Britney Spears is free
Britney Spears is overprotected no more.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny ruled Friday that the conservatorship that has controlled the pop icon's life for the last 13 years should be terminated, the New York Times reports. Judge Penny agreed that the arrangement should end without Spears having to undergo additional mental evaluations but, per the Times, the current conservator of the singer's estate will continue to work "to settle ongoing financial concerns related to the case."
The conservatorship began in February 2008, when Spears was 26 years old. Following her highly publicized breakdown in late 2007 and early 2008, her father, Jamie Spears, filed for a conservatorship over his daughter's person and estate. What was ostensibly meant to be a temporary measure lasted for more than a decade. Britney will turn 40 in just under three weeks.
Under the conservatorship, the pop star released four albums, including 2008's Circus and her most recent, 2016's Glory. She completed two concert tours, a stint as a judge on The X Factor, and the wildly popular Piece of Me residency show in Las Vegas. Despite her high creative output and the income it generated, she was not free to make meaningful decisions regarding her career, personal life, or finances on her own.
In 2019, following the abrupt cancellation of Spears' planned Domination residency, the #FreeBritney movement was launched by fans questioning how the pop star could be so visibly functional but still be denied control over her life. What was at first a fringe campaign — dismissed by Jamie as a "conspiracy theory" — exploded into a cause célèbre in 2021, following the February premiere of Samantha Stark's documentary Framing Britney Spears. The shocking film brought national attention to Spears' subsequent court appearances, especially a June hearing where she delivered explosive testimony alleging a whole slew of abuses by her father and the conservatorship team.
Following that testimony, Britney's court-appointed attorney Sam Ingham resigned and she hired former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart to take his place. Since his appointment, Rosengart has been unrelenting in his pursuit of Jamie's removal as conservator — a longtime wish of Britney's — and the eventual termination of the conservatorship.
Jamie surprised everyone watching, however, when he stated in an August court filing that he'd be "willing to step down" from the role "when the time is right." He threw another curveball weeks later, filing a petition to end the conservatorship altogether. Rosengart celebrated the latter move as a "massive legal victory" for Britney, as he wrote in a statement shared with EW, but added that Jamie could not "avoid accountability and justice" for his own behavior as conservator. "Our investigation into financial mismanagement and other issues will continue," he said.
At the case's last hearing, on Sept. 29, Jamie was suspended as conservator, but the arrangement was not terminated. "What happens now as the result of him being suspended is he is obligated under the law to turn over his files to the temporary conservator," Rosengart told the assembled journalists and protesters outside the courthouse following the hearing. He predicted that those files would "reveal corruption" on the part of Jamie and his lawyers.
Responding to Rosengart's allegations of corruption, Jamie's lawyer Vivian Thoreen said in court that her client had been subjected to required court investigations for years and his removal had never been called for. Thoreen also asserted that Jamie's "record is impeccable" and that "everything Mr. Spears has done for Miss Spears has been in her best interest."
Now that the conservatorship is a piece of pop history, Rosengart and his team can continue to take a magnifying glass to everything that happened over the past 13 years. And as for his client? She can do whatever she wants. She's Britney, bitch. And she's finally free.
- Britney Spears' father removed as conservator, bringing her one step closer to freedom
- Outside Britney Spears' courtroom, protesters call for her to be 'free by 40'
- Britney Spears speaks in court: 'I just want my life back'
- Britney Spears' father files to end her conservatorship after 13 years
- Britney Spears' father Jamie is 'willing to step down' as conservator of her estate
- Framing Britney Spears director Samantha Stark reacts to pop star's testimony: 'This felt so powerful'
- Framing Britney Spears unravels a heartbreaking pop mystery
- The #FreeBritney movement finds vindication in Britney Spears' hearing: 'We just witnessed history'
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