling a judge in Los Angeles: “I just want my life back”.
Referring to past Instagram posts, the singer said: “I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m okay and I’m happy.
“I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized,” she said. “I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Spears, a mother of two, said she wanted to marry her boyfriend and have another baby, but the conservatorship would not allow her to.
She accused her conservator of stopping her from having a contraceptive intrauterine device (IUD) removed so she could get pregnant.
“I feel ganged up on and I feel bullied and I feel left out and alone,” she told the court. “I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does, by having a child, a family, any of those things.”
Spears said she felt “forced” to tour by her management. She said she spoke out against going straight onto a Las Vegas residency, and her therapist was falsely told she was not cooperating or taking her medication.
She alleged she was then put on the drug lithium – a common medicine for bipolar disorder – against her wishes and it had made her feel drunk and unable to converse.
Spears said it was her belief that the conservatorship was doing her “way more harm than good” and said she “honestly didn’t know” she could petition for the arrangement to end.
What will happen next?
It followed much speculation about the pop star’s situation, with fans eagerly combing her social media output for clues. A fan-led movement, known as #FreeBritney, has campaigned for her legal freedom for years.
The full extent of why the court order was extended has never been made public. But Spears has maintained a public career, including a Las Vegas residency and a stint as an X-Factor judge, leading many to question the validity of the arrangement.
But a long legal process is likely before any decision is made on ending the conservatorship.