We all remember when Britney Spears went off the rails in 2007. Her father was promptly put in control of her finances and many personal decisions following a court order.
But with a Las Vegas residency and four new albums since the infamous head-shaving incident, surely she’s back in control of her life again. Well, no. Not at all, actually.
The #FreeBritney movement came about after fans realized the star is still very much under the thumb of her father Jamie Spears due to the conservatorship that was awarded him back in 2008.
But to understand why this is still the case, we have to go back to the incident that forced courts to hand over her estate to her father in the first place.
Britney walked into a Los Angeles salon in 2007, closed the blinds, and shaved her own head. But according to salon owner Esther Tognozzi in the documentary ‘Britney Spears: Breaking Point’, one of her bodyguards kept opening the blinds.
Rob Shuter, Hello! Magazine former executive editor, said, “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if people around Britney weren’t getting a kickback. They were allowing paparazzi to take pictures.” Weren’t they supposed to be protecting her?
After several failed attempts at rehab, Britney was eventually hospitalized. Her father Jamie was awarded $130,000 a year to be in charge of her estate. He soon hired an entire team to look after the singer, her money, and her career.
Considering her strained relationship with her dad, fans were understandably worried about the arrangement. Now, more than a decade later, fresh information about her life is emerging.
What’s causing a stir is the fact that the singer was considered well enough to have gone on four tours, record four albums, and perform a Las Vegas residency for four straight years – yet, the conservatorship is still in place today.
Conservatorships are usually for the very old or mentally disabled – it’s actually a very extreme decision for a court to make – so why is it still in effect for the 38-year-old?
Britney worked tirelessly over the past decade despite not being in full control of her life. On top of her residency – which earned her estate $500,000 a show – the ‘I’m A Slave 4 U’ singer also did a stint as a judge on TV talent show ‘The X Factor.’
She seemed of sound mind, regularly shared her life on social media, and had a healthy relationship with model and personal trainer Sam Asghari. But things changed in 2019.
In early 2019, Britney was scheduled to embark on her second Las Vegas residency ‘Britney: Domination’, but canceled after her father suffered a ruptured colon. “I had to make the difficult decision to put my full focus and energy on my family at this time,” the star posted on Instagram.
Britney was said to have entered a psychiatric facility shortly after. Then, a message was left on a fan-run Britney podcast claiming the star was being held against her will. The #FreeBritney movement was born.
Barbara Gray and Tess Barker host a fun podcast focused on the singer’s Instagram account called ‘Britney’s Gram’, but when her residency was canceled, the tone changed dramatically.
The pair released an “emergency episode.” A voice message from a paralegal who worked for Britney’s conservatorship claimed Jamie was involved in Britney’s decision to drop the residency and that she had little autonomy in her life. Britney’s conservatorship case was due to be heard in court later in 2019, but a tragic incident weeks before meant that important evidence wouldn’t be heard.
Britney’s mother Lynne Spears claimed her daughter wasn’t getting proper medical care, and a hearing to decide the fate of her conservatorship was scheduled for September 2019.
Then, Dr. Timothy Benson – who was due to give a report that Britney had been receiving adequate treatment during her conservatorship – passed away suddenly of an aneurysm on August, 20, aged 48. And this wasn’t the only abrupt disappearance of a key figure in Britney’s conservatorship in 2019.
Former conservatorship attorney Andrew Wallet had called Britney’s legal situation a “hybrid business model”. A quote in online magazine ‘Matter’ backed up the statement, claiming Caesars Entertainment, who signed Britney for the Las Vegas residency, had “insisted on the conservatorship just in case, and that it must remain throughout her contract.”
In March 2019, Wallet resigned abruptly, cryptically citing “substantial detriment, irreparable harm and immediate danger to the conservatee and her estate if the relief requested herein is not granted…” This left Jamie as the sole lead conservator, something the father of Britney’s children Kevin Federline was unlikely too happy about.
Kevin – the father of Britney’s two children – was granted a restraining order against Jaime in September 2019 after witnessing concerning behavior towards his son.
Around the same time, Jaime stepped down as lead conservator due to his health issues and handed his responsibilities over to his associate Jodi Montgomery. But the power she wields over the ‘Toxic’ hitmaker is incredible.
Court documents have shown that conservators can negotiate business deals, sell property, restrict visitors, file restraining orders, and even limit Britney’s personal spending. However, Britney’s attorney, who her father hired, insists, “She’s always involved in every career and business decision. Period.”
Going back to the beginning, 2008 documentary ‘For the Record’ saw Britney herself being asked if she felt out of control. “I think it’s too in control,” she responded. “There’s no excitement, there’s no passion. It’s just like Groundhog Day every day.” Does Britney need rescuing by the #FreeBritney movement?