For the past thirteen years, American singer and pop culture icon Britney Spears has been forced to live under an arrangement known as a conservatorship. According to The New Yorker, a conservatorship is “a legal structure in which a person’s personal, economic, and legal-decision making power is ceded to others.” It is “intended for people who cannot take care of themselves.”
Spears’ conservatorship was enacted nearly fifteen years ago due to personal struggles that affected her decision-making skills. However, since then, the singer has received the help she needed and experienced much personal growth as a result. For this reason, she and her fans have fought for her to be free from the conservatorship’s control in a movement dubbed “Free Britney.”
At the center of Spears’ battle for freedom is a struggle against her father, Jamie Spears. She and her legal team have been seeking his immediate removal as one of her conservators. Until recently, it appeared that he would retain control over his daughter’s life and affairs.
However, on June 23, the singer was finally granted time in court to share how truly controlling the conservatorship has been. This court appearance was significant as Spears’ team had previously not allowed her to discuss the conservatorship with anyone. She gave a heart-wrenching testimony about how her life has been controlled.
According to Spears, the limitations on her freedom include everything from only being allowed to post certain content on social media to a lack of autonomy to make decisions about her own body. For instance, she is unable to remove her IUD. According to NPR, Spears explained that, “I wanted to take the IUD out so I could start trying to have another baby. 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.”
In court, Spears was completely open and honest about her feelings towards those responsible for her limited freedom. According to NPR, when talking about her father, she reflected on “the control he had over someone as powerful as [her]” and asserted that “he loved the control to hurt his own daughter, 100,000%. He loved it.” This statement suggests that Spears’ father has encouraged the conservatorship to continue not out of concern for his daughter, but rather because he enjoys having complete control over her.
Spears also shared what touring has been like under her conservatorship. She discussed how in 2018, she was forced to go on tour and work incessantly under the threat of punishments such as “not being able to see her kids or boyfriend.”
The singer’s heart-breaking testimony makes evident that her conservatorship has resulted in a complete loss of freedom and control over her own life. While some fans have been hoping that members of her team would help her cause, many of them, especially her father, have financially benefited from her conservatorship: her money and success have provided them with housing and other forms of financial support.
Unfortunately for Spears, the court chose not to make a motion for considering even minor changes to the conservatorship. However, since her appearance in court, there has been a small victory in the fight for her freedom. According to NPR, “Jamie Spears has filed a document in Los Angeles Superior Court agreeing to step down as the conservator of his daughter’s estate.” Even though this is not a complete win for Spears, it marks a promising first step towards ultimately regaining her freedom.
Indeed, she has finally been able to speak her truth, and the public has finally been able to hear how controlling the conservatorship is. For Spears and the devoted members of the “Free Britney” movement, these small wins are promising signs of victories to come.