Britney Spears is back in the news this week. The New York Times reported Tuesday that the conservatorship she’s lived under since 2008 is much stricter and more controlling than previously thought—and that the 39-year-old pop icon, who’s long tried to get out from under it, will address a judge directly on Wednesday, June 23, in an attempt to finally end it.
“She feels the conservatorship has become an oppressive and controlling tool against her,” a court investigator wrote in 2016—adding that Spears wanted the conservatorship to end ASAP, describing its level of control over her as “too, too much!”
Just how much Spears’ life has been dictated by her conservatorship is truly shocking: “It restricted everything from whom she dated to the color of her kitchen cabinets,” the Times states. Despite Spears’ reported net worth of $60 million, she was only allowed a $2,000-a-week allowance and if she made any “mistakes” that went against the terms of the conservatorship, she’d face “‘very harsh’ consequences.”
Of particular concern, according to the Times article, is whether her father truly has his daughter’s best interests at heart as her longtime conservator and whether he’s fit for the job. (The Times claims that under the terms of the conservatorship, “she could not make friends without [dad Jamie Spears’] approval.”) Ever since the conservatorship began, Britney has long tried to lessen her father’s control over her; as just one example, Jamie Spears’ drinking habits were cited as a cause for concern in a 2014 closed hearing. Those issues were also raised in the recent documentary, Framing Britney Spears.)
And because her dad also receives a percentage of the profits from Spears’ tours and other endeavors, it seems that being able to control what she does is of personal financial benefit to him as well. In a 2020 court hearing, mom Lynne Spears claimed that Jamie once called Britney “a racehorse who has to be handled like one.”
Keep reading to find out more about Spears’ conservatorship and what her future may hold.
What is a conservatorship?
According to LawHelp.org, a conservatorship is a legal arrangement in which a person’s finances are taken care of by a court-appointed “guardian” or “conservator” (the terms mean the same thing) because the person is deemed unable to make financial decisions in his or her own best interest due to illness, injury or disability.
In Spears’ situation, she’s actually under two separate conservatorships, according to BBC News: “One is for her estate and financial affairs, the other is for her as a person.” The outlet also notes that “Jamie used to be in control of both, but stepped down from being her personal conservator in 2019 due to health reasons. He remained a co-conservator of her estate alongside financial company the Bessemer Trust.”
Why is Britney under conservatorship?
In January 2008, Spears was placed in a 5150 psychiatric hold and committed to the psychiatric ward at an L.A. medical center after police came to her home and believed her to be under the influence of unidentified substances. This was the incident that led to her being placed under a conservatorship with her father appointed conservator. (She also temporarily lost custody of Sean Preston Federline and Jayden James Federline, her two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline.) However, there was also a string of troubling incidents that took place in 2007, including a brief stay at a rehab center and infamously shaving her head at an L.A.-area hair salon.
Why is Jamie Spears Britney’s conservator?
Good question! According to the Times, dad Jamie had drifted in and out of his kids’ lives in the 2000s—until Britney’s conservatorship became a possibility, at which point he swooped in. Around 2007, “Mr. Spears reappeared for what he and his ex-wife, Lynne, viewed as an urgent rescue mission,” the Times says. “He prayed and fasted before he petitioned a judge for a temporary conservatorship of Ms. Spears, Lynne wrote in her memoir, [even though] the singer stressed that she did not want her father in charge, a lawyer she consulted at the time has said.” (Mom Lynne also wrote in her memoir that dad Jamie subjected his family to “verbal abuse, abandonment [and] erratic behavior” for years.)
How much does Jamie Spears make as conservator?
According to the Times, as of 2021, Jamie Spears receives a salary of “about $16,000 per month, plus $2,000 a month for office space rent” to act as Britney’s conservator. Despite that hefty sum, the Times also says Jamie Spears is currently living in an RV back in the family’s hometown of Kentwood, Louisiana.
Is Britney Spears free from conservatorship?
Spears fans and followers of the “#FreeBritney” movement are hoping that the newest court date might finally put the pop star on a path toward freedom. Also on Team “#FreeBritney?” Mom Lynne Spears. Back in November, she supported removing her ex-husband as her daughter’s conservator at a public court hearing, claiming it was “time to start fresh.” In a somber coincidence, she also used the title of one of her daughter’s biggest hits to describe the relationship between Britney and dad Jamie: “Toxic.”