How Britney Spears, the platinum-selling singer, ended up in court fighting for control of her own finances.
The pop star is scheduled to appear in court in Los Angeles on Wednesday to address her 13-year conservatorship.
Britney Spears is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday to discuss the conservatorship she claims has governed her life for the last 13 years.
The conservatorship, which was approved in 2008, was initially filed by the now-39-year-old pop star’s father, Jamie. The purpose was to appoint a guardian to take control of Spears’s life and finances, as the courts had determined she was incapable of making those decisions on her own.
Typically, the arrangement is made for elderly individuals in need of care. Spears was only 26 years old when she was placed under the management of her father.
CBC News provides a timeline of the events leading up to this point and explains why fans are so upset.
2007: Spears expresses distress in the midst of a divorce and custody battle
Spears dealt with hordes of paparazzi and endured mean-spirited coverage from tabloids and mainstream media in the years leading up to her conservatorship.
In 2007, as her divorce from Kevin Federline dominated celebrity news, the singer began exhibiting signs of distress. Between stints in a rehabilitation facility, Spears famously shaved her head in a California salon and attacked a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella.
Her widely mocked performance of Gimme More at the annual MTV Video Music Awards infuriated supporters and provided fodder for detractors, prompting a young fan to defend her online in the culture-shifting video Leave Britney Alone.
2008: The Conservatorship is established
In January 2008, as a result of a child custody dispute with Federline, Spears was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold. Federline was later granted sole custody of her children. Later that month, Spears was again placed on hold.
Jamie Spears was granted a temporary conservatorship in February, allowing him to take control of his daughter’s personal life and finances. Eight months later, the arrangement was made permanent, and attorney Andrew Wallet was appointed co-conservator. In Spears’s case, her father and Wallet arranged for her medical treatment, visits with her sons, and business transactions.
Spears stated in an MTV documentary filmed in the run-up to her Circus comeback that under her conservatorship, “There is no suspense. There is no zeal.”
2009-18: All appearances require approval.
The pop star’s brand was extremely profitable. Following Circus, she released three additional albums: Femme Fatale in 2011, Britney Jean in 2013, and Glory in 2015. (2016). She also served as a judge on The X-Factor and completed a four-year residency in Las Vegas.
“As long as she continues to earn that much money and the lawyers and conservators continue to be compensated, there is little incentive to end it,” Elaine Renoire, president of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse, stated in a 2016 New York Times interview about the case.
Spears announces a ‘indefinite work hiatus’ in January 2019.
Spears announced a “indefinite work hiatus” in January 2019, canceling a planned residency in Las Vegas due to her father’s illness.
Wallet resigned as co-conservator two months later, leaving Jamie Spears as sole guardian of his daughter’s affairs.
Spring 2019: The #FreeBritney movement gains traction
In 2019, the hosts of the Britney’s Gram podcast — which decodes the singer’s Instagram posts — received an anonymous voice message from someone claiming to be a paralegal who worked on Spears’ case in 2019.
According to the individual, Spears canceled her residency due to a medication disagreement with her father Jamie.
Later that month, a fan protest was held outside a conservatorship hearing in Los Angeles, with supporters brandishing “#FreeBritney” signs.
Spears testified in May before a Los Angeles court regarding her conservatorship, but her testimony was sealed.
Later that fall, Spears’ father resigned as her “personal conservator,” citing health concerns. He remained the star’s primary financial conservator.
Jodi Montgomery, a court-appointed professional conservator, was appointed conservator of person.
2020: Spears’ lawyer claims she ‘fears her father’
Spears requested Montgomery’s permanent replacement as her father in August 2020.
According to the pop star’s attorney, Samuel Ingham, Spears “fears her father” and will refrain from performing as long as Jamie Spears is her conservator.
The film Framing Britney Spears is released in 2021.
In January 2021, the release of The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears — a documentary about Spears’s life that includes interviews with former handlers, attorneys, and #FreeBritney activists — rekindled public interest in the star’s legal case.
Spears stated on Instagram that, while she did not watch the documentary in its entirety, she was embarrassed by it and “cried for two weeks” after viewing portions of it.
Justin Timberlake issued a public apology for his treatment of Spears during their four-year relationship, which ended in 2002, in response to a number of fan and celebrity reactions to the film.
Spears was publicly chastised following their breakup, when Timberlake released a video for his song Cry Me a River that featured an unflattering portrayal of a Britney Spears lookalike.
In February 2021, Justin Timberlake issued a lengthy apology on Instagram for his treatment of Spears during their four-year relationship. Spears and Timberlake arrive at the 28th Annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles in this Jan. 8, 2001 file photo.
Spears to address the court for the first time in years in 2021
In April, it was reported that Spears requested an appearance before the court via Ingham regarding her conservatorship. Spears will address the court for the first time in two years during the June 23 hearing.
While Spears has stated in court documents that the legal arrangement protected her from exploitation and financial ruin, Ingham stated that Spears disapproved of her father’s involvement, stating, “It is no secret that my client does not want her father as a co-conservator.”