Britney Spears has addressed a Los Angeles court in an open hearing today, and has publicly called for an end to her “abusive” conservatorship that sparked the #FreeBritney movement.
- READ MORE: Why is #FreeBritney trending and what is conservatorship? Here’s everything you need to know
Spears delivered an emotional testimony on Wednesday (June 23) to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in which she expressed how she felt controlled by the conservatorship, which was managed for 11 years by her father, Jamie Spears. In 2019, he temporarily stepped away from the role of conservator due to health problems, and Jodi Montgomery was appointed in his place.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Spears requested the entire hearing be broadcast to the public as “they’ve done a pretty good job exploiting my life. So I feel like it should be an open court hearing, and they should listen to what I have to say.”
In the 24-minute statement delivered by phone call, Spears spoke about her life under conservatorship, which she called “abusive”.
“… I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m OK and I’m happy,” she said, per a full transcript published by Variety. “It’s a lie. I thought I just maybe if I said that enough. Because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatised. You know, fake it till you make it.
“But now I’m telling you the truth, OK? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Later on in the testimony, she said, “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive… I don’t feel like I can live a full life.” The “main reason” she was there, Spears said, was because “I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated”.
Spears opened her address by “recapping” the events that led to her entering rehab in 2019. It began with a tour in 2018 that Spears says she was “forced to do”.
During rehearsals for shows in Las Vegas, Spears said her managers falsely claimed she wasn’t “participating” in rehearsals and that she “never agreed” to take her medication. As a result, Spears said, her therapist took her off her normal medication and gave her lithium, which she said made her “feel drunk”.
When Britney’s father Jamie called her to tell her she had to go to a rehabilitation programme in a small home in Beverly Hills, “I cried on the phone for an hour and he loved every minute of it,” Spears told the court. “The control he had over someone as powerful as me — he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000 per cent.”
Spears said she was made to work “seven days a week, no days off”. She added, “In California, the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking.” While in this programme, Spears said she had “no privacy” and “never had a say in my schedule”, and had her possessions – credit card, cash, phone and passport – taken away from her.
In her address, Spears was critical of her “ignorant father”, Jamie Spears, and told the judge that he and “anyone involved in this conservatorship and my management who played a huge role in punishing me… should be in jail”.
Spears said that the conservatorship’s control has extended over her body, alleging that she is forbidden from having more children, getting married or taking out her IUD.
“I wanted to take the [IUD] out so I could start trying to have another baby,” she said. “But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children – any more children. So basically, this conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good.”
Spears said that she didn’t know she could contest the conservatorship: “I’m sorry for my ignorance, but I honestly didn’t know that. But honestly, but I don’t think I owe anyone to be evaluated. I’ve done more than enough.”
“I just want my life back. And it’s been 13 years. And it’s enough,” she later said. “All I want is to own my money, for this to end, and for my boyfriend to be able to fucking drive me in his car. And I would honestly like to sue my family.”
Spears also discussed her obligations under conservatorship, which she says include three meetings a week with a therapist and psychiatrist, saying she wanted it reduced to one meeting a week with a therapist. “I’m scared of people. I don’t trust people with what I’ve been through,” she said.
“It’s not okay to force me to do anything I don’t want to do. … I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I don’t feel like I can live a full life.”
After Britney was done speaking, the attorney of Lynne Spears, Britney’s mother, said she wanted the issues addressed immediately, while Jamie Spears’ attorney asked for a short break. When they returned, the attorney said Jamie Spears’ statement was that he’s “sorry to hear she’s suffering and in so much pain” and that he “misses his daughter very much.”
Judge Brenda Penny said that Britney Spears would still have to file formal paperwork with the court to end the conservatorship, or make other significant changes.
The hearing marks a significant development in Spears’ controversial conservatorship, which prompted the fan-created #FreeBritney movement and gained renewed attention upon the release of the February documentary Framing Britney Spears.
In September last year, it was reported that Spears supported the #FreeBritney movement, though she more recently condemned the documentaries about her life on social media.
The hearing also comes just a day after The New York Times obtained confidential court documents and published a story that revealed Spears had been looking into the notion of removing her father as conservator from as early as 2014.
Earlier this year, Jamie’s lawyer said in media interviews that Britney’s fans “have it wrong” about the conservatorship, and that “Jamie believes every single decision he has made has been in her best interest”.
Other relatives of Britney have also supported the conservatorship, with her brother previously saying that it “has been good for the family”.
Britney Spears has been in her conservatorship since 2008. As it stands right now, the conservatorship is co-managed by her father, with financial organisation The Bessemer Trust being appointed as co-conservator and corporate fiduciary in November last year.
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- ‘Am I depressed?‘ – Help and advice on mental health and what to do next
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- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably for young men
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