Spears appeared in court via Zoom. After technical difficulties delayed the hearing, Spears requested that her testimony remain open for all to hear because “they’ve done a pretty good job exploiting my life.”
Spears’ harrowing testimony presented her side of the last 13 years of her life, which have been controlled by the Jamie Spears-led conservatorship. Spears stated that any claims that she has dementia are false, noting that she had been the one to teach her dancers the choreography for her shows. Spears also pointed out the medication she has been given over the last eight years, including Lithium, which she called a “strong drug.” She compared herself to a sex-trafficking victim while describing a life in which she’s forced to work every day. “The people who did this to me should not be able to get away and walk away easily,” she told the courtroom.
Spears added that she had no idea she could petition the court to end her conservatorship. She had also been told by her court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, that she should not publicly share details of what had been done to her.
“All I want is to own my money… and for this to end… and for my boyfriend to be able to fucking drive me in his car. And honestly…. I want to be able to sue my family,” she said. Spears said she has not even had autonomy over her own body during the conservatorship, explaining that she’d been told she was not allowed to get married or have another child; her guardians would not grant her permission to have her IUD removed. “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive,” she said.
Spears, who turns 40 this year, has been in a conservatorship for 13 years, which is unprecedented for someone so young. Her father has been in charge of the conservatorship since the beginning and now co-manages her $60 million fortune along with a wealth management company, the latter of which was at his daughter’s request. In a new report by The New York Times, previously sealed court records revealed that the pop star voiced concerns regarding her father’s fitness to be in charge of her assets far earlier than initially reported, along with requests for other changes to the arrangement.
After several public incidents of erratic behavior in 2008 that ended in a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold, Spears was put under the court-ordered conservatorship. Her finances remained under the watchful eye of Jamie and former co-conservator Andrew Wallet. Since the start of the arrangement, Spears has continued working as actively as she did prior: She has released multiple hit albums, headlined a successful Las Vegas residency, and served as a judge on The X Factor.
More public attention was brought to her case in early 2019, when she suddenly cancelled her newly-announced second Las Vegas residency after Jamie fell ill. Later, Spears claimed in court that she had been forced to enter a psychiatric facility after she argued against certain creative decisions in rehearsal. That summer, Jamie was temporarily replaced as conservator following an alleged physical altercation between him and Spears’ eldest son.
Over the course of 2019, the #FreeBritney movement began to grown online. Celebrities like Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus, who have been friendly with Spears in the past, voiced concern. Many fans have waited outside Spears’ court hearings with signs in support of the star.