Britney Spears's assets and personal life has been controlled by her father for more than a decade and the mother-of-two doesn't want that anymore.
Britney Spears launched her singing career way back in 1998 with Baby One More Time. Since then, she has enjoyed immense success and popularity but while her professional life was soaring, her personal life was down in the pits. The singer got married twice and divorced twice before the age of 27. The mother-of-two also faced many serious mental health issues for which she was criticized publicly and humiliated when she clearly needed help and understanding.
Following her split from husband Kevin Federline in 2007, she experienced a few psychiatric breakdowns that year and in 2008. However, she was battling demons even before that.
"She had trouble sleeping and crying fits. She was restless and agitated. Nights were the only times she was alone and she struggled with that… When nothing was happening, it drove her crazy. Only exhaustion would knock her out," a source previously told The Mirror.
She began having mood swings but dismissed them instead of taking cognizance of her heightened anxiety, that was caused due to fame. When she was 18, she was prescribed Prozac but instead of taking them regularly, she took a pill when she woke up depressed. This made her situation worse. This state went on for a few years before the many breakdowns, during one of which she attacked a photographer with an umbrella. She also shaved her head.
During one episode, she was awake for 48 hours straight worried that her mobile phone charger was taping her thoughts. Unfortunately, her erratic behavior didn't end there and it led to her losing custody of her sons Jayden and Sean. She locked herself in the bathroom with her youngest for three hours and was taken out of her home on a stretcher. She was in a 14-day psychiatric hold for her own safety.
She had a traumatic childhood because of an abusive father, who even tried to kidnap her once. "At first, Britney was a scared child and you’d catch her crying but she reached the stage when she just walked off, as if it wasn’t happening. And as she got older, she would scream and curse at her parents, trying to get them to stop fighting," said her uncle Willie. He is her father Jamie Spears' brother.
Eventually, a conservatorship was started. Her father has had control over her finances and personal life since 2008, as per Health. He temporarily stepped down from the position in 2019 due to health reasons but is set to resume it.
"A conservatorship is a legal concept in which a judicial body appoints a person to assist in managing the affairs of a person who does not have capacity to manage their own affairs," David Reischer, NYC-based attorney and CEO of LegalAdvice.com, tells Health. "The conservator is responsible for managing the financial matters, healthcare matters, and day-to-day personal matters of the person under the conservatorship, who is typically referred to as the conservatee," he added.
It is needed for people who can't make decisions for themselves and Britney's mental health status made her eligible for one. It was initially a temporary set up but it has gone on for 12 years now and the 38-year-old wants to take back control from her father and hand it to a professional instead. Even though the details of her case are private, filings have cited an undisclosed mental illness and substance abuse for the long conservatorship, as per The New York Times.
She had a Las Vegas residency which she canceled in 2019 after her father's illness and she's taken a hiatus from work for an undefined period. Before her father resumes his role as her sole conservator, she's contesting it stating that she is "strongly opposed" to having her father "return as conservator of her person".
She wants the licensed professional conservator Jodi Montgomery, who had stepped in as a replacement, to take the role on permanently. Her lawyers added that the conservatorship "must be changed substantially" to reflect the "major changes in [Britney's] current lifestyle and her stated wishes."
The mother of two had gone through a setback earlier in 2020 when her ex-husband received 70% custody of her children. They previously had a 50/50 custody arrangement until her son Jayden accused grandfather Jamie Spears of assault. Federline obtained a restraining order against him and got higher custody of their children, as per Daily Mail.
While Britney has been working hard to regain the previous custody arrangement and wants her father to stop being her conservator, he is trying to ensure that he and Andrew Wallet, an attorney who was her co-conservator, get reinstated, as per People.
Many people believe that he is holding her captive and after #freeBritney started trending on the internet, he told PageSix, "All these conspiracy theorists don't know anything. The world doesn't have a clue. It's up to the court of California to decide what's best for my daughter. It's no one else’s business. I love my daughter. I love all my kids. But this is our business. It's private."