After years of silence on the matter, Britney Spears has appeared before a Los Angeles courtroom asking for her legal freedom. Telling judge Brenda Penny on a virtual call that she has been put on harmful medication, compelled to work against her will, and prevented from removing her birth control device over the past 13 years, she beseeched with the court to end her father’s legal control of her life on June 23.
The American singer-songwriter, known for her chart-topping albums in the 2000s, addressed the arrangement publicly for the first time in such detail, demanding early on that everyone is allowed to tune in to the court hearing. “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive,” she said during a 23-minute speech. She added that she should be able to “handpick” her own legal team. “The main reason why I’m here is because I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated,” Spears said.
Reading from her prepared remarks, Spears explained why she opposed her 68-year-old father, James P. Spears, retaining control of her US $60 million fortune since February 2008. Spears has been unable to make major financial decisions since then, and the restriction came about after a series of personal struggles, including her 2007 divorce from Kevin Federline, and concerns about her mental health and potential substance abuse. According to a 2016 New York Times article, “Her most mundane purchases, from a drink at Starbucks to a song on iTunes, are tracked in court documents as part of the plan to safeguard the great fortune she has earned but does not ultimately control.”
In 2008, Spears said that she was coerced into a Las Vegas show, which she no longer needed to perform. Shortly after, however, Spears alleged that her doctor prescribed her lithium and she was confined to her home, on the allegedly “false” claim that she hadn’t been taking her medication. “And lithium is a very, very strong and completely different medication compared to what I was used to. You can go mentally impaired if you take too much, if you stay on it longer than five months. But he put me on that, and I felt drunk… I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad, really about anything,” she stated.
The star also took issue with the fact that her conservatorship enforced that Spears attend therapy at a location where she is allegedly “exposed” to paparazzi. “It’s embarrassing and it’s demoralizing. I deserve privacy when I go and have therapy,” she said, asking to receive therapy from home instead. Spears said that not only was her family unresponsive to her treatment, but her father was “all for it.” “Anything that happened to me had to be approved by my dad,” she confirmed.
The fight between one of the biggest pop stars in the world and her father has become a longstanding saga that sparked the #FreeBritney movement, taking social media by a storm as her fans and friends globally have been petitioning the government and rallying their support for her release from the conservatorship.
The “Princess of Pop” expressed her desire to get married and have a baby, but was barred from doing so in the conservatorship, by having birth control in the form of an intrauterine device (IUD) administered to her. “I wanted to take the IUD out so I could start trying to have another baby, but this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children,” she said. Spears is currently in a relationship with Iranian fitness trainer Sam Asghari, who also appeared in a “Free Britney” shirt on his Instagram story a few hours before the hearing.
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The 39-year-old star explained that she was in denial about her mental wellbeing. “I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m okay and I’m happy,” Spears explained. She added, “I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized… I’m so angry it’s insane, and I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Spears also suggested that she was unaware of the fact that she could contest her conservatorship. “It’s embarrassing and demoralizing what I’ve been through, and that’s the main reason I didn’t say it openly,” she said. “I didn’t think anybody would believe me.”
According to New York Times, around 120 supporters protested outside the downtown city courtroom, chanting, ‘”What do we want?” “Free Britney!” “When do we want it?” “Now!”‘ before they were silenced by Spears’s resounding speech. With an even larger media presence, the crowd grew to take up a full city block.
I’m in downtown LA outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse where Britney Spears is expected to appear virtually to talk to a judge about her conservatorship. pic.twitter.com/IUcg4OSjdS
— Stephanie K. Baer (@skbaer) June 23, 2021
The striking development followed after an April request from Spears’s court-appointed lawyer, Samuel D.Ingham III, to allow her to speak to the judge quickly. The New York Times recently revealed that Spears had raised questions about her father’s role in conservatorship as early as 2014, repeatedly asking about terminating it altogether, but Ingham had not filed to do so.
Following the development, Penny underlined that all parties involved should take Spears’ concerns seriously, but that she will have to formally file the paperwork with the court in order to end the conservatorship or make any other significant changes.