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Britney Spears' father steps down as the star's conservator

A first step on Britney's long road to freedom

Britney Spears' father steps down as the star's conservator A first step on Britney's long road to freedom

Update 08/16/2021

The announcement made all the singer's fans exult: Britney Spears' father might soon let his daughter free. Surprisingly, after the court of L.A. had rejected the request of the pop star to be free from her father's conservatorship, which began in 2008 following her mental breakdown and continued until now, Jamie Spears has stated that he wants to step down from his role of legal guardian and administrator of his daughter's estate. In a series of documents filed by the man's lawyer and reported by The Guardian and Variety we read:

There are, in fact, no actual grounds for suspending or removing Mr. Spears as the Conservator of the Estate ... and it is highly debatable whether a change in conservator at this time would be in Ms. Spears' best interests. - Continuing to scroll through the words reveals the parent's reasons - Nevertheless, even as Mr. Spears is the unremitting target of unjustified attacks, he does not believe that a public battle with his daughter over his continuing service as her conservator would be in her best interests. So, even though he must contest this unjustified Petition for his removal, Mr. Spears intends to work with the Court and his daughter's new attorney to prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator.

It is clear from this last sentence that Britney's road to full freedom and total control over her life is still a long one. Although there will no longer be Jamie Spears to make every decision (ready to step back when the time is right), the artist's future will be in the hands of another and hopefully better conservator.

So, no, Britney has not regained control of her assets nor can she make the many small and big daily decisions that she has been precluded from making for the past 13 years, but she has scored a small victory nonetheless that brings her closer to the ultimate goal, as her attorney Mathew Rosengart also points out:

This is a major victory for Britney Spears and another step toward justice. - After asking Jamie Spears "to step aside immediately" he added - We look forward to continuing our vigorous investigation into the conduct of Mr Spears, and others, over the past 13 years, while he reaped millions of dollars from his daughter’s estate, and I look forward to taking Mr Spears’ sworn deposition in the near future.

In the meantime, while she waits to know how the case will evolve during the hearing set for next September, the Toxic star celebrates the small positive result by dancing wearing a lace catsuit.

Britney Spears breaks the silence and denounces her father's abuse

Many people were waiting for this moment and, finally, Britney Spears has broken the silence and talked about the conservatorship that since 2008 has prevented her from making any decision about her life independently. Following her first public mental breakdown, it is James "Jamie" Spears is the main person responsible not only for economic decisions, but also for all the daily activities of the star. For the first time, last Wednesday the singer, in web connection with the judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, confirmed the fears that fans and the #freeBritney movement have been denouncing for a long time. 

I’m OK and I’m happy. It’s a lie. I thought I just maybe if I said that enough maybe I might become happy, because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized. You know, fake it till you make it. But now I’m telling you the truth, OK? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.

Britney's words, entirely reported by Variety, are touching and become more and more shocking as the testimony goes on. The star recounts being forced to go on tour in 2018 and being forced to take lithium, while also undergoing medical tests and periods of rehabilitation against her will. Spears also has no control over her own body and is apparently even prevented from removing her intrauterine contraceptive device, as she confessed to Judge Brenda Penny:

I’m not able to get married or have a baby, I have a (IUD) inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant. 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 – any more children. - She added -I deserve to have a life. I’ve worked my whole life. And I’m tired of feeling alone. 

Britney hits hard on her father and compares her parent's abuse to sex trafficking:

Anything that happened to me had to be approved by my dad. - Spears said - He loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%.  I worked seven days a week, no days off, which in California, the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking. Making anyone work against their will, taking all their possessions away - credit card, cash, phone, passport - and placing them in a home where they work with the people who live with them. They all lived in the house with me, the nurses, the 24-7 security. There was one chef that came there and cooked for me daily during the weekdays. They watched me change every day - naked – morning, noon and night. I had no privacy.

Why didn't you speak up until now asking for an end to conservatorship? Britney said she didn't know the possibility of going directly to court existed, adding that her court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham III, had suggested she not divulge the details of the case. At the end of her 24-minute speech, the singer reiterated:

I’m done. All I want is to own my money, for this to end, and my boyfriend to drive me in his fucking car. And I would honestly like to sue my family, to be totally honest with you.

Now it's up to the judge to make a decision.

 

The origins of conservatorship

The feud between Britney Spears and her father James "Jamie" Spears, chronicled in the New York Times-produced documentary Framing Britney Spears, goes way back. Let's go back to 2007. It's impossible not to remember the paparazzi photos showing the singer out of control, with her hair shaved. Those shots were just the top of a deep personal crisis that led Britney to hospitalization and TSO, but, above all, to the loss of her independence.

 Since 2008, in fact, James has become both her guardian and the administrator of all her daughter's assets. Thanks to this conservatorship, i.e. the American legal instrument that provides for the appointment of "a guardian to manage the finances and the most important decisions of a person who is judged not able to take care of himself/herself, for both physical and mental reasons", the man controls every aspect of Spears' life. According to what was explained in a post by Diet Prada, without her father's permission Britney, who is considered unable to make decisions on her own, spend her own money, cannot see her children, give interviews, get married, vote, but not even do more mundane things like driving, using a cell phone or social media independently.

The conservatorship was established to prevent the artist from making bad financial and business decisions, but also to protect her from people "with selfish interests who want to hurt her," although many believe that the most damaging presence for her is James himself, who is more interested in financial assets than in his daughter's well-being. Notably, it sounded strange that despite the star is thought to not be able to take care of herself, she has managed in recent years to continue her career with world tours, records, a role as a judge at X Factor USA, residencies in Las Vegas. There are also those who read the videos posted by Britney on Instagram in which she dances with a glazed look, locked up in her house, as calls for help, to be freed from the paternal oppression. A message heard by many fans of the singer and turned into the #FreeBritney movement. Even if Larry Rudolph, Spears' current manager, continues to minimize James' tutelage, defining it only as a way "to help Britney make business decisions and manage her life in ways she can't do on her own right now", her fans and many celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Chiara Ferragni last summer protested and launched social calls against the conservatorship.

After years of alleged (?) abuse, in November 2020 Britney asked the court to remove her father's conservatorship and announced that she would no longer perform as long as he has control over her career. Unfortunately for the pop icon, her requests were denied and a judge in Los Angeles has extended Britney's guardianship until February 2021. New June 2021 testimony could turn the tide.

We all hope for Britney to get back her independence, but more importantly, we hope she can find balance, strength and peace of mind. As we wait to know if the court will eventually give her back the power to decide on her life, let's look back at some of the star's best looks.