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Monday, July 26, 2021

Britney Spears: I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive

Singer Britney Spears called for the conservatorship to end without her “having to be evaluated.”

By: New York Times |
Updated: June 25, 2021 8:50:44 am
britney spearsBritney Spears pleaded with the court to end her father’s legal control of her life. (Photo: Britney Spears/Instagram)

By Joe Coscarelli

Britney Spears told a Los Angeles judge that she has been drugged, compelled to work against her will and prevented from removing her birth control device over the past 13 years as she pleaded with the court to end her father’s legal control of her life.

“I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized,” Spears, 39, said in an emotional 23-minute address by phone that was broadcast in the courtroom and, as she insisted, to the public. “I just want my life back.”

It was the first time that the world had heard Spears address in detail her struggles with the conservatorship granted to her father, James P. Spears, in 2008, when concerns about her mental health and potential substance abuse led him to petition the court for legal authority over his adult daughter.

Spears called for the arrangement to end without her “having to be evaluated.”

“I shouldn’t be in a conservatorship if I can work. The laws need to change,” she added. “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I don’t feel like I can live a full life.”

The struggle between one of the world’s biggest pop stars and her father, known as Jamie, has become a long-running sage that has spawned a “Free Britney” movement around the world.

Confidential court records obtained recently by The New York Times revealed that Spears had raised issues with her father’s role in the conservatorship as early as 2014, and had repeatedly asked about terminating it altogether, though the singer’s court-appointed lawyer in the conservatorship, Samuel D. Ingham III, had not filed to do so.

The singer has lived under a two-pronged conservatorship in California — covering her person and her estate — since 2008, when concerns about her mental health and potential substance abuse led Jamie Spears to petition the court for authority over his daughter.

Jamie Spears, 68, oversees Britney Spears’ nearly $60 million fortune, alongside a professional wealth management firm she requested; a licensed professional conservator took over Spears’ personal care on an ongoing temporary basis in 2019.

For years, fans and observers had questioned how Spears has continued to qualify for a conservatorship, sometimes known as a guardianship, which is typically a last resort for people who cannot care for themselves.

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