The pop star personally addressed the court yesterday for the first time in two years.
When the New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears debuted earlier this year, outrage sparked as millions of Britney Spears fans learned the extent of control her father, Jamie Spears, has over the pop star’s life. Since 2008, under a legal and court-appointed conservatorship, he has controlled the strings of her life’s decisions — from how the fortune she built through a decadeslong career as America’s pop princess is spent, to what color she can paint her kitchen cabinets.
The veil of secrecy surrounding the conservatorship, and why it’s still in place over a decade later, has activists all across the world petitioning to #FreeBritney from under its restraint. The star has also made it clear that she doesn’t want her father to be the conservator.
“She’s taken a stance at this point that she’s not going to perform as long as her father is in control of her career and finances,” Lisa Bonner, an entertainment lawyer and the host of TheLegaliTea Podcast, which blends pop culture and law, explains to us. “A conservatorship is also not meant to be a permanent situation for someone who is not permanently incapacitated. The goal is always to get someone rehabilitated or mainstreamed back into society.”
In a bombshell moment for the case, the 39-year-old openly addressed the Los Angeles court yesterday, saying, “I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough. It’s been a long time since I’ve owned my money and it’s my wish and my dream for all of this to end.” She also gave shocking details on the limitations she’s been under — not being able to ride in her boyfriend’s car or visit with friends who live eight minutes away from her, being forced to take the powerful drug lithium against her will, or the ability to remove her IUD in order to have children.
How will Britney Spears’s statement impact the future of her conservatorship?
“Britney didn’t know she could end her conservatorship, which explains why we hadn’t heard from her and why she hadn’t made that move before. I think the powerful and impactful plea before the court, in her own words, even revealing some of the most embarrassing and personal statements about her life, is going to work favorably for her,” says Bonner.
“She made a very impactful testimony, akin to a plea for freedom, which humanized her. I think it will really make a difference because she spoke up on her own behalf, pleading with the court in her own words,” she adds.
What’s next for the case?
For now, Spears and her lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, are petitioning to replace her father’s grip with her current care manager, Jodi Montgomery. Montgomery has been the temporary conservator for Britney Spears since November 2019, when Jamie stepped aside to take care of personal health issues, however, Spears made it clear her ultimate goal is for conservatorship to end.
A follow-up hearing scheduled for July 14 will determine if Spears’s request to have Montgomery take over her father’s control is approved. Mina Sirkin, a Los Angeles-based attorney who specializes in planning, probate, and trust law in California, tells us, “In order for it to not be granted, somebody will have to show that it’s not in her best interest to have another successor conservator. But I don’t see any objections to it yet.”
According to Bonner, if her request is granted, Spears can petition to end the conservatorship entirely. “At that point, Jodi can petition the court and say, ‘I’ve been observing her and have been her conservator for the last two and a half years and she is able and possesses the mental capacity to take care of her affairs,’ and they can seek termination.”
The #FreeBritney movement isn’t giving up
#FreeBritney activists are supporting Britney’s plea for the conservatorship to end. Elizabeth Dinon is one of them. She flew from Philadelphia to LA to gather outside the courthouse where Britney’s statement was read. (This is the fourth #FreeBritney rally she’s attended in the last year.)
“Britney’s story hit me like a wrecking ball,” she says. “I absolutely want to see her conservatorship fully terminated. She has been silently fighting to end this since it started…It is absolutely incorrect and I fight for the woman, the mother, the entrepreneur, and my hero. Until I’m blue in the face, #FreeBritney!”