At a rare open court hearing in Los Angeles on the afternoon of June 23, Britney Spears spoke out for the first time in years to address serious concerns about her conservatorship — typically used for cases of severe disability or dementia — which began in 2008. Appearing remotely due to COVID-19 protocols, the pop icon laid out her intentions clearly to all those listening: "I’m not here to be anyone’s slave,” she told the judge, reporters, and #FreeBritney activists. “I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m okay and I'm happy. It's a lie. I thought that maybe if I said it enough, I would maybe become happy because I've been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized … I’m so angry it’s insane. And I'm depressed.”
"I just want my life back, it's been 13 years and it's enough […],” she asserted. “The main reason why I'm here is because I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated."
From there, Spears called out her father, Jamie Spears, and the rest of her family for their alleged ubiquitous and “abusive” treatment under the arrangement. Her emotional outpouring seemingly confirms speculation from members of the public that she has been in an unhappy conservatorship against her will.
"It's enough and it makes no sense at all ... I'm done," she said. "I want to sue my family to be totally honest with you. I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. There are thousands of abusive conservatorships.”
During the hearing Britney spoke so quickly, as if erupting after years of staying silent, that the court reporter asked her to slow down. Still, Britney forged on. She compared her father — who was previously the conservator of her estate and person but was recently reduced to co-conservator of her estate along with a financial trust in a February 2021 hearing— to a “sex trafficker.” “He loved the control he had over me,” she said, according to listeners, “one hundred thousand percent.”
She also claimed that she was forced to take lithium drugs, which impaired her ability to think clearly. “It’s a strong drug,” she said. “You can go mentally impaired if you stay on it longer than 5 months... I felt drunk, I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad about anything. They had me with six different nurses.”
"I want to be heard...I want changes going forward. I deserve changes,” she continued.
The singer remarked that she found it “demoralising” for people to question her mental state, especially given that she successfully went back to work and even, as she noted, taught her dancers their choreography herself. Under the conservatorship, the restrictions in her personal life have gone “too far.” “I am not able to see my friends that I made during three years of AA meetings,” she said. She also has aspirations to get married again (her boyfriend, Sam Asghari, supported her by wearing a #FreeBritney shirt for the hearing) and have another child, but was told she couldn’t get her IUD removed.
This long-awaited testimony comes after increased public interest in a re-examination of Britney’s case, thanks in part to the Hulu-Fx documentary Framing Britney Spears which chronicled her life, career, and the circumstances that led to what appears to be a 13-year prison sentence. It also put into question the intentions of her father, who Britney has asked several times to be removed from her conservatorship all together. While it was clear that the singer didn’t want her father involved in her care, whether she wanted the conservatorship to be eliminated was still relatively unknown. However, on June 22, The New York Times, citing confidential court documents, said that Britney had been quietly moving to end the conservatorship since at least 2014. And now, we’ve heard it in her own words.
“It is my wish and dream for all of this to end. I want my life back,” she said ahead of her father’s response. “Basically this conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good. I deserve to have a life. I’ve worked my whole life. [...] But I wish I could stay on the phone with you forever because when I get off the phone with you, all I hear is all these ‘Nos.’ No No. I feel ganged up on, and I feel bullied, and I feel left out and alone. I’m tired of feeling alone. I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does by having a child, a family — any of those things.”
After a short recess, Jamie took his turn to speak. “Mr. Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much,” was all his lawyer said.
This is a developing story.