Freeing Britney Spears

Shepherdstown, W.Va., – Pop sensation Britney Spears has been under the control of an unwanted conservatorship for the past 13 years of her adult life. The conservatorship, controlled by her father for most of those years, reportedly still has full control over Spears’ financial and medical affairs.

photo screen grabbed from @britneyspears Instagram. 

 Now more than ever her conservatorship battle is receiving more attention. The New York Times debuted its latest episode titled Framing Britney Spears, on Friday, Feb. 5 at 10 p.m.

From Spears’ cryptic social media fans have cited intense suspicion over the conservatorship and have been fighting for it to end for years.

The start of the fall of Spears’ life before the conservatorship started in 2007 when she was spotted driving her car with her infant son in her lap, shaved her head and attacked a photographer’s car with an umbrella.

The following year Spears checked in twice to a psychiatric hospital and put under a hold for mental health evaluation. 

Following Spears’ breakdown, her father Jamie Spears petitioned the courts at the time for an emergency “temporary” conservatorship, according to the Los Angeles Times. The courts agreed and granted the conservatorship in August 2008.

Conservatorships are granted most commonly for elderly people who are not well enough and or are susceptible to fraud of their estate. The judge appoints a person or organization (known as the “conservator”) to care for another adult (known as the “conservatee”) who cannot care for themselves or manage their own finances, according to the state of California Courts website.

When the conservatorship was granted to Spears, it left her father the legal right to oversee her decisions about her estate and health, as well as negotiating business deals and visitation restrictions. 

In 2019 Spears’ sister, Jamie Spears was accused of physically abusing Britney’s 14-year-old son Sean, and soon stepped down as Britney’s primary conservator.

Spears’ longtime “care manager” Jodi Montgomery is appointed to temporarily take over Jamie’s duties as co-primary conservator.

Photo screen grabbed from @britneyspears Instagram

The Free Britney Movement was brought to life by two of her fans who decided to start a podcast dissecting her cryptic Instagram posts. Tess Barker and Barbara Gray started their podcast Britney’s Gram in 2017. Their podcast started attracting more and more listeners in the year 2020 says Baker.

 In Sep. 2020 Britney made a drastic move and turned to the courts to try and appoint someone new and independent instead of her father as co-conservator of her estate. Britney filed an objection arguing that the public be allowed to know what is happening to her and hinting at the support for the #FreeBritney movement.

“This was the confirmation they needed, the people know they are not just some conspiracy theorist’s, they are fighting to free this woman from her own father,” said Baker in her interview with the New York Times.

In November, Britney lost her hearing to remove her father from her conservatorship for now. As a result, Britney is refusing to perform and will continue her work hiatus if her father stays on as her conservator. “My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father. She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career,” Britney’s lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham, told the judge at the hearing.

Although the judge denied removing her father from her conservatorship, the judge did approve to add a co-conservator to her estate, the Bessemer Trust, which was what Britney’s team requested. Unfortunately soon after, in December, the court agreed with Jamie’s request to extend Britney’s conservatorship to September of this year.

On Feb. 9, Britney’s lawyers returned to court to ask a judge to end her conservatorship. This time the singer’s attorneys returned to court to ask a judge to remove Jamie Spears as his daughter’s conservator, according to the New York Times. On Feb. 11, Judge Penny maintained that, despite Jamie Spear’s earlier appointment as sole conservator of the estate, her subsequent appointment of Bessemer Trust granted powers to both entities, as she had previously ruled.

“This is not the end” Tess Barker and Barbara Gray report. Women’s Health writer Korin Miller writes that It is unclear when the next court hearing will be as of now, but given the recent national attention directed at this case, it seems like many more people will be invested in the ruling.

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