Published: 08th October 2021
What The FAQ: Britney Spears is in a battle to lose her dad's conservatorship. What exactly is this all about?
If you've been active on social media in the last couple of years, you've definitely come across #FreeBritney. If you've wondered what the legendary musician is trying to escape, we have the answers
American pop legend Britney Spears seems to have become synonymous with two things: her incredible music, and her struggle against conservatorship over the years. Here, we break down what conservatorship really means, and why Britney has never been able to see eye-to-eye with it.
What is conservatorship in plain and simple terms?
A conservator is a court-appointed individual who becomes responsible to manage the financial affairs of a minor, or an adult who is deemed unstable, and incapable of handling their own affairs. A conservatorship for a minor is supposed to end when they reach the age of 18. In California, the state which imposed conservatorship on Britney, the law says that a conservator can be appointed for “person who is unable to provide properly for his or her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter” or for someone “substantially unable to manage his or her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence.”
Why was conservatorship imposed on Britney Spears?
In 2008, Britney Spears was around 27 years old. Apart from being a larger-than-life pop star, she was also fresh out of a divorce and mom to two kids. It is reported that her divorce caused her mental health troubles, and she began displaying behavioral issues that included incidents of locking herself in the bathroom with her son, refusing to give up custody, and hitting a photographer's car with an umbrella. The former incident dragged legal authorities into the matter and after days of legal proceedings, the court took a mere ten minutes to award Britney's father Jamie Spears temporary conservatorship of her estate.
What became of Britney once her father was given conservatorship?
On February 1, Britney was in the psychiatric ward when the conservatorship was awarded to her father. It was supposed to last only up until February 4. However, when she left the ward on February 6, she was still under conservatorship. She hired an attorney to challenge this, but her father claimed that she didn't have the capacity to hire a lawyer. The court upheld her father's claims, and new rules were set in place under an extended "temporary" conservatorship, where she would get monthly allowances, and had to undergo psychological and mental evaluations.
What impact did the conservatorship have on Britney?
The pop star has been contesting the conservatorship quietly ever since she got out of that psychiatric ward in 2008. In an interview given to MTV, she said that there was no joy in her life anymore, and compared the conservatorship to constant incarceration. However, she stayed active as a musician, and her mental health also stabilised. In 2019, she took a hiatus from her career to officially and legally contest her conservatorship.
How did it all end?
The public, and the who's who of the celeb world, came out in support of Britney Spears in 2019, and the hashtag #FreeBritney trended on social media for months. Now, a hearing in court is set for November 12, where Britney hopes that it will be terminated for good.