“I’ve told the world I’m happy and okay,” she said, but went on to describe prescription drug therapy that had left her feeling drunk, as well as mandatory twice- and thrice-weekly therapy sessions held in places where the public could see her arriving and leaving, as opposed to in her home, as Spears had requested. Spears said she was told that if she didn’t attend she wouldn’t be allowed to go on vacation in Maui, and according to the singer, paparazzi captured photos of her crying as she left the office after sessions. “It’s embarrassing, and it’s demoralizing,” she said. “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive.”
“I shouldn’t be in a conservatorship if I can work,” she said.
Spears added that she didn’t know initially that she could petition to terminate her conservatorship at all, and that she had hesitated to come forward once she did. She wasn’t sure if she would be believed, she said, and expected the public to respond by making jokes about her.
Spears also disclosed that she wants another baby but has been forced to keep an IUD in place.
For now, the 39-year-old pop singer’s bank accounts are still controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, 68, and the bank Bessemer Trust. Her day-to-day activities, meanwhile, are under the control of professional fiduciary Jodi Montgomery, who was appointed her conservator when her dad temporarily stepped down as such in 2019 due to health concerns.
In April, Spears’s lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham, asked permission for the singer to address the court directly, a request granted by Judge Brenda Penny of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County.
A conservatorship is a legal arrangement that places a vulnerable individual under another person’s authority to prevent them from being taken advantage of. But fans have argued that Spears is an apparently capable adult who has worked successfully as a musician during her conservatorship, an indication that it should end.
Spears has been under this arrangement since early 2008, when — in the wake of a highly publicized stretch of erratic behavior and two involuntary psychiatric holds — her then-estranged father was named co-conservator, alongside a lawyer. The arrangement was understood to be temporary at the outset, but soon became permanent.
While Spears initially made a few comments indicating her dissatisfaction, such as in the 2008 documentary “Britney: For the Record,” she and those close to her went silent not long afterward, and have remained mum about it — mostly — for the past 13 years. The occasional comment still escapes now and again: A year ago, Spears’s brother, Bryan, disclosed on a podcast that his sister had “wanted to get out of it for quite some time.”
And in February, a New York Times documentary brought Spears back into the spotlight, igniting a reexamination of the harsh early-2000s media climate in which Spears came of age and boosting awareness of Spears’s current predicament.
Details about Spears’s life under conservatorship have since broken through to the public, despite Spears’s and her family’s reticence. In February, Spears’s boyfriend, personal trainer Sam Asghari, had harsh words for Jamie on Instagram and later told “TMZ” that he hoped he and Jamie could be on good terms again once the latter “starts treating his daughter right.”
Some took Asghari’s comment as an indication that Spears wanted her father removed from his role in her conservatorship permanently, and details that emerged this week seem to confirm as much: Newly obtained court records, according to the New York Times, show that Spears wanted to discuss the possibility of her father’s removal as her conservator as far back as 2014, and in 2016, she expressed to a court investigator that the conservatorship itself had become “an oppressive and controlling tool against her” and that the money she was earning as a musician was paying her conservators for supervision she didn’t want.
In March, Spears’s lawyer requested that Montgomery permanently assume the role of her conservator. On Wednesday, however, Spears said that even Montgomery had begun to go too far. As for her conservators, Spears said, “They need to be reminded they actually work for me.”
After Spears was finished speaking, a lawyer for Montgomery spoke. “We certainly do have a different perspective on many of the issues and facts raised by Miss Spears,” she said. “But I don’t think today is the appropriate forum to air those out.”
This story has been updated.