In a highly anticipated court hearing, Britney Spears has made several claims about the controversial conservatorship that for years has largely seen information kept out of the public domain.
Spears‘ finances and personal affairs have been controlled by the legal agreement since 2008, when she suffered a series of mental breakdowns. Her father Jamie has overseen her life and finances for most of that period, but the 39-year-old been fighting for him to be removed in recent years.
While the star has spoken in court at least once before, the hearings have been held in private – until now.
In a speech lasting more than 20 minutes, given remotely by phone, she asked judge Brenda Penny to end the conservatorship, saying the arrangement is “doing me way more harm than good”.
Here are some of the details Spears revealed and claims she made to the court after 13 years of near silence on the controversial ruling.
Marriage and children
Spears, who is in a relationship with Iranian actor and model Sam Asghari, told the court she wants to be able to get married and have a baby, but that the conservatorship won’t allow it.
She claimed she has to use birth control to prevent her getting pregnant.
“All I want is to own my money and for this to end and for my boyfriend to be able to drive me in his (expletive) car,” Spears told the court.
On the morning of the hearing, Asghari, 27, posted a photograph of himself wearing a “Free Britney” top on Instagram.
Spears has two teenage sons, Sean, 15, and Jayden, 14, with her ex-husband Kevin Federline, who was granted custody in October 2007. It was shortly after this, in February 2008, that the conservatorship was granted.
Making the hearing public
Spears had requested to speak at the hearing. When an attorney representing a co-conservator said it should be kept sealed if private medical information was to be revealed – as several previous hearings have been – Spears shouted to say she wanted her words to be made public.
“They’ve done a good job at exploiting my life,” Spears said, “so I feel like it should be an open court hearing and they should listen and hear what I have to say.”
She told the court that remaining silent in public for years has falsely created the impression that she approved of her circumstances.
“I’ve lied and told the whole world, ‘I’m okay, I’m happy’,” she said. “I’ve been in denial, I’ve been in shock. I am traumatised.”
Does Britney need freeing? The conservatorship explained
Forced medication claim
At one point, Spears claimed she was forced to take lithium against her will after rehearsals broke down for her planned second Las Vegas residency in 2019, which was subsequently cancelled.
She told the court that all she had done was disagree with one part of the show’s choreography.
“I’m not here to be anyone’s slave,” she said. “I can say no to a dance move.”
Spears said she felt forced to do the Las Vegas residency and felt like a great weight had been lifted when it was cancelled. She has not performed or recorded since.
She also claimed several nurses often watch her every move, not even letting her change her clothes in private.
Framing Britney Spears: ‘There was so much glee in her suffering’
The star told the court she is always told “no” by her handlers, and that she feels “ganged up on” and “bullied”. She said: “I feel left out and alone. And I’m tired of feeling alone.”
The conservatorship is “abusive”, she claimed, and compared her treatment to that of those who have been sex-trafficked.
“This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good,” she said. “I deserve to have a life, I’ve worked my whole life. I deserve to have a two to three-year break.”
Spears criticised those who have controlled the conservatorship – including her father, Jamie.
How can someone who can work be incapable of making their own decisions?
Spears told the court that the law should be changed and she should not be under a conservatorship while she is able to work and provide for herself.
This is something the #FreeBritney movement has long been arguing.
While under the control of the conservatorship, Spears has released four albums and held a multimillion-dollar residency in Las Vegas.
What did Spears say about her father?
Before this hearing, Spears had previously said she did not contest the conservatorship but specifically her father’s control.
In her speech, she accused her father of relishing his power over her. She claimed he showed this when she failed a series of psychological tests in 2019 and he forced her to go into a mental hospital.
“I cried on the phone for an hour and he loved every minute of it,” the singer said. “The control he had over someone as powerful as me, as he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%.”
What happens now?
Following Spears’s testimony, the judge praised the star for speaking out and said: “I certainly am sensitive to everything you said and how you’re feeling and I know it took a lot of courage for you to say what you had to say.”
However, she said a decision on ending the conservatorship cannot be taken until a request is formally lodged with the court.
Samuel Ingham, the pop star’s court-appointed lawyer, said he will discuss with the singer the issues of formally filing for termination of the conservatorship and the introduction of a private counsel to represent her.
Now the star has made her feelings clear on the record she is in favour of keeping any future hearings private, he said.
Under California law, if the conservatorship is to be removed the burden is on Spears to prove she is capable of managing her own affairs.