Freedom at last: Britney Spears’ conservatorship finally ended after 13 years
Britney Spears has described the termination of a legal arrangement that controlled many aspects of her life for 13 years as "the best day ever".
On Friday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny ruled in favour of the singer’s request to end it, which was not opposed by any of the parties involved.
“The court finds and determines that the conservatorship of the person and the Estate of Britney Jean Spears is no longer required,” Judge Brenda Penny ruled. The November 12th hearing was brief and ran smoothly as all parties consented to the termination. The pop star was not present at the hearing.
The singer’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart, began speaking to the judge by reading from his client’s testimony that she delivered back in June, stating that her wish is for the conservatorship to end without evaluation. “The record is clear,” said Rosengart. “The time has come today.”
Good God I love my fans so much it’s crazy ??? !!! I think I’m gonna cry the rest of the day !!!! Best day ever … praise the Lord … can I get an Amen ?????? ???? #FreedBritney
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) November 12, 2021
Addressing the crowd outside the court, Spears’ lawyer Mathew Rosengart praised the singer’s “courage” throughout the court hearings.
He said he was proud that she had “shined a light on conservatorships from California to New York”, and that as a result of her testimony, new legislation had been passed “to try to ensure that conservatorships like this… do not happen again”.
The conservatorship is fully terminated, but accountant John Zabel, who replaced Spears’ father Jamie following his suspension, will have “limited and administrative power” as part of the termination plan.
Friends of the star have said how delighted they are for the singer. Recently wed Paris Hilton wrote on Twitter the “moment is so long overdue”, adding: “Your best days are yet to come!”
Spears also wrote on Instagram earlier this week that she hadn’t “prayed for something more in my life”.
“I know I’ve said some things on my Insta out of anger and I’m sorry but I’m only human… and I believe you’d feel the same way if you were me!”
A pivotal day
Friday’s court date marked the most pivotal hearing for the star, who has been living under a court-ordered conservatorship that her father Jamie Spears placed her under in 2008. Lest we forget some of the harrowing moments the singer has had to endure for over a decade.
A report by The New Yorker goes into details that are new to the public, graphicly detailing the level of control those around the singer had after Spears publically testified that those in her conservatorship should be “in jail” for the apparent abuse they subjected her to.
It also highlights alleged mistreatment of Spears by her father and conservator Jamie Spears, who has helmed the conservatorship and controlled his daughter’s finances since 2008.
James Spears’ filing also says that court-appointed professional Jodi Montgomery, who oversees Britney Spears’ life decisions while her father handles her money, called him and sought his help with his daughter’s mental health struggles. She has said he “misrepresented and manipulated” the call to use it to his own advantage as he discussed the possibility of hospitalising his daughter on an emergency psychiatric hold. Spears has argued her father should be charged with “conservatorship abuse”.
Britney made a number of devastating claims, including that she was forced to take lithium after publicly announcing she was taking a break from live performing, and being under watch even while she gets changed. Britney isn’t just under “control” by a conservatorship — she is apparently forbidden from doing anything of her choosing in life, getting married, driving in a car with her boyfriend, everything from the life-altering to the completely mundane such as painting her kitchen cabinets.
Perhaps most heartbreaking is her claim that the team managing her decades-long financial and personal conservatorship used an IUD to prevent her from having more children.
“I have an IUD in my body right now that won’t let me have a baby and my conservators won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out,” she told the court. “I feel ganged up on. I feel bullied and I feel left out and alone.”
According to the New Yorker report, Spears called 911 the night before her court testimony last month, “to report herself as a victim of conservatorship abuse.” In her statement the next day, Spears publicly spoke about the conservatorship for the first time, telling the judge, “My dad, and anyone involved in this conservatorship, and my management, who played a huge role in punishing me when I said no — they should all be in jail.”
We may have only heard from Spears publically for the first time recently, but the piece says from the beginning she did not want her father to be in control of her estate.
“From the earliest days of the conservatorship, Spears appeared to chafe against her constraints,” states the article which details a February 2008 court hearing “that Spears had a ‘strong desire’ that Jamie not be a conservator.” According to Jacqueline Butcher, a former friend of the Spears family who was interviewed for the article, the conservatorship was granted without Spears’ consent, and “without ever talking to her.”
“The whole process was maybe ten minutes,” Butcher said.
“No one testified. No questions were asked.”
Butcher also said he recalled witnessing Jamie mistreating his daughter shortly after the arrangement began: “He would get all in her face — spittle was flying — telling her she was a whore and a terrible mother.”
He allegedly limited Spears’ contact with anyone she was close to, and would “do terrible things, like withhold access to her kids,” Butcher added.
Jamie maintains everything he did prior to stepping down was for Spears’ own welfare (which according to Spears is totally untrue), and repeatedly said his behavior was that of a loving father saving his daughter from possible ruin.”
The report also states that Spears’ mother Lynne – who divorced from Jamie in 2002 –was not made a co-conservator because she thought the conservatorship would only last for a few months, and that Jamie quickly took control of it regardless.
Spears is a woman who has been living a hellish existence for over a decade. Throughout the New Yorker piece, it’s clear that all she wanted was some normality.
Her breakup with Justin Timberlake rocked her, the paparazzi increased and Spears found herself unable to cope with the pressure. But she had no support. Something as serious as a conservatorship – which is near impossible to end once it has been enforced – was initially put in place to help Spears. But even when she was stable, she had no say.
Over a decade of fighting for freedom, and her day of victory has finally arrived. Here’s hoping she can live life on her terms, with support and help of her choosing – as it should have been from the very start.