For the first time, Britney Spears is speaking out about her conservatorship, and her statement is filled with trauma and abuse
Over the last 13 years, pop legend Britney Spears has lived under a conservatorship—a legal agreement that allows the court system to assign the daily management of someone to a caregiver. Usually put in place for those who are too ill to care for themselves, Spears is arguing that the one her father has over her is being used to exploit and control her.
Yesterday, the singer spoke out in court for the first time against it, outlining what her life has been like over the course of a 24-minute statement. The crux of what she had to say was harrowing and absolutely enraging: she’s being used by the people who are supposed to care about her the most, and her entire life has been taken from her control, including who she gets to see, what medications she takes, and what projects she works on. She emotionally stated that she’s not even allowed to remove her IUD and try for another baby with her boyfriend. While she’s worked day after day, she doesn’t control the huge amounts of money that her talents and name bring in.
While the Spears has claimed in the past that she’s “totally fine,” her new statements reveal that she was scared of coming forward, and unaware that there was a way for her to get help.
Spears began her statement with a huge bomb: she was forced to work, whether she wanted to or not. Specifically, she legally bullied to tour in 2018 and to do four years of performances in Vegas. She didn’t believe she had any recourse because of the conservatorship.
“I was on tour in 2018. I was forced to do… 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. He handed me a sheet of paper as I got off the stage in Vegas and said I had to sign it. 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. When I came off that tour, a new show in Las Vegas was supposed to take place. I started rehearsing early, but it was hard because I’d been doing Vegas for four years and I needed a break in between. But no, I was told this is the timeline and this is how it’s going to go.”
When Spears tried to fight back against being forced to make money for her caregivers, or even do something as simple as choreographing her own shows, her family changed her medication in order to sedate her and keep her at home.
“After I said no to Vegas, my therapist sat me down in a room and said he had a million phone calls about how I was not cooperating in rehearsals, and I haven’t been taking my medication. All this was false. He immediately, the next day, put me on lithium out of nowhere. He took me off my normal meds I’ve been on for five years. And lithium is a very, very strong and completely different medication compared to what I was used to. You can go mentally impaired if you take too much, if you stay on it longer than five months. But he put me on that and I felt drunk. I really couldn’t even take up for myself. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad really about anything. I told him I was scared, and my doctor had me on six different nurses with this new medication, come to my home, stay with me to monitor me on this new medication, which I never wanted to be on to begin with. There were six different nurses in my home and they wouldn’t let me get in my car to go anywhere for a month.”
Next, she described how her dad sent her away to a “rehab program” that even more completely stripped her of her freedom.
“The control [my father] had over someone as powerful as me—he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000 percent. He loved it. I packed my bags and went to that place. I worked seven days a week, no days off, which in California, the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking. Making anyone work against their will, taking all their possessions away—credit card, cash, phone, passport—and placing them in a home where they work with the people who live with them. They all lived in the house with me, the nurses, the 24-7 security…. They watched me change every day—naked–morning, noon and night. My body–I had no privacy door for my room. I gave eight vials of blood a week. If I didn’t do any of my meetings and work from eight to six at night, which is 10 hours a day, seven days a week, no days off, I wouldn’t be able to see my kids or my boyfriend. I never had a say in my schedule.”
At this point, Britney opened up about the affect that all of this has had on her life: she’s traumatized and done with trying to hide it.
“And that’s why I’m telling you this again two years later,” she said. “After I’ve lied and told the whole world ‘I’m OK and I’m happy.’ It’s a lie. I thought I just maybe if I said that enough maybe I might become happy, because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized. 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.”
Then she made an extremely valid point: if she can’t care for herself, how is she able to work so hard and do so much and employ so many people? What evidence is there that she can’t take care of herself?
In her own words:
“The conservatorship, from the beginning, once you see someone, whoever it is, in the conservatorship making money, making them money, and myself money and working – that whole statement right there, the conservatorship should end. I shouldn’t be in a conservatorship if I can work and provide money and work for myself and pay other people — it makes no sense. The laws need to change. What state allows people to own another person’s money and account and threaten them and saying, ‘You can’t spend your money unless you do what we want you to do.’ And I’m paying them.”
the britney stuff has always been shady but being deemed too unfit to control your own medical decisions while simultaneously being deemed fit enough that you CAN be forced to work to make your conservators bucketloads of money is making me incandescent with rage
— zoë owens (@zoenone0none) June 23, 2021
She then expanded her point by saying that many conservatorships are likely abusive and take away the rights of the people they are supposed to help.
“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive, and that we can sit here all day and say oh, conservatorships are here to help people. But ma’am, there is a thousand conservatorships that are abusive as well.”
Spears goes on to tell the judge exactly what she wants from her future, and she isn’t asking for much beyond the simple freedoms that most of us enjoy every day.
“Going forward, I’m not willing to meet or see anyone. I’ve met with enough people against my will. I’m done. All I want is to own my money, for this to end, and my boyfriend to drive me in his fucking car. And I would honestly like to sue my family, to be totally honest with you. I also would like to be able to share my story with the world, and what they did to me, instead of it being a hush-hush secret to benefit all of them. I want to be able to be heard on what they did to me by making me keep this in for so long, it is not good for my heart.”
Over and over again, Spears simply asked for people to hear her—to be heard—and for people to believe what she’s saying.
She also kept repeating that all she wants is to make simple decisions about her day: working when she wants to work. Seeing her friends. Going on well-deserved vacations.
“I deserve to have a life. I’ve worked my whole life. I deserve to have a two to three year break and just, you know, do what I want to do. But I do feel like there is a crutch here. And I feel open and I’m okay to talk to you today about it. But I wish I could stay with you on the phone forever, because when I get off the phone with you, all of a sudden all I hear all these no’s — no, no, no. And then all of a sudden I get I feel ganged up on and I feel bullied and I feel left out and alone. And I’m tired of feeling alone. I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does, by having a child, a family, any of those things, and more so.”
Under California law, a conservatorship can be terminated if a "court determines it's no longer required." The big question is why one is in place for a woman who released 4 albums & did 248 shows in Las Vegas while her Dad remained in control of her life & money. #FreeBritney https://t.co/kobpgZaQF1
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) June 24, 2021
Perhaps the most shocking reveal came next: she explained that she wants to have a baby with her boyfriend, but the “team” isn’t allowing her to remove her IUD, because she doesn’t have control of her medical appointments.
“I would like to progressively move forward and I want to have the real deal, I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby, I have a (IUD) inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the (IUD) out so I could start trying to have another baby. 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 – any more children. So basically, this conservatorship is doing me waaay more harm than good.”
We live under a patriarchal system put in place by our founding fathers centuries ago. A system that is setup to control females from finances to reproduction. If reading her story doesn't wake you up to that understanding there is no hope for change. #FreeBritney
— Carole Radziwill (@CaroleRadziwill) June 24, 2021
At the end of her statement, the judge thanked her for sharing.
Next steps in the court process for Britney Spears
It’s unclear what the next step in the process is, but Spears will need to officially and legally petition to be released from the conservatorship—which involves proving with evidence that she can take care of herself now. As of now, there’s no next step in place.
Samantha Stark from the New York Times says no one in the court room acknowledged what Britney said or gave any indication they would investigate her disturbing allegations.
— Britney Fan (@BritneyEscape) June 24, 2021
She could also simply move to change the restriction of the legal agreement and get some of the simpler asks that she’s requesting, like the ability to have a baby, control her time and money more, and take more control of her medication and therapy.
But whatever happens next, it’s clear that the word is now out and Spear’s side of the story is now publicly on the table. There’s now hope both for Spears and for many others who are also being abused by conservatorships.