Britney Spears’s Fight For Freedom

Kara Lynch, News Editor

In 1981 one of the world’s most favored pop stars was born: Britney Spears. In 1998 Spears debuted her first album Hit Me Baby One More Time. The album quickly sold around 25 million copies and her fame skyrocketed. As a talented and creative performer she quickly became America’s sweetheart.

Spears took the music industry by storm. She made hit after hit for two decades and performed all over the world. She would host talk shows and appear in TV series. Britney Spears was mega-famous. 

Image courtesy of IMDb.

People were, of course, interested in her upcoming tours and music, but they also took an interest in her personal life. Fans (and haters) wanted to know who she was dating, where she spent her time, and what designer label she was wearing. Yet everyone also wanted a look into her private matters, such as her divorce and custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline. As a result of constantly being harassed by paparazzi and the media, Spears’s personal hardships were on display for the public to see. 

In January, 2008, a custody issue arose where Britney refused to give her children back to Federline for the night. She locked herself and her children in a room, withholding the kids from Ferderline’s bodyguards who came to pick them up. The event escalated and authorities were called, as she was believed to be under the use of controlled substances. Spears was escorted out of her home in an ambulance and taken to the hospital.

After trips to the hospital, public meltdowns, and paparazzi attacks, it was decided that Spears would join a temporary conservatorship headed by her father, Jamie Spears. 

A conservatorship is the legal action in which a judge assigns a person or organization the right to supervise and manage the affairs of someone who is unable to care for themselves. Conservators are able to manage the conservate’s estate, income, and other issues that the judge designates.

For 13 years Spears was under a very strict and manipulative conservatorship. Her nightmare started from the very beginning when she wasn’t notified that she was able to get her own lawyer to contradict the implementation. 

Spears became a business, a profit. Her father made personal and financial decisions for her. She had no access to her rightfully-owned income, just the allowance her father provided. She had no say about her health and was often put on different and varying medications without consent. 

Spears made money for everyone involved in the conservatorship and was often forced to perform. In 2009 Spears did a total of 97 shows for The Circus Starring Britney Spears tour making a total of 131.8 million dollars. Yet Spears was only given an $8,000 allowance while her father had a $16,000 monthly salary. 

Graphic by Kara Lynch.

Throughout her conservatorship she was constantly asking for a new lawyer. She felt unrepresented and mistreated. During health check ups doctors pronounced her as having dementia, further acknowledging the right to keep the conservatorship. Dementia is memory loss and incoherence and generally occurs in older people. 

Over 13 years later Spears speaks out.  Social and mainstream media had been populating the #freebritney movement. On September 3, 2020, Spears pledged to make her case public. On November 10 she told her lawyer that she was afraid of her father and would not perform if he was “in charge of her career.” Progress in “freeing Britney” was gathering speed when Spears told all in a court hearing last June. 

September 29 2021 Britney is free from her father and the controlling hold he and the conservatorship had on her life.