For 13 years, Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship; that is, she hasn’t been in charge of her finances and important life decisions. Earlier in the week, on Wednesday, she addressed the court for the first time in two years. At the hearing, Britney said to Judge Brenda Penny, “I deserve a life I can call mine. I’m not here to be a slave to anyone.”
While the pop singer addressed the court, all eyes were on her. She expressed anger as she tagged her conservatorship as abusive.
Britney’s conservatorship came under renewed scrutiny recently after New York Times released the documentary titled “Framing Britney Spears,” and her fans championed the #FreeBritney movement saying the singer doesn’t need a conservatorship at this point in her life.
Her father has played the conservator role for the past thirteen years. The judge’s decision to remove him may depend on advice received from medical and mental health professionals assigned to access the pop star. Unfortunately, those assessments are not made public, so no one knows whether those assessments have been made. Under the law of California, a person under conservatorship has to be assessed regularly by a doctor.
Britney’s description of her conservatorship as abusive stems from not being able to live a “full life.” In her words, ” I’ve been lying to the whole world that I’m happy and ok. I thought by saying it, it would become true. But I’ve been left traumatized, angry and depressed. It’s insane.”
She claimed her conservators stopped her from getting married to her boyfriend, Sam Asghari and having children. “I want to get married and have a child. I currently have an IUD inside me, so I don’t get pregnant, but I wish all of that changes,” she said.
Assigning Britney Spears a conservator happened as a result of the mental breakdown she suffered in 2007. It was a disturbing scene that the paparazzi caught. The episode had her behaving in an erratic way that had her attacking a car with an umbrella and shaving her head.
She was considered to have a diminished mental capacity, and the court stepped in to grant her father to make important life choices and financial decisions for her. The Britney Spears case sheds more light on how difficult it is to get out of a conservatorship in California. However, the silver lining is that many people who have clamored for a rewriting of the conservatorship law may finally get a win. The American Civil Liberties Union has also described the legal process of conservatorship as opaque, extreme, paternalistic and mostly unnecessary.
Britney Spears has requested that her father, Jamie Spears, resign from his role as her personal conservator. Her father became her co-conservator in 2008 alongside a lawyer, Andrew Wallet, who resigned in March 2019. Jamie continued as the sole conservator of her person and estate until he stepped down in September 2019 due to poor health due to a ruptured colon. He still maintained control of her finances, but now Britney wants him to relinquish all control.
A judge appointed a professional conservator Jodi Montgomery to replace Jamie Spears and handle Britney’s security, visitor and medical issues. A judge assigned private trust company Bessemer Trust Co. equal power with her father, with Britney insisting she didn’t want her father to continue to manage her finances.
It’s been a never-ending battle which Britney Spears’ brother and mother have admitted to being toxic but hope things get better soon.