Britney Spears pleads for judge to end 13-year conservatorship: 'I just want my life back'

Spears said she has felt "traumatized" and "depressed."

June 23, 2021, 9:14 PM

Britney Spears passionately pleaded for an end to her conservatorship as she addressed a courtroom on Wednesday, saying, "I just want my life back."

All parties involved in Spears' conservatorship appeared remotely for the Wednesday hearing, presided over by California Superior Court Judge Brenda J. Penny. During the hearing, Spears said she has been "traumatized" and "depressed" due to the conservatorship, telling the court, "I cry every day."

"I've lied and told the whole world I'm OK and I'm happy. It's a lie," Spears said, saying she believed that if she said this enough times it might come true. "I've been in denial. I've been in shock. I am traumatized. I'm not happy. I can't sleep. I'm so angry it's insane. And I'm depressed. I cry every day."

What did Britney Spears say during the June 23 hearing?

During the 23-minute statement she read over the phone, Spears told the court she wants to "get married and have a baby" but, due to the conservatorship, she isn't allowed to do either of those things.

The singer, who is currently dating Sam Asghari, explained that she has an intrauterine device, or IUD, that prevents her from getting pregnant. She claimed that those in charge of her conservatorship won't allow her to get it taken out by a doctor because they don't want her to have anymore children.

Spears said she deserves to have the freedom to make decisions about her family.

Speaking about the last time she addressed the court two years ago -- in a closed hearing at the time -- Spears said she didn't feel like she was taken seriously.

"I will be honest with you, I haven't been back to court in a long time because I don't think I was heard on any level," she said, later adding that the court keeping her father, Jamie Spears, as her conservator didn't sit well with her.

"It made me feel like I was dead, like I didn't matter, like nothing had been done to me, like you thought I was lying or something. I'm telling you again because I'm not lying. I want to be heard and I'm telling you this again so maybe you can understand the depth and the degree and the damage that they did to me back then," she explained. "I deserve changes."

Spears detailed how she was medicated and forced to attend treatment programs against her will.

PHOTO: A person protests in support of pop star Britney Spears on the day of a conservatorship case hearing at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles, June 23, 2021.
A person protests in support of pop star Britney Spears on the day of a conservatorship case hearing at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles, June 23, 2021.
Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The singer said her therapist took her off her normal medications and put her on lithium "out of nowhere," which made her feel "drunk."

"I really couldn't even take up for myself. I couldn't even have a conversation with my mom or dad really about anything. I told them I was scared," Not only did my family not do a g------ thing, my dad was all for it. Anything that happened to me had to be approved by my dad."

Spears claimed her dad once made her attend a "small rehab program" that cost $60,000 a month after she had allegedly failed a psychological test.

"I cried on the phone for an hour and he loved every minute of it," she said.

The program required her to give up all her possessions -- including her credit cards, cash, phone and passport -- and was given "no privacy" as she was observed at all times, including being naked in front of people while she changed clothes.

Spears also alleged that she gave eight vials of blood per week, wasn't able to see her kids or her boyfriend and was forced to work for 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

"My dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship -- and my management, who played a huge role in punishing me when I said no. ... Ma'am, they should be in jail," she said, addressing Penny, adding that the people who did this to her "should not be able to walk away so easily."

PHOTO: Britney Spears attends Sony Pictures' "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" Los Angeles Premiere on July 22, 2019, in Hollywood, Calif.
Britney Spears attends Sony Pictures' "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" Los Angeles Premiere on July 22, 2019, in Hollywood, Calif.
bauer-griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images, FILE

Spears said she "would honestly like to sue my family" and to "be able to share my story with the world."

"It's embarrassing and demoralizing what I've been through -- and that's the main reason I've never said it openly," she said. "I didn't want to say it openly because I honestly didn't think anyone would believe me."

Spears called for her conservatorship to end "without having to be evaluated" and she feels the conservatorship is "abusive" and is "doing me way more harm than good."

"I deserve to have a life," she said.

In response to Britney's claims, a lawyer for her father read the following statement in court: "He is sorry to hear his daughter in so much pain. Mr. Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much."

Jamie has been Britney's conservator since 2008. Under the legal guardianship, she does not have control over her personal or financial affairs.

Fellow pop star Justin Timberlake, who dated Spears at the height of her success in the late-'90s and early-2000s, released a statement on Twitter supporting Spears after Wednesday's testimony.

"After what we saw today, we should all be supporting Britney at this time," he wrote. "Regardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long ago it was … what's happening to her is just not right."

"No woman should ever be restricted from making decisions about her own body," the singer and actor, who is now married to actress Jessica Biel, added.

Read on to learn more about Britney's conservatorship and what both Britney and her father are fighting for in court.

Why does Britney Spears have a conservator and when was the conservatorship established?

The conservatorship was established when Spears was 26 years old after she was hospitalized for her mental health reasons, following displays of erratic behavior.

Through the legal guardianship, Jamie Spears has controlled his daughter's financial affairs ever since.

Andrew Wallet acted as the co-conservator of Spears' estate with Jamie Spears from 2008 -- when the conservatorship was put in place -- until 2019, when Wallet voluntarily resigned from the role. The Los Angeles Times reported that Wallet said at the time of his resignation in 2019 that Britney would suffer "substantial detriment, irreparable harm and immediate danger" if he didn't leave the role.

Jamie Spears still holds the position of co-conservator of his daughter's estate, along with financial group Bessemer Trust, which was appointed by Penny in November 2020.

The singer's father acted as the conservator of her person, which includes her medical decisions and more, until September 2019.

Jodi Montgomery stepped in as temporary conservator of her person due to Jamie's departure, which was attributed to health reasons at the time.

Spears doesn't want her father to act as her conservator, which she has expressed through her legal team. In August 2020, the singer's lawyer petitioned for Jamie Spears to be removed. The singer's lawyer requested that Montgomery take on the role of conservator of her person permanently and a corporate fiduciary be appointed as conservator of her estate.

A court filing obtained by "Good Morning America" in August 2020 read, "Britney is strongly opposed to having James return as conservator ... [and] strongly opposed to James continuing as sole conservator of her estate."

PHOTO: Britney Spears attends the MTV Bash at the Hollywood Palladium on June 28, 2003 in Hollywood, Calif.
Britney Spears attends the MTV Bash at the Hollywood Palladium on June 28, 2003 in Hollywood, Calif.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images, FILE

In November 2020, Penny, the judge, appointed Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator of her estate but did not remove Jamie Spears from his position. At that same hearing, Britney Spears' attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, reportedly shed more light on the singer's feelings toward her father.

"My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father," Ingham reportedly the judge, according to The Associated Press. "She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career."

What is the latest update in the conservatorship case?

In the most recent hearing in the conservatorship case, which took place April 27, Britney Spears' attorney, Ingham, asked Penny if the singer could speak to the court directly.

Penny approved the request and set a June 23 court date.

According to The Associated Press, the singer has not spoken in court since May 2019 -- when the courtroom was sealed.

PHOTO: Britney Spears' father, Jamie Spears leaves the Los Angeles County Superior courthouse on March 10, 2008.
Britney Spears' father, Jamie Spears leaves the Los Angeles County Superior courthouse on March 10, 2008.
AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Following the March hearing in the conservatorship case, Ingham filed a petition requesting Jamie Spears' resignation as conservator of her person and asked that Spears' father be replaced with Montgomery. Spears is expected to discuss this if she does speak at Wednesday's hearing.

Lawyers for both Jamie and Britney Spears reportedly spoke during a February hearing about working on an investment plan for the singer's finances during the pandemic.

What has Jamie Spears said about the conservatorship?

Earlier this year, Jamie Spears' lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, spoke out on his behalf during an interview with "Good Morning America."

"I understand that every story wants to have a villain, but people have it so wrong here," Thoreen said on "GMA."

Jamie Spears has faced heightened public scrutiny since the release of The New York Times and FX-produced documentary "Framing Britney Spears" in February.

The documentary, which the Spears family did not participate in, showcases the singer's legal battle to have her father removed from control of her financial and personal affairs. Many who worked with Spears in the early stages of her career share their thoughts on the conservatorship during the documentary.

Thoreen said on "GMA" that she feels perceptions attached to Jamie Spears as his daughter's conservator are inaccurate.

"This is a story about a fiercely loyal, loving, and dedicated father who rescued his daughter from a life-threatening situation," she said. "People were harming her and they were exploiting her."

She also claimed that Spears' father has "worked tirelessly to protect her" during his time as her conservator.

Has Britney Spears commented on the documentary?

While Spears has not spoken publicly about her father in regard to the conservatorship case, she did acknowledge the existence of "Framing Britney Spears" in March.

"I didn't watch the documentary, but from what I did see of it I was embarrassed by the light they put me in," she wrote in an Instagram post. "I cried for two weeks and well … I still cry sometimes!!!!"

She went on to call out the massive media attention she has garnered throughout her life and its effects.

"My life has always been very speculated ... watched ... and judged really my whole life !!!" she wrote. "I have been exposed my whole life performing in front of people!!! It takes a lot of strength to TRUST the universe with your real vulnerability cause I've always been so judged ... insulted ... and embarrassed by the media ... and I still am till this day!!!"

The singer also shared a message on social media in November 2020 about her well-being.

"I know that there have been a lot of comments and a lot of people saying a lot of different things about me, but I just want to let you guys know that I am fine," she said in video message.

She went on to say that she is the "happiest" she's ever been.

Although the singer has shared her disapproval about the documentary and reiterated her positive mental state, she has expressed issues with the existing conservatorship arrangement she is under through her lawyer in court. And a report from The New York Times, published Tuesday, indicates this disapproval may date back years into the conservatorship.

The Times investigation claims confidential court records show Spears shared her disapproval of the conservatorship "earlier and more often than had previously been known, and said that it restricted everything from whom she dated to the color of her kitchen cabinets."

The singer "articulated she feels the conservatorship has become an oppressive and controlling tool against her," a court investigator wrote in a 2016 report pertaining to the conservatorship case, according to The New York Times.

WATCH: What to expect from Britney Spears' conservatorship hearing

Dan Abrams discusses what a conservatorship is and how the popstar's statement in court could affect her case.
Dan Abrams discusses what a conservatorship is and how the popstar's statement in court could affect her case.