Updated: November 13th, 2021
Following months of international attention on the conservatorship that’s held Britney Spears controlled for the past 13 years, an L.A. judge has officially terminated her conservatorship on November 12th.
The exciting news comes just two months after the singer’s father Jamie Spears was removed as the co-conservator of her multi-million dollar estate.
A petition filed by Mathew Rosengart, Britney’s recently appointed legal representation, was granted by L.A. Judge, Brenda Penny in September— resulting in the immediate suspension and further removal of Jamie Spears as conservator of Britney’s estate and by proxy, her business affairs.
Despite Jamie Spears alleged argument during court proceedings earlier in the year that there were no “actual grounds” for his removal as co-conservator, Judge Penny has, as reported by Variety, appointed John Zabel (an accountant) to temporarily take over the role of conservator of Britney’s estate. The conservator of Britney’s person, Jodi Montgomery will remain in place.
Amid heightened scrutiny over her conservatorship following The New York Times Presents documentary Framing Britney Spears released earlier this year, the starlet appeared in court back in June to speak for herself for the first time. This was the court hearing that changed it all.
What is a conservatorship?
In California, a conservatorship is a court-ordered arrangement aiming to protect people who are physically or mentally unable to manage on their own. Typically used to protect the elderly or mentally ill, a judge appoints a guardian to manage the financial affairs and daily life of the “conservatee.”
After her infamous breakdown in 2008, Britney entered into a conservatorship over concerns with her mental health and substance abuse. Since then, her father, Jamie Spears and attorney Andrew M. Wallet served as co-conservators over her estate. However, after resigning from the position in 2019, Wallet was replaced by Bessemer Trust Co.
At 39-years-old, the singer was relatively young to live under a conservatorship.
The court hearting that changed it all
The singer addressed Judge Brenda Penny on Wednesday, June 23rd pleading for the nearly 13-year conservatorship to end.
“I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated,” she stated. “I want this therapist to come to my home… I’m not willing to go to Westlake and be embarrassed by all these paparazzi.”
Reading from a pre-written letter, Britney spoke for more than 20 minutes and attended the hearing remotely.
“A lot has happened since two years ago… the last time I was in court. I haven’t been back to court in a long time, because I don’t think I was heard on any level,” she began.
Calling the conservatorship “abusive,” Britney claimed that “my dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship…should be in jail.”
“The control he had…to hurt his own daughter… he loved it…I worked seven days a week … no days off, which in California, the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking” she went on to say.
Britney alleged that she was forced to perform and subjected to numerous psychiatric evaluations and medications against her will. The singer specifically mentioned that she was prescribed Lithium, a drug typically used to treat bipolar disorder and depression.
“It’s a strong drug. You can go mentally impaired if you stay on it longer than five 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,” she told the court.
Britney went on to explain how the conservatorship continues to affect her daily life. The singer wishes to get married and start a family with her current boyfriend, Sam Asghari, but claims under her conservatorship, she is forbidden.
“I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told I can’t get married. I have an IUD inside me but this so called team won’t let me go to the doctor to remove it because they don’t want me to have anymore children. This conservatorship is doing me way more harm then good.”
After Britney’s explosive testimony, her father’s attorney, Vivian Lee Thoreen, shared a statement on his behalf.
“Mr. Spears is sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain,” the statement read. “Mr. Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much.”
How have fans reacted?
Launching the #FreeBritney movement years prior, fans have long been concerned about the singer’s wellbeing under the conservatorship. Supporters have continuously urged Britney to speak out about her situation.
In court, Britney shared why she hadn’t come forward previously.
“I’ve lied and told the whole world ‘I’m okay. And I’m happy.’ It’s a lie. I thought I just maybe [have] said that enough. Because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized,” she said. “I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry. It’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Fans gathered outside the courthouse as a part of a #FreeBritney rally to express support for the singer.
And after hearing her testimony, fans and celebrities also took to Twitter, petitioning to end the conservatorship.
For the conservatorship to legally end, Britney must prove she is mentally sound and capable of making her own choices.
Six months after Britney’s first appeal in court, the #FreeBritney movement can rejoice.