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Britney Spears is fighting to be freed from her ‘abusive’ 13-year conservatorship

Summary List PlacementBritney Spears wants legal control over her life again. The singer was forced into a conservatorship in 2008 after two involuntary stays in psychiatric facilities. Back in June 2021, Spears asked the court to end the court-enforced legal arrangement, typically enacted for those incapable of making their own decisions. "It's my wish and my dream for all of this to end," she said of the conservatorship on June 23, 2021. "I just want my life back. The conservatorship should end. I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive." The conservatorship, approved in Los Angeles Superior Court, put her estate, financial assets, and...

Singer Britney Spears arrives at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, U.S., August 28, 2016.

Summary List Placement

Britney Spears wants legal control over her life again.

The singer was forced into a conservatorship in 2008 after two involuntary stays in psychiatric facilities. Back in June 2021, Spears asked the court to end the court-enforced legal arrangement, typically enacted for those incapable of making their own decisions.

“It’s my wish and my dream for all of this to end,” she said of the conservatorship on June 23, 2021. “I just want my life back. The conservatorship should end. I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive.”

The conservatorship, approved in Los Angeles Superior Court, put her estate, financial assets, and some personal assets under the control of her father and a lawyer. It was extended four times last year.

Despite this, Spears’ fans launched a campaign called the #FreeBritney movement, advocating for the singer to regain legal control over her life and assets. Several activists told Insider that after Spears’ June statement, they’re “hopeful” the conservatorship will end.

As the complex legal battle continues, here’s what we know, including what Spears wants the court to know about her conservatorship, how her fans have played an active role in amplifying what’s happened to the singer, which celebrities are in support of Spears and what her family, namely her father, thinks about what’s happened.

What the court decided during the latest hearing 

Britney Spears attends a movie premiere

At a court hearing last month, a judge overseeing Spears’ case granted her permission to handpick her own lawyer, allowing her court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham, to resign. Spears is now being represented by Mathew S. Rosengart. 

The judge also granted Bessemer Trust’s request to resign as the coconservator of Spears’ estate, temporarily leaving her father Jamie as the sole overseer of her finances. Jodi Montgomery is still the coconservator responsible for Spears’ personal affairs. 

Spears also addressed the court herself once again, and said she wants her father charged with “conservatorship abuse.”

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Spears in her own words

Britney Spears and her father Jamie

During her June 23 testimony, Spears detailed her troubling experiences under the conservatorship.

“I’ve lied and told the whole world: ‘I’m OK and I’m happy,'” Spears said. “It’s a lie. I thought I just maybe if I said that enough. Because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized. You know, fake it till you make it. But now I’m telling you the truth, okay? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”

She said at one point, after being told she had to go to a Beverly Hills facility, she cried on the phone with her dad for an hour “and he loved every minute of it.” 

“The control he had over someone as powerful as me — he loved the control to hurt his own daughter, 100,000%,” she said. “He loved it.”

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The #FreeBritney movement has gained popularity since 2009

free britney protesters

In 2009, following the enactment of Spears’ conservatorship, fans began expressing concern for her wellbeing under the guardianship.

A fan site started a campaign, known as #FreeBritney, and the movement steadily grew as Spears continued working in the spotlight without ever speaking openly to the public. 

When the New York Times and Hulu premiered a documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” in early 2019, charting the #FreeBritney campaign and investigating the conservatorship, even more public attention was brought to the concerns fans had about Spears’ wellbeing.

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How Spears’ parents, Jamie and Lynne, have been involved 

britney spears with her family

Jamie, Spears’ father, is the primary orchestrator behind her conservatorship and the current sole conservator of her financial estate. The 69-years-old is also a father to two other kids, Bryan and Jamie Lynn, in addition to Spears.

His ex-wife Lynne, who divorced Spears’ dad in 2002, alleged in her autobiography that Jamie has struggled with alcoholism since the late ’80s. Reports surfaced in 2010 that the two had reconciled without remarrying, but it’s unclear whether they’re currently still together.

On July 26, Britney Spears’ new lawyer Rosengart filed the first formal petition to have Jamie Spears removed from the conservatorship. Lynne supported the petition with her own sworn statement filed on the same day. 

In Lynne’s statement, filed to the Los Angeles court, she said she had become more formally involved with the conservatorship during a “time of crisis” in 2018.

According to that sworn statement from Lynne, Jamie has had “complete control” over Spears for the last 13 years. Lynne’s statement also confirmed reports from 2019 about a “physical altercation” that happened between Jamie and one of Spears’ teenaged sons.

On August 5, Rosengart made a second filing to the Los Angeles court. This time he requested that the judge “immediately remove” Jamie from the conservatorship.

Rosengart said waiting until the planned September 29 hearing would “force” Spears “to continue to feel traumatized, lose sleep, and suffer further.”

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Several major celebrities have been making statements in support of #FreeBritney

Lance Bass Britney Spears

Many notable people from Spears’ past, including her ’90s and ’00s pop peers, began making public statements about her situation this year.

After the New York Times/Hulu documentary premiered, Spears’ famous ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake made a public apology to both her and Janet Jackson. He decried the music industry, which he said “sets men, especially white men, up for success.” Timberlake also blamed his “ignorance” for allowing him to “benefit from others being pulled down.” 

Then, following her June testimony, even more celebrities expressed support for the dissolution of her conservatorship.

Fellow pop star Christina Aguilera said it was “unacceptable that any woman, or human, wanting to be in control of their own destiny might not be allowed to live life as they wish.” 

“I definitely believe in the #FreeBritney movement,” former *NSYNC bandmate Lance Bass said.

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