Britney Spears’s fight to end the conservatorship and her father’s role in it continues today in a court hearing in Los Angeles.
Britney Spears’s fans have long been concerned for Britney and worried that the 13-year long conservatorship has harmed her more than helped her, using the #FreeBritney hashtag on social media. Meanwhile, Jamie Spears has asserted that his daughter still needs his help and that she can move to end the conservatorship whenever she wants.
Jamie Spears was appointed conservator in 2008, after Britney suffered from severe mental health problems and substance abuse. At the time, Britney stated she didn’t want her father, a recovering alcoholic, in charge. However, the judge considered Britney not capable of hiring her own counsel, appointing Samuel D. Ingham III. The judge also decided that Jamie Spears was indeed “a suitable and qualified person” and named him conservator, giving him authority over Britney’s life, career, and finances.
As conservator, Jamie was paid a salary, a stipend for office space rent, and, beginning in 2011, a percentage of Britney’s profits as a commission.
Before 2008 was even over Britney was back at work, guest-starring in an episode of How I Met Your Mother and releasing her No. 1 album Circus, which was followed by a tour in 2009. So if Britney was capable of working, why didn’t she move to revoke the conservatorship?
Jamie Spears’s lawyer Vivian Lee Thoreen told People earlier this year that “Britney knows that her Daddy loves her, and that he will be there for her whenever and if she needs him, just as he always has been — conservatorship or not.”
Thoreen added, “Any time Britney wants to end her conservatorship, she can ask her lawyer to file a petition to terminate it; she has always had this right but in 13 years has never exercised it.”
Newly Revealed Court Records
However, the New York Times recently obtained confidential court records that show Britney has indeed urged for changes to or for the end of the conservatorship for years.
In a 2014 closed court hearing, Britney’s lawyer Samuel Ingham said that Britney “wanted to explore removing her father as conservator, citing his drinking, among other objections on a ‘shopping list’ of grievances.” He also raised her “urgent desire to terminate the conservatorship altogether.” Britney was considering retiring, but felt the conservatorship prevented that.
At that time, the judge said she might end the conservatorship after seeing a year of clean drug tests and therapy.
In 2016, a court probate investigator reported on his conversation with Britney while conducting a periodic review for the judge. “She articulated she feels the conservatorship has become an oppressive and controlling tool against her,” the investigator wrote. Britney said the system had “too much control. Too, too much!” and wanted the conservatorship to end. “She is ‘sick of being taken advantage of’ and she said she is the one working and earning her money but everyone around her is on her payroll,” the investigator wrote.
Britney complained her father was “obsessed” with her, and controlled things like who she could be friends with, her weekly allowance, and improvements to her home. Britney viewed the conservatorship “with a lot of fear.”
However, the conservatorship was maintained in 2016, though the report called for “a pathway to independence and the eventual termination of the conservatorship.”
At another closed hearing in 2019, Britney read a statement asserting she had been “forced into a mental health facility against her will on exaggerated grounds,” and claimed that her father had done this as punishment for her “standing up for herself and making an objection during a rehearsal.” Britney reviewed her career accomplishments, offering them as proof of her competence.
By the end of 2019, Jamie had temporarily stepped down as conservator of Britney’s person, citing health problems, but he remained in control of her money. He was joined by a wealth management firm as co-conservator of her estate. The judge refused to suspend Jamie permanently.
In 2020, Ingham told the court that Britney was “afraid of her father” and that she “is vehemently opposed to this effort by her father to keep her legal struggle hidden away in the closet as a family secret.”
Now, Britney is scheduled to address the judge directly in court today. The hearing is not public, so it’s speculated that she will address her father and her relationship with him. Her lawyer has not filed a petition to permanently remove Jamie from the conservatorship.