US pop star Britney Spears has called for an end to the “abusive” management of her business and personal affairs, telling an LA court: “I want my life back”.
The singer’s career has been in the hands of legal guardians in an arrangement known as a conservatorship since 2008 when she faced a public mental health crisis.
The court-ordered agreement gave her father, Jamie Spears, control over her estate and other aspects of her life.
But the singer later sought to dismiss her father from the role.
A grassroots movement of fans, known as the #FreeBritney campaign, wants the singer to regain autonomy over her affairs.
The prolonged legal row gained renewed attention in 2021 following the release of framing Britney Spears a documentary which centered on the conflict over the singer’s guardianship.
A conservatorship is granted by a court for individuals who are unable to make their own decisions, like those with dementia or other mental illnesses.
Spears’ conservatorship is split into two parts – one is for her estate and financial affairs, the other is for her as a person. Under this legal agreement, Spears has not controlled her finances since 2008.
Jamie Spears was initially in charge of both parts of the conservatorship but stepped down as his daughter’s personal conservator in 2019 because of health reasons. Jodi Montgomery, a care professional, replaced him on a temporary basis but Britney Spears has requested this be made permanent.
Confidential court records obtained by Spice FM showed that the pop star had voiced serious opposition to the conservatorship earlier than had previously been reported. They also showed that the conservatorship restricted aspects of her life, ranging from who she dated to the color of her kitchen cabinets.
“She feels the conservatorship has become an oppressive and controlling tool against her,” a court investigator wrote in a 2016 report. The conservatorship had “too much control,” Spears said, according to the account of the conversation. “Too, too much!”
In November 2020, a judge declined to remove Mr. Spears but named financial firm the Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator of her estate instead.
A month later, the judge extended Mr. Spears’ conservatorship until September 2021.