New Delhi: Iconic pop singer Britney Spears delivered an impassioned speech in court Wednesday, speaking about the travails of being under the controversial guardianship of her father who she said controls her finances and personal life.
Two years after a public breakdown in 2002, Spears was officially placed in the care of her father Jamie Spears, in a conservatorship — which the 39-year-old has now called “an oppressive and controlling tool against her”.
“I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough. I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry. It’s insane,” Spears can be heard saying in the 20-minute address via a videolink, according to a report in the New York Times. She said she cries every day.
Her die-hard fans chanted their support outside the courtroom, the report said.
In 2020, she filed to remove her father as her guardian from the conservatorship. The case, involving her $60 million estate, has been going on since August last year and is being heard by the LA County Superior Court.
“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I want changes, I deserve changes,” the pop singer said, pleading to Judge Brenda Penny.
In the US, conservatorship is a legal arrangement, usually put in place for those who are unable to make their own life decisions — typically people dealing with mental illnesses such as dementia. In Spear’s case, her conservatorship is two-fold where her father controls her finances and estate but also her as a person.
Britney’s life and the controversy around it
Britney Spears’ life and the controversy around it garnered attention in February this year when a documentary about her, ‘Framing Britney Spears’, was released. It begins from her breakdown following her 2007 divorce from Kevin Federline and the loss of custody of her two children.
Soon after this, “Spears was snapped by paparazzi barefoot at a gas station, and notoriously shaved her head,” the NYT report adds.
But gradually, it appeared, she pieced her life back together under her father’s guardianship, releasing three albums and participating in reality shows as a judge.
Then in January 2019, she abruptly announced suspending all performances until further notice — this came around the time when her father temporarily stepped down as her conservator, citing health issues. Spears has asked for this to be made permanent in her law suit.
“If I don’t do this, what they tell me to do, enslave me to do, they’re gonna punish me,” she said, adding how she was medicated so much that she felt drunk and was not even afforded privacy to change or drive her own car.
In recent years, her fans have even launched a ‘FreeBritney’ campaign.
During the hearing, her father’s lawyer said he was “sorry to hear her in so much pain” and that he loved his daughter “very much”.
The pop singer is currently paying the bills for both sides in the case.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.