Pop star Britney Spears urges judge to end guardianship that gave her father control of her life

  • The ‘Baby, One More Time’, ‘Toxic’, and ‘Womaniser’ singer called the situation abusive and said she has no say in her life
  • Fans launched a social media campaign called #FreeBritneySpears and a documentary about her story recently went viral
Agence France-Presse |

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Britney Spears poses with her long time boyfriend Sam Asghari. She recently spoke out about the guardianship that's been controlling her life and finances for 13 years.

Britney Spears urged a judge in an emotional hearing Wednesday to end an “abusive” guardianship that gave her father control of her life and finances in 2008.

“I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough,” Spears said in the 20-minute address via videolink as fans chanted their support outside the courtroom.

The 39-year-old star’s finances and personal life have been largely managed by her father Jamie Spears since her highly public breakdown more than a decade ago, leading some fans to launch a #FreeBritney online campaign in recent years.

Fans and supporters hold signs as they gather outside the County Courthouse in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, during a scheduled hearing in Britney Spears' conservatorship case. Photo: AFP

In a speech where Spears barely stopped to catch her breath, the star said that, under the legal arrangement, she had even been prevented from having more children.

The mother of two said it had left her “traumatised” and “depressed.”

“I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry. It’s insane,” she said, adding that she cries every day.

“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I want changes, I deserve changes,” Spears pleaded to Judge Brenda Penny.

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The singer has rarely spoken directly about the guardianship but her lawyer Samuel Ingham said in April that Spears wanted to directly address the court, resulting in Wednesday’s hearing.

Spears has long had a difficult relationship with her father.

Last year, she filed to remove him from the conservatorship and give sole power over her estate to a financial institution. Her court-appointed lawyer said she was “afraid” of her father.

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Devoted Spears fans have long tracked her social media accounts for hints about her well-being, and any sign that she may be eager to throw off the guardianship.

Confidential records published Tuesday by the New York Times said Spears told a court investigator that the conservatorship had “become an oppressive and controlling tool against her” as far back as 2016.

Spears reportedly said the guardianship system had “too much control ... Too, too much!” and that she was prevented from making her own decisions on friendships, dating, spending and even the colour of her kitchen cabinets.

Hundreds of demonstrators rally during a #FREEBRITNEY protest in front of the court house where Britney Spears spoke in her conservatorship hearing in Los Angeles. Photo: EPA

According to the Times report, Spears told the investigator that she wanted the conservatorship terminated as soon as possible, and that she was “sick of being taken advantage of.”

Spears is currently responsible for footing the legal bills for both sides -- including the fees charged by the attorneys opposing her in the case.

Framing Britney Spears

The controversy surrounding Spears’ legal case exploded following the February release of the documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” which chronicled her initial mental health struggle and her father’s appointment as her guardian.

Spears said she was “embarrassed” by her portrayal in the documentary, in which fans say she is essentially being held prisoner and claim she has been sending coded pleas for help.

Following her 2006 divorce from Kevin Federline, and the loss of custody of her children the following year, Spears was snapped by paparazzi, barefoot and shaven-headed, at a gas station.

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Under her father’s guardianship, Spears swiftly returned to performing. She released three albums, appeared on various television shows and even had a regular show in Las Vegas.

But in January 2019, she abruptly announced she was suspending her performances until further notice.

She said her father and associates regularly threaten her.

Spears said she wasn’t even allowed to marry her boyfriend of five years, Sam Asghari, or have another baby. Photo: TNS

“If I don’t do this, what they tell me to do, enslave me to do, they’re gonna punish me,” she said.

Spears said doctors forcefully put her on medication that made her feel “drunk” and that she was not even allowed to get changed in privacy or drive her own car.

Jamie Spears’ lawyers say he has done an excellent job of managing his daughter’s finances.

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But a judge ruled in February that both Spears’ father and wealth manager Bessemer Trust would oversee the pop star’s finances, denying Jamie Spears’ bid to keep sole power.

In a statement read in court, a lawyer for Jamie said he was “sorry to hear her in so much pain” and that he loved his daughter “very much.”

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