The Free Britney Movement

Popstar Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, since 2008. For years, she kept details of her conservatorship private, but recently, Britney has been speaking out to remove Jamie from the conservatorship, saying, “I want my life back.”

A conservatorship is defined by Investopedia as “legal status to which a court appoints a person to manage an incapacitated or incompetent individual’s or minor’s financial affairs. Such a person may also serve as a guardian, who is responsible for establishing and monitoring the physical care of the individual, and managing their living arrangements.” Mr. Spears gained conservatorship of Britney in 2008 when she went through a mental breakdown; she reportedly shaved her head and used an umbrella to bash a photographer’s car. In Britney’s conservatorship, Mr. Spears is in control of Britney’s economic and personal affairs, and the newsource BBC says, “the conservatorship restricted aspects of her life, ranging from who she dated to the color of her kitchen cabinets.” 

Before Britney publicly spoke out about her conservatorship, many fans were concerned for her well-being. They even sent in petitions to the White House to end her conservatorship and used #freebritney. Some believed Britney was secretly telling fans she needed help through her social media posts; for example, comments told her to wear yellow apparel in her newest post to show if she needed help, and she did. However, she was still performing, making music, appearing on television, and never explicitly stated her desire to get rid of Mr. Spears’s control, until recently. 

In 2019, Mr. Spears gave Jodi Montgomery conservatorship over Britney due to health issues. Recently, Britney has said she doesn’t want Mr. Spears to return to full conservatorship, and she prefers Jodi Montgomery to stay in the position. She does not, however, want the conservatorship to end, as the newsource, Bazaar, states, “In another filing, Britney voiced through her lawyer that she eventually does want to have “power and authorization to pursue opportunities related to professional commitments and activities including but not limited to performing, recording, videos, tours, TV shows, and other similar activities as long as they are approved by the conservator of the person and the conservatee’s medical team.”

In Britney’s pursuit to remove Mr. Spears from her conservatorship, her mother, Lynne Spears, joined her conservatorship to help her. Britney’s brother, sister, and ex-husband have spoken publicly about the situation, supporting her. 

A court in Los Angeles denied her requests for Mr. Spears’ removal in the conservatorship. However, Britney’s attorney, Samuel Ingham, stated that “she will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career.” Though Britney explained that she was unable to have children, forced to take birth control and that she was experiencing an abusive conservatorship, Mr. Spears’s laywer denied this. He stated that Mr. Spears saved Britney’s life, fixing her economic situation from debt to a networth of 60 million dollars.

Later, Mr. Spears asked for Britney to pay for the expenses of his lawyers; the newsource Entertainment Tonight stated, “the total costs and fees incurred from Jamie’s attorneys (along with the attorneys retained by his attorneys) is nearly $2 million. The new document is a declaration in support of (a) petition for order allowing and approving payment of: 1.) the compensation to conservator(s) and attorneys for conservator and 2.) reimbursement of costs.” However, Lynne Spears, Britney’s mother, fought against this, and Britney continued her battle against Mr. Spears. 

On June 23, 2021, Britney virtually spoke publicly in court about the conservatorship and her request for Mr. Spears to be removed as the sole conservator. She said in court, “I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. My dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship and my management … they should be in jail.” However, the court still denied her request. 

After her hearing, a new bill was passed to help Britney and other victims of abusive conservatorships. CNN, a newsource, states, “The FREE Act would allow a person under legal guardianship or conservatorship the right to petition the court to have their court-appointed guardian replaced with a public guardian. The bill would also guarantee that individuals under guardianship are assigned an independent caseworker and require caseworkers and public guardians to disclose their finances to ensure there’s no conflict of interest. The legislation would also require states to provide “an up to date” database on how many people are under guardianships or conservatorships.” This important event eventually led to more good news. 

On August 12, 2021, Mr. Spears finally decided to step down from the conservatorship, but he wanted the transition to be smooth. The newsource, CBS, states, “Jamie’s attorneys also denied that he mistreated his daughter and insisted he is “the best choice” to oversee the conservatorship. They said he only agreed to step down because a “public feud” would not be in Britney’s best interests.” Britney’s conservatorship is finally no longer in the hands of her father, Mr. Spears, and her long-time requests will soon be rightfully resolved.