Fans of Britney Spears have likely heard about the #FreeBritney movement even before The New York Times released a documentary titled Framing Britney Spears, highlighting her conservatorship drama that has gone on for more than a decade. The singer (a.k.a. the Princess of Pop) has been under a controversial conservatorship overseen by her father, Jamie Spears, since February 2008.
Britney’s conservatorship battle had a huge shakeup on July 14, 2021, when Judge Brenda Penny approved Mathew Rosengart as Britney’s new attorney. The singer had selected the high-powered Hollywood litigator to represent her after 13 years under a court-appointed attorney Samuel Ingham. The judge approved the resignation of Ingham and fiduciary Bessemer Trust.
Rosengart said he plans to file a petition for Britney “as quickly as possible” to terminate Jamie’s role as conservator of Britney’s estate. “There is a question why Mr. Spears doesn’t voluntarily step down today,” Rosengart said. “Is it for financial reasons? Does anybody think that his involvement is still in the best interest of Britney Spears?”
The singer then tearfully explained to the judge that not only does she want Jamie fired as her conservator, but also wants him prosecuted. “My dad has to be removed today … and I want help to get me … back into the real world. … I’m here to get rid of my dad and charge him for conservatorship abuse!” she explained. Britney added that her breakdowns were used to “make her seem crazy, and to control her every movement, not even allowing her eat hamburgers.
Jamie’s lawyer did not immediately respond to In Touch‘s request for comment regarding the July 14 hearing.
People were up in arms in February 2021, after seeing the shocking new documentary, which further explored Jamie’s control over her finances and other aspects of her personal life. Britney’s former assistant Felicia Culotta and lawyers involved in her conservatorship made appearances in the film defending the performer’s need for independence.
The “… Baby One More Time” singer, 39, has made an effort to replace her father with a third party in recent years — but to no avail. “Jamie wants to remain as her conservator because he has served in the role for the last 13 years,” a source told Us Weekly following the premiere on February 5. “He doesn’t need the money and could be exploiting her for millions of dollars, but he has never done that.”
Viewers had been tuning into the documentary available on FX as well as Hulu and taking to social media to express their opinions on her conservatorship turmoil. Many were shocked to get a more detailed look at her legal arrangement following her public breakdown and divorce from husband Kevin Federline.
Although Jamie, 68, started out as a co-conservator, he was later given sole control in March 2019. Britney’s dad temporarily relinquished his role in September of that year after an alleged dispute with her son Sean Preston, 15. During that time, Jodi Montgomery was named temporary conservator. Jamie was ultimately cleared of wrongdoing in the incident with his grandson, and he is now a co-conservator of her estate with financial company Bessemer Trust.
In December 2020, Jamie gave a rare update on where their relationship stands and revealed he had not been in contact with Britney since August. “I love my daughter, and I miss her very much,” Jamie told CNN.
“When a family member needs special care and protection, families need to step up, as I have done for the last 12-plus years, to safeguard, protect and continue to love Britney unconditionally,” Jamie added at the time. “I have and will continue to provide unwavering love and fierce protection against those with self-serving interests and those who seek to harm her or my family.”
In March 2021, Jamie filed documents asking the court not only to sign off on a $16,000 a month salary for himself as co-conservator, but also to have Britney’s estate pay $3 million in legal fees. In addition, he requested $2,000 a month for maintaining his office.
In response, Britney’s mother, Lynne, argued in her own court filing submitted in April that of the $3 million in legal fees requested by Jamie’s legal team, $890,000 of which were “procedurally and substantively improper” because the services performed by the Holland & Knight firm were not “performed in good faith for the benefit” of Britney. Jamie then responded, claiming that Lynne had “no knowledge” of what’s best for their daughter and alleging that Lynne “exploited her daughter’s pain and trauma for personal profit.”
That same month, Britney’s lawyer revealed that the pop star wished to address her conservatorship with the court. In June, In Touch confirmed that Britney would address the court remotely via Zoom later that month.
Britney got her wish on Wednesday, June 23, when she was able to read a jaw-dropping statement in open court regarding her conservatorship. In it, the singer revealed she was forced to go on tour in 2018, and was using an IUD birth control device that her conservators would not allow a doctor to remove. “It’s my wish and my dream for this to end,” she told the court about her conservatorship.
“A lot has happened since two years ago, the last time I was in court. I don’t think I was heard on any level when I came to court last time,” Britney told Judge Brenda Penny. She then explained how in 2018, not only was she made to go on tour, her conservatorship forced her to change medications. “Not only did my family not do a goddamn thing, my dad was all for it,” Britney explained.
She then heartbreakingly revealed, “I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m okay and I”m happy. If I said that enough, maybe I’d become happy … I’m in shock. I’m traumatized … I’m so angry it’s insane.”
When it came to the topic of seeing another psychiatric specialist, Britney shared, “I’m scared of people. I don’t trust people with what I’ve been through.” She told the court, “It’s not okay to force me to do anything I want to do … I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I don’t feel like I can live a full life.”
“I’m so angry I can’t sleep, and I am depressed,” she continued. “I want to be heard … I want changes and I want changes going forward. I deserve changes. I just want my life back, it’s been 13 years and it’s enough,” Britney pleaded. She then added, “It’s enough and it makes no sense at all … I’m done,” before concluding, “I want to sue my family to be totally honest with you.”
After a brief break during the hearing, Vivian Thoreen, Jamie’s attorney, read a brief statement for Jamie: “He’s sorry to see his daughter suffering in so much pain.”
Lynne’s attorney, Gladstone Jones, said Lynne is a “very concerned mother” after hearing Britney speak. He implored the judge to heed Britney’s request for her to be able to hire her own private attorney and to change her current care plan that has been in place under the supervision of Jodi Montgomery.
This is an ongoing article that was originally published on February 9, 2021, and last updated on July 19, 2021.
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