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“Locked Up Against My Will for Months”: Britney Spears Describes Life Under Conservatorship in New Memoir

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Britney Spears is recounting the 13 years she spent under a conservatorship in her hotly anticipated upcoming memoir, The Woman in Me, due out Tuesday.

“I’m Britney Spears now,” Spears recalls her father, Jamie, who was in control of her conservatorship, saying, according to a copy of the book obtained by TheNew York Times. At a certain point, Spears writes, she “went along with it,” afraid of losing access to her two young children, Sean Preston and Jayden James.

“After being held down on a gurney, I knew they could restrain my body any time they wanted to. And so I went along with it,” she writes. “My freedom in exchange for naps with my children—it was a trade I was willing to make.”

The memoir’s official release date is October 24, but the leaks have revealed new information about how Spears actually felt during the decade-plus legal ordeal, with the pop star claiming the conservatorship was decided on by her father and supported by a business manager. (During the court battle over the arrangement, Jamie’s lawyer defended the implementation of the conservatorship, writing, “Not only was she suffering mentally and emotionally, she was also being manipulated by predators and in financial distress. Mr Spears came to his daughter’s rescue to protect her.” The business manager has denied involvement in the creation of the conservatorship.

Under the conservatorship, Spears writes, she didn’t have physical or financial freedom, and was shielded from the outside world. At one point, when she was in rehab, she was only allowed an hour of television a day before being sent to bed at 9 pm. She was medicated and never alone.

“They kept me locked up against my will for months,” she says in the book. “I couldn’t go outside. I couldn’t drive a car. I had to give blood weekly. I couldn’t take a bath in private. I couldn’t shut the door to my room.”

Spears writes that her instances of unpredictable behavior in 2007, including shaving her head and attacking a car with an umbrella, were her “ways of pushing back,” fueled by severe postpartum depression, a custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline, grief after the death of her aunt, and the hounding of the paparazzi. “I know I had been acting wild, but there was nothing I’d done that justified their treating me like I was a bank robber,” she says of her father and management team’s reaction, and the eventual conservatorship. “Everyone was scared of me, even my mom.”

“I went from partying a lot to being a total monk,” she writes. “Security guards handed me prepackaged envelopes of meds and watched me take them. They put parental controls on my iPhone. Everything was scrutinized and controlled. Everything.”

Still, jobs and appearances were booked for her, and Spears ruminates on the dissonance of being “too sick to choose my own boyfriend and yet somehow healthy enough to appear on sitcoms and morning shows, and to perform for thousands of people in a different part of the world every week.” As she writes of her father, “I began to think that he saw me as put on the earth for no other reason than to help their cash flow.”

Her father would allegedly criticize her constantly, with Spears writing that he “repeatedly told me I looked fat and that I was going to have to do something about it.”

However, the outside world did manage to seep in, including fans’ #FreeBritney campaign on social media. While Spears was under strict supervision at a pricey Beverly Hills rehab, a nurse showed her clips of fans’ pleas to end the conservatorship, she says.

“That was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen in my life,” Spears writes. “I don’t think people knew how much the #FreeBritney movement meant to me, especially in the beginning.”

Then, in August 2021, her father agreed to step down as her conservator; he was officially removed the following month, though the arrangement was still in place under different leadership. “I felt relief sweep over me,” she writes of learning the news. “The man who had scared me as a child and ruled over me as an adult, who had done more than anyone to undermine my self-confidence, was no longer in control of my life.”

In October 2021, in the midst of her court battle, Spears posted a since-deleted video on Instagram and thanked her fans for their outspoken support.

“#FreeBritney movement … I have no words … because of you guys and your constant resilience in freeing me from my conservatorship … my life is now in that direction !!!!!” she wrote in the caption.

In November of that same year, the conservatorship ended altogether. She writes that she still suffers physical and emotional consequences as a result of it, including migraines, and that she does not have a desire to return to making music and performing in the same way as before.

“My music was my life, and the conservatorship was deadly for that; it crushed my soul.”

Originally published in

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