#FreeBritney stirs up controversy about pop star Britney Spears’s conservatorship

Is the pop star a prisoner under her father’s conservatorship?

Maggie Blackburn, Arts & Culture Writer

Renowned 39-year-old pop singer Britney Spears has not legally controlled her life for almost 13 years since her several (very public) mental breakdowns. In 2007, she lost custody of her two sons to ex-husband Kevin Federline, and she went into a salon in Tarzana, California, and walked out with a shaved head. Days later, she was seen attacking a photographer’s car with an umbrella at a gas station before speeding away. Then in 2008, she went to rehab multiple times and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital twice. 

During this time, the court approved Spears’s conservatorship. Her father had petitioned for a “temporary conservatorship” after her second psychiatric hold. According to Insider Magazine, “A conservatorship is also known as a legal guardianship. It’s granted to those who are incapable of making decisions, such as people with mental disabilities and those with dementia.” Spears currently has no control over her financial or personal life, all of that power was given to her father, Jamie Spears. 

For a long time, fans have been concerned about whether or not the conservatorship is in Spears’ best interest. FreeBritney.net launched in 2009 claiming that there is no need for a conservatorship this far into her life and career. “Her conservators decide whether or not she works, as she cannot enter into contracts for herself because she is legally not her own person,” the website says. “Britney Spears needs permission from her conservators to leave her house or spend any of her own money.”

Spears’s siblings and friends have also spoken up about the conservatorship. Her brother, Bryan Spears, said in a July 2020 interview with the podcast “As NOT Seen on TV,” “She’s wanted to get out of it for quite some time.” He also goes on to say it is very frustrating for her to constantly have someone tell her what to do.

Spears’s longtime friend Paris Hilton said, “I feel like if you are an adult you should be able to live your life and not be controlled.”

In February, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny denied Jamie Spears more power over his daughter. This stirred up questions as to whether he was fit for the role or not. Lawyer David Esquibias said, “It appears that the court lacks some confidence in the father.” Many believe that they are starting to listen to Spears herself, which fans believe is a step in the right direction.

Last month, Hulu released a New York Times documentary called “Framing Britney Spears,” that re-examines her upbringing in the music industry from a modern lens, including a breakdown of the details of her conservatorship. 

A lot of the issues that families, friends and fans have with the conservatorship stems from the lack of control Britney has in her life. They want her to be “free,” hence the movement title, “Free Britney.”