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In the last few years, you might have seen the hashtag #FreeBritney pop up on social media. If you were wondering exactly what was going on, here’s what’s up: Despite being one of the most famous celebrities in the world, Britney Spears has little control of her life. Due to a conservatorship placed on her in October 2008, her father James “Jamie” Spears oversees much of her day-to-day life—including her money, health, and daily routines.
Britney’s fans began petitioning the government and rallying their support for their favorite pop star after becoming concerned about the situation. Britney addressed a courtroom directly about her court-ordered conservatorship for the first time publicly on June 23, 2021, and said she’d like to petition to end it without clearing a health evaluation. In her statement, Britney explained, “I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m okay and I’m happy. If I said that enough, maybe I’d become happy…I’m in shock. I’m traumatized…I’m so angry it’s insane.”
She added, “I’m scared of people. I don’t trust people with what I’ve been through” when asked about seeing another psychiatric specialist. “It’s not okay to force me to do anything I don’t want to do… I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I don’t feel like I can live a full life.”
Britney also said, “I have an IUD in my body right now that won’t let me have a baby and my conservators won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out,” which is just so upsetting.
We’re still waiting to find out what the judge will decide re: Britney’s petition to end her conservatorship but continue below for more background on how this happened:
A (Super-Brief) History of Britney’s Conservatorship
Britney was placed under conservatorship alllll the way back in October 2008, after she was put on a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold at UCLA. At the time, the court placed her under the conservatorship of her dad and an attorney named Andrew Wallet. But get this: Just one month later, Britney was back at work. She guest-starred on How I Met Your Mother, opened the MTV Video Music Awards, filmed an entire documentary, and released a freakin’ album—all of which the #FreeBritney movement believes are indicators that she was being exploited.
Flash-forward to March 2019 and co-conservator Andrew Wallet resigned, saying, “Substantial detriment, irreparable harm, and immediate danger will result to the conservatee and her estate if the relief requested herein is not granted on an ex parte basis.” Meanwhile, in September of 2019, Jamie filed a request to temporarily relieve himself of his duties, and Britney’s care manager, Jodi Montgomery, took over as conservator. According to Page Six, Montgomery was slated to remain Britney’s conservator until August 2020.
Then on August 18 of 2020, Britney’s lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham III, stated that the singer was “strongly opposed to having [Jamie] return as the conservator of her person.” Instead, she wished for Montgomery “continue in that role as [she] has done for nearly a year” and that “Ms. Montgomery’s appointment as conservator of her person to be made permanent.” While Britney wanted Montgomery’s appointment to be permanent, she also wished to maintain her right “to seek termination of this conservatorship in the future.” In addition, according to court filings, Britney was “strongly opposed” to Jamie “continuing as sole conservator of her estate.”
Despite Britney’s requests, the temporary letters of conservatorship were extended through this past February 2021, and Samuel has until September 2021 to file a petition to put a stop to it.
So, What Does the Conservatorship MEAN, Exactly?
Per Newsweek, Britney has to ask her father “to sign off on every major decision she makes, from business to health to voting and marriage.” Meanwhile, a 2016 New York Times article wrote, “Her most mundane purchases, from a drink at Starbucks to a song on iTunes, are tracked in court documents as part of the plan to safeguard the great fortune she has earned but does not ultimately control.”
According to her brother, Bryan Spears, while he and some members of her family think the conservatorship has been “a great thing for our family,” Britney has wanted to get out of it for a while. Talking on the As NOT Seen on TV podcast, Bryan explained:
“She’s been in this thing for quite some time now. Obviously, there was a need for it in the beginning….She’s always wanted to get out of it. It’s very frustrating to have. Whether someone’s coming in peace to help or coming in with an attitude, having someone constantly tell you to do something has got to be frustrating. She’s wanted to get out of it for quite some time.”
Fans Have Been Reading Into Britney’s Insta Posts
Because Britney’s Instagram is presumably monitored, fans who believe she’s being held against her will consistently look for signs that she’s trying to ask for help—from alleged references to “control” to subtle messages through her clothing.
The movement has also gained traction thanks to support from popular Instagram accounts like Saint Hoax and Diet Prada:
Britney Has a Lot of Thoughts About the Framing Britney Spears Documentary
Britney is obviously aware that Framing Britney Spears came out in winter 2020, bringing with it a renewed interest in her legal matters. While she recently admitted to never actually watching the doc, she took to her Insta to give her fans an inside look at exactly how she feels about her personal life being on full display.
As she wrote on the bottom of an IGTV featuring her dancing to some Steven Tyler, the events following the success of the film rightfully “embarrassed” her, leading her to cry for two weeks over it. Despite all the media attention, she’s not letting things stop her from being her truest self: “ I do what I can in my own spirituality with myself to try and keep my own joy ... love ... and happiness ✨🙏🏼 ☀️ !!!!” she wrote. “Every day dancing brings me joy !!! I'm not here to be perfect ... perfect is boring ... I’m here to pass on kindness 💋💋💋 !!!!”
We’ll be updating this article with more developments on Britney’s legal case.
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