On Wednesday, Britney Spears spoke for the first time in open court about her case. Spears delivered an address which lasted for more than 20 minutes. She told the court she wanted to conservatorship to end and described the arrangement as “embarrassing and humiliating”.
So how did Britney Spears go from being a superstar to landing herself in conservatorship? For those who might not know, conservatorship is the appointment of a guardian or a protector by a judge to manage the financial affairs and/or daily affairs due to old age or physical and mental limitations. The conservator takes charge more than just overseeing the finance of the conservatee, but also the daily activities such as health care or living arrangement.
The following is the timeline of how her life.
1992 – Cast in TV show The Mickey Mouse Club with Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling.
1997 – Signs record contract at age 15.
1998 – Releaased debut single … Baby One More Time.
2000 – Second studio album Oops!…I Did It Again.
2001 – Performs as a guest at Super Bowl halftime show and releases third album.
2002 – Spears stars in her first movie, Crossroads.
2003 – Caused a stir when she kissed Madonna on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards. Releases her 4th studio album.
2004 – Marries childhood friend where the marriage was annulled three days later. Nine months later, she marries dancer Kevin Federline.
2005 – Son Sean Preston is born. Spears wins her first and only Grammy award for Toxic.
2006 – Second son Jayden James is born. Two months later Spears files for divorce.
2007 – Spears enters and drops out of rehab twice, shaves her head and then goes back into rehab. Spears loses custody of her two sons, and releases fifth studio album. She performs Gimme More at the MTV Video Music Awards but appears dazed.
2008 – Spears is twice hospitalised under psychiatric hold and is placed under a court-ordered conservatorship in which her father Jamie Spears and an attorney take control of her personal and business affairs. The nature of her mental illness is not disclosed. In December, her comeback album Circus is released and in 2009 she embarks on a world tour to promote it.
2011 – She releases her 7th studio album.
2012 – Spears joins The X Factor TV talent show as a judge.
2013 – Spears releases her 8th studio album.
2016-2018 – She releases 9th studio album and goes on the Piece Of Me world tour. Spears performs for the last time in public in October 2018 at the Formula One Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
2019 – Spears announced “indefinite work hiatus”. She enters a mental health facility saying she is taking “a little me time”. The #FreeBritney movement is started by fans who believe Spears is being held against her will under the conservatorship. She appears before the Los Angeles judge handling the conservatorship but her testimony is sealed. The judge orders an independent evaluation of the conservatorship.
August 2020 – An attorney representing Spears asks for the singer’s father to be replaced as her conservator. Jamie Spears calls the #FreeBritney movement “a joke”.
February 2021 – The documentary Framing Britney Spears is aired, bringing wider attention to her career and the conservatorship. Spears says that she has not seen the entire documentary but was “embarrassed by the light they put me in”. An attorney for Jamie Spears notes that the singer has never asked for the conservatorship to be terminated.
April 2021 – Through her attorney, Spears asks to personally address the court handling her conservatorship but no reasons are given.
June 23, 2021 – She tells a judge in Los Angeles that she “just want her life back”. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny thanked Spears for her “courageous” words during the proceedings.
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER THINGS THAT SPEARS ADDRESS IN COURT?
She has no power over her reproductive health
Spears has two teenage sons from her previous marriage, but she was prevented from having more children. “I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told right now in the conservatorship I am not able to get married and have a baby.”
The star is currently in a relationship with personal trainer Sam Asghari. She told the court they could not start a family because the conservatorship, which control her medical care, refused to allow her to remove her birth control.
“I have an [IUD] inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant … but this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children.
“So basically, this conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good.”
Forced to perform against her will
Spears claimed that her management had threatened to sue her in 2018 if she did not complete the 31-date Piece Of Me tour.
“My management said if I don’t do this tour, I will have to find an attorney, and by contract my own management could sue me if I didn’t follow through with the tour,” she told the court.
“It was very threatening and scary. And with the conservatorship, I couldn’t even get my own attorney. So out of fear, I went ahead and I did the tour.”
Forced to take medication she did not want
Spears revealed that she had no control over her healthcare, alleging that doctors put her on Lithium – a mood stabilising drug – in late 2018.
“Lithium is a very, very strong and completely different medication compared to what I was used to,” she told the court. “You can go mentally impaired if you take too much, if you stay on it longer than five months.”
At the initial stage of the medication, Spears said she “felt drunk” and “couldn’t even have a conservation with my mom or dad, really, about anything.”
She is exploited for money
On several occasions, Britney drew attention to the fact she was making money for other people, while being refused access to her own fortune – estimated to be about $60m (£43m).
Court documents revealed by the New York Times earlier this week showed the star was given an allowance of $2,000 (£1,432) per week; while her father’s salary as conservator was about $16,000 (£11,459) per month, plus money for office space rental and a percentage of various deals signed for his daughter.
“I shouldn’t be in a conservatorship if I can work and provide money [for] other people,” Britney told the court.
Noting that she had “worked since I was 17 years old”, the star added: “It makes no sense whatsoever for the state of California to sit back and literally watch me with their own two eyes, make a living for so many people, and pay so many people, [taking] trucks and buses on the road with me and be told, I’m not good enough.
“But I’m great at what I do. And I allow these people to control what I do, ma’am. And it’s enough. It makes no sense at all.”
Her father does not have her best interest at heart
Spears stated that had forced her to go to rehab at a cost of $60,000 and did not care about the distress it caused her.
“The control he had over someone as powerful as me – he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%. He loved it,” she said.
“I cried on the phone for an hour and he loved every minute of it.”
She told the court that he threatened to “punish” her if she did not follow her orders.
Exposing her to paparazzi
Spears acting conservator, Jodi Montgomery, has put her in therapy twice a week, in location where photographers can follow her, she told the court.
“Yesterday, paparazzi showed me coming out of the place literally crying,” she said. “It’s embarrassing, and it’s demoralising.
“I deserve privacy,” she continued, saying she would prefer to continue therapy at home.
She was silenced and wants her story made public
At the start of the hearing, a lawyer for the conservatorship raised concerns about Britney’s testimony being public, but she disagreed.
The star expressed anger that her family can give “interviews to anyone they want” about her, but her right to speak is stripped from her.
“I can’t say one thing… I have a right to use my voice,” she said,
“I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m OK and I’m happy,” she continued. “I thought [that] if I said that enough maybe I might become happy, because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatised. You know, fake it till you make it. “But now I’m telling you the truth, OK? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”