Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

People protest in support of pop star Britney Spears on the day of a conservatorship case hearing at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles, Calif., on June 23, 2021.

MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters

After 13 years of near silence in the conservatorship that controls her life and money, Britney Spears passionately told a judge Wednesday that she wants to end the “abusive” case that has made her feel demoralized and enslaved.

Speaking in open court for the first time in the case, Spears condemned her father and others who control the conservatorship, which she said has compelled her to use birth control and take other medications against her will, and prevented her from getting married or having another child.

“This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good,” the 39-year-old Spears said. “I deserve to have a life.”

Story continues below advertisement

She spoke fast and sprinkled profanity into the written speech that lasted more than 20 minutes as her parents, fans and journalists listened to an audio livestream. Many of the details Spears revealed have been carefully guarded by the court for years.

Spears told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny that “I want to end this conservatorship without being evaluated.”

Penny thanked the pop star for her “courageous” words but made no rulings. A long legal process is likely before any decision is made on terminating the conservatorship.

Spears said she wants to marry her boyfriend Sam Asghari and have a baby with him, but she is not allowed to even drive with him.

“All I want is to own my money and for this to end and for my boyfriend to be able to drive me in his [expletive] car,” Spears said.

“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive,” Spears said, adding at another point, “I want my life back.”

When an attorney representing her co-conservator said the hearing and transcript should be kept sealed if private medical information was to be revealed, Spears shouted her down, saying her words should be public.

Story continues below advertisement

“They’ve done a good job at exploiting my life,” Spears said, “so I feel like it should be an open court hearing and they should listen and hear what I have to say.”

She went on to say she was forced to take lithium – which made her feel “drunk” – after rehearsals broke down for a Vegas residency in 2019, which was subsequently cancelled.

She said all she had done was disagree with one part of the show’s choreography.

“I’m not here to be anyone’s slave,” Spears said. “I can say no to a dance move.”

“Not only did my family not do a goddamn thing, my dad was all for it,” Spears said.

She accused her father of relishing his power over her, as he showed when she failed a series of psychological tests in 2019 and forced her to go into a mental hospital.

Story continues below advertisement

“I cried on the phone for an hour, and he loved every minute of it,” Spears said. “The control he had over someone as powerful as me, as he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000 per cent.”

Spears said she felt forced to do the Las Vegas residency on the heels of a tour, and felt like a great weight was lifted when it was cancelled. She has not performed or recorded since.

Spears also said several nurses often watch her every move, not even letting her change her clothes in private.

Vivian Thoreen, attorney for Spears’ father, James Spears, gave a brief statement on his behalf after conferring with him during a recess.

“He is sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain,” Thoreen said. “Mr. Spears loves his daughter, and misses her very much.”

James Spears serves as co-conservator of his daughter’s finances, and also had control of her life decisions for most of the conservatorship. He currently serves as co-conservator of her finances.

Story continues below advertisement

Britney Spears said her years-long public silence has falsely created the impression that she approved of her circumstances.

“I’ve lied and told the whole world, ‘I’m OK, I’m happy,’ " she said. “I’ve been in denial, I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized.”

More than 100 fans from the so called #FreeBritney movement gathered outside the courthouse before the hearing, holding signs that read “Free Britney now!” and “Get out of Britney’s life!”

Fan Marissa Cooper was inside the courtroom, and cried and occasionally clapped during the remarks.

“It was insane,” Cooper said outside court. “Everyone that’s been following this has been called crazy since the beginning, and conspiracy theorists, so it just feels really, really good to actually hear it from her.”

Spears said she has not felt heard in any of her previous appearances before the court, all of which were sealed from the public.

Story continues below advertisement

Her court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham III, said he made no attempt to “control, or filter, or edit” his client’s words. He said Spears has not officially asked him to file a petition to end the conservatorship.

Spears said she had done research that showed her conservatorship could be ended without further evaluation of her. But under California law, the burden would be on her to prove she is competent to manage her own affairs, and an intensive investigation and evaluation is probably inevitable before it can come to an end.

The conservatorship was put in place as she underwent a mental health crisis in 2008. She has credited its initial establishment with saving her from financial ruin and keeping her a top flight pop star.

Her father and his attorneys have emphasized that she and her fortune, which court records put at more than $50-million, remain vulnerable to fraud and manipulation. Under the law, the burden would be on Spears to prove she is competent before the case could end.

Britney Spears’ ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake was among many who expressed outrage at her revelations.

“What’s happening to her is just not right,” Timberlake tweeted. “No woman should ever be restricted from making decisions about her own body.”

Story continues below advertisement

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies