The conservatorship that has plagued Britney Spears for years took a new turn after the singer publicly voiced her opposition for the first time in a court hearing.
According to Variety, Spears delivered an impassioned statement during a remote court hearing on Wednesday (23/6), where she criticised the conservatorship as “abusive” and compared it to “sex trafficking” on top of calling for its termination.
“I’ve been in shock. I am traumatised,” said the singer in the hearing livestream. “I just want my life back.” Spears also expressed wishes to sue her family, which includes her father Jamie Spears. The latter oversees her fortune that’s worth almost US$60 million, and is a central figure in the controversy.
The singer also revealed that she’d been in “denial” despite assuring fans on social media that she was all right in the past year.
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Spears’ condemnation of the conservatorship follows more than a decade of near-silence on the issue since it began in 2008. However, court documents recently obtained by the New York Times revealed that she had challenged her father’s role as early as 2014. She also repeatedly requested for the conservatorship’s termination, though her lawyer Samuel D. Ingham III has not publicly filed to do so. The latest hearing came after a request made by Ingham in April to allow Spears to directly address the judge on an expedited basis.
In the wake of the hearing, the #FreeBritney hashtag began trending on Twitter. Several musicians—including Mariah Carey, Tinashe, and Halsey—have also voiced their support for Spears on social media.
Bless Britney and I hope with my whole heart she is awarded freedom from this abusive system. She deserves it more than anything. I admire her courage speaking up for herself today.— h (@halsey) June 23, 2021
We love you Britney!!! Stay strong ❤️❤️❤️— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) June 23, 2021
We love you SO MUCH @britneyspears ❤️— TINASHE ³³³ (@Tinashe) June 23, 2021
The next hearing for the conservatorship is scheduled for 14 July.
You can read selected excerpts from Spears’ 24-minute-long statement below. They have been lightly edited for clarity.
Over the two-week holiday, a lady came into my home for four hours a day, sat me down and did a psych test on me. It took forever. But I was told I had to. Then after, I got a phone call from my dad, basically saying I’d failed the test or whatever, whatever. “I’m sorry, Britney, you have to listen to your doctors. They’re planning to send you to a small home in Beverly Hills to do a small rehab program that we’re going to make up for you. You’re going to pay $60,000 a month for this.” I cried on the phone for an hour and he loved every minute of it.
The control he had over someone as powerful as me—he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%. 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. There was one chef that came there and cooked for me daily during the weekdays. 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.
And that’s why I’m telling you this again two years later, after I’ve lied and told the whole world “I’m OK and I’m happy.” It’s a lie. I thought [maybe] if I said that enough. 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.
And maybe I’m wrong, and that’s why I didn’t want to say any of this to anybody, to the public. People would make fun of me or laugh at me and say, “She’s lying, she’s got everything, she’s Britney Spears.”
I’m not lying. I just want my life back. And it’s been 13 years. And it’s enough. It’s been a long time since I’ve owned my money. And it’s my wish and my dream for all of this to end without being tested. Again, 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, 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.
Now, 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, is not good for my heart. I’ve been so angry and I cry every day. It concerns me, I’m told I’m not allowed to expose the people who did this to me.
For my sanity, I need you [the judge] to approve me to do an interview where I can be heard on what they did to me. And actually, I have the right to use my voice and take up for myself. My attorney says I can’t. It’s not good. I can’t let the public know anything they did to me and by not saying anything, is saying it’s OK.
Read the full statement here.