More than a decade ago, Britney Spears entered into a conservatorship with her father, Jamie Spears, after suffering a very public breakdown. Under the conservatorship, Jamie reportedly has full control over Britney’s financial and medical affairs.
A conservatorship is when a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the "conservator") to care for another adult (called the "conservatee") who cannot care for themselves or manage their own finances, according to the California Courts website.
In Britney's case, the terms of the conservatorship haven’t been made public, but financial documents obtained by Business Insider found that Britney spent $1.1 million on her legal and conservator fees in 2018. Her father took home $128,000 of that, according to the documents cited by ET.
That's one of the reasons fans of the pop star have cited suspicion over the conversatorship and have been calling for it to end for years. There’s currently a petition to the White House to help end the conservatorship and a #FreeBritney movement that is calling for legal intervention to help Britney regain control over her finances and life.
So…how exactly did Britney's conservatorship start, and where do things stand now? Here’s a look back:
2007 and 2008: Britney started acting erratically in public.
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. In 2008, Britney was put under a 5150 hold in a psychiatric hospital twice for a mental health evaluation. "She went willingly. It was like something in her heart was telling her she should go. She knew something was wrong," her former friend Sam Lutfi told People at the time.
2008: Britney was put under a conservatorship.
Jamie petitioned the courts at the time for an emergency "temporary" conservatorship, according to the Los Angeles Times. It was granted and, under the conservatorship, Jamie was given the legal right to oversee decisions about Britney's estate and health, including negotiating business deals and restricting who can see her.
2009: A fan site questioned Britney’s conservatorship.
It’s hard to say exactly when and where the #FreeBritney movement started, but FreeBritney.net started questioning in 2009 why Brtiney's conservatorship was necessary. Those q's have continued to this day.
"During the twelve years of Spears' conservatorship she has repeatedly toured the world, released multiple albums, and worked on a variety of television shows," the site points out. "Her conservators decide whether or not she works, as she cannot enter into contracts for herself because she is legally not her own person. Britney Spears needs permission from her conservators to leave her house or spend any of her own money."
2009 - 2019: The conservatorship kept getting extended.
The conservatorship had regular check-ins, according to Business Insider, and it kept getting extended year after year. In the meantime, Britney has rolled out several music albums and even did a Las Vegas residency.
The effect took its toll on the Spears' relationship. Jamie admitted in court in 2019 that "me and my daughter’s relationship has always been strained," per Us Weekly.
2019: Jamie requested to have the conservatorship extended to more states.
Jamie filed a notice of intent to extend Britney’s conservatorship outside of California to three other states: Louisiana, Hawaii, and Florida, according to ET. "Mr. Spears, in his capacity as Conservator of the Person and Estate, intends to register the Orders appointing Mr. Spears as a Conservator of the Person and Estate, as well as his Letters of Conservatorship, with states outside of California, in accordance with each of the states' required procedures, including without limitation at this time, the following: Florida, Louisiana and Hawaii," the court documents say, per ET.
Watch this to learn more about the legal battles surrounding Britney's conservatorship:
2019: Jamie stepped down as Britney’s primary conservator.
After being accused of physically abusing Britney’s 14-year-old son Sean, Jamie stepped down as Britney’s primary conservator, per People, with her longtime "care-manager" Jodi Montgomery temporarily taking over Jamie’s duties.
2019: Sources close to Britney insisted the conservatorship is good for her.
Britney’s lawyer, Stanton Stein, told the LA Times that Britney is "always involved in every career and business decision." Worth noting: Jamie Spears hired Stein, per the publication.
Her manager echoed that. "The conservatorship is not a jail," Larry Rudolph, Spears' manager, told Emily Yahr of The Washington Post. "It helps Britney make business decisions and manage her life in ways she can't do on her own right now."
April 2019: Britney completed a stay in a mental health facility.
Jamie became ill in January after suffering a health emergency, something that Britney struggled with, E! reported. Britney eventually did a month-long stay at a mental health facility.
"Everything is up in the air right now and it's going to take time," a source told E!. "Her health is going to come before anything else. Nobody is talking about touring or work. She's taking it easy and not thinking about her career. There's been no discussion about resuming her tour. She needs a break and time off. She's not in the mind frame to even think about performing."
As of now, Britney is on an "indefinite work hiatus," another source told E!.
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