The pervasive Britney Spears rumor — that she's being held against her will at a mental health institution — and the related campaign to “save” her prompted the pop singer to reassure her fans that “all is well.”
As #freebritney mania spread from social media to the streets in West Hollywood, Spears surfaced on Instagram to “promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment.”
“My family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety lately, so I just needed time to deal,” she said in a video late Tuesday. “But don’t worry — I’ll be back very soon.”
How did it come to this?
Spears announced in January that she was stepping away from the stage, explaining on Instagram that she would not be performing her new show “Domination” in Las Vegas, citing her father’s health crisis. Jamie Spears had been experiencing some health problems since a life-threatening colon rupture late last year.
“A couple of months ago, my father was hospitalized and almost died,” Spears wrote Jan. 4. “We’re all so grateful that he came out of it alive, but he still has a long road ahead of him. I had to make the difficult decision to put my full focus and energy on my family at this time. I hope you all can understand.”
Then this month, the pop star posted a meme about self-care. It read: “Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind. Body. Spirit.”
“We all need to take time for a little ‘me time,’ ” she wrote.
People reported April 4 that an individual, who was not named, said Spears needed to “focus on herself” after caring for her father and had checked herself into a wellness center.
But less than two weeks later, some people were debating whether it was her decision.
On April 16, two Los Angeles-based comedians who have a podcast called “Britney’s Gram,” discussed the idea that Spears may have been forced into a mental health facility, according to Jezebel. In the teaser, the comedians called it a “special emergency episode,” saying “an anonymous tip from a credible source” confirmed some suspicions.
It included the hashtag #FreeBritney.
Since then, some supporters have been fighting for Spears’s so-called release, posting messages on social media and protesting on the streets.
Entertainment Tonight reported Monday that people were crowded outside West Hollywood City Hall, touting signs reading, “Free Britney,” “Britney’s MGMT is TOXIC” and “Truth Will Set Her FREE.”
Amid the commotion, Spears took to social media for the first time in 20 days to try to dispel the rumors.
“I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!!” she wrote Tuesday on Instagram. “There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said. I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me.
“Don’t believe everything you read and hear.”
Spears said that her situation is “unique,” but “I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment. You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want! Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful. Love you.”