LOS ANGELES (CN) --- Britney Spears' voice has captivated a loyal legion of fans for years. On Wednesday in a Los Angeles County Superior courtroom, that voice burned with frustration over a court-appointed conservatorship overseen by her father for the last 13 years. She called it abusive and said she was traumatized by the whole experience.
“I’m not happy. I can’t sleep, I’m so angry it’s insane. I cry every day,” said Spears, 39, speaking publicly for the first time since she was placed under the conservatorship in 2008.
Her voice piped into a courtroom where she ripped apart her father, Jamie Spears, and his domineering control over her professional and private life.
“The people who did this to me should not be able to get away and walk away easily,” Spears said during testimony by phone Wednesday. In her Southern lilt, she detailed personal revelations about her life and at one point compared her father to a sex trafficker. She said she has wanted to share her experience for years but has been directed by court-appointed attorneys to remain silent.
“I’ve lied and told the world I’m OK and I’m happy. It’s a lie... I’ve been in denial, I’m in shock, I’ve been traumatized. I cry every day,” she said.
The conservators have total control over her life, Spears told Judge Brenda Penny. She said she was put on lithium for months at a time and felt drunk and unable to have a conversation with her own parents.
“Basically, this conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good. I deserve to have a life. I have worked my whole life,” Spears told Penny. “But I do feel like there is a crunch here. I feel open and I’m OK to talk to you today about it, but I wish I could stay with you on the phone forever. Because when I get off the phone with you all of a sudden all I hear is all these nos. No. No. No. I feel ganged up and bullied and I feel left out and alone. And I’m tired of feeling alone. I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does by having a child, a family.”
She added: “I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told I can't get married. I have an IUD (intrauterine device) inside me but this so-called team won't let me go to the doctor to remove it."
Spears said she cannot meet with friends she made during her time in a rehabilitation program, though she remains sober.
“I don’t even drink alcohol. I should drink alcohol for what they’ve done to my heart,” said Spears. She asked for the court to end her conservatorship without an evaluation and asked to be able to pick her own attorney to represent her.
Spears said she did not know she had the option to dissolve the conservatorship.
Court-appointed attorney Samuel Ingham said he was open to being replaced or to file a motion to terminate the conservatorship. He asked Penny to seal any future hearings for his client’s privacy.
Before the hearing could resume, however, Penny said she had received reports that someone was broadcasting the hearing online in violation of the her orders. She ended the audio stream.
In January 2008, Spears was committed to a psychiatric facility in LA after a court hearing where her visitation rights with her children were suspended. During this time the court placed her under a conservatorship overseen by her father. A perpetual magnet for paparazzi, Britney Spears’ public meltdown was captured and broadcast in the years leading up an LA County judge's determination that she was deemed unfit to make her own decisions.
Spears continued to work and act over the next 11 years during the conservatorship. But during that time her tumultuous relationship with her father, who also oversaw her major life decisions, spiraled out of control according to a recent New York Times story. Spears has sought to dissolve the conservatorship for several years, according to reports from a court-appointed investigator, who did not persuade the court in 2016 to end the conservatorship.
Britney Spears announced an “indefinite work hiatus” in January 2019. Around this time the online movement dubbed #FreeBritney sprang up around stories that Spears’ father ordered her to work in dangerous conditions and domineered her personal life choices.
In August 2020, Britney Spears' attorney asked that the conservatorship be altered to appoint Jodi Montgomery, her care manager, as a part of the conservatorship. In December 2020, the court appointed Bessemer Trust as co-conservator of Spears’ estate.
Dozens of fans rallied outside the courthouse Wednesday to support Spears.
“This is a huge day we’ve been waiting for her to speak her truth among the conservatorship battle,” said Martino O’Daye, a server from Phoenix, Arizona. “I would just tell her I love her very much. I support whatever she does and I just want her to be genuinely happy and I am here for whatever she plans to do.”
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