Britney Spears battles for freedom against conservatorship

Enjelica Sangster, Managing Editor

What started as a dream come true for the Princess of Pop, turned into a dreadful nightmare filled with mental and physical imprisonment. Locked in the battle between family and freedom, which will she choose? Will she find the freedom she has been hoping for or will her family maintain a powerful psychological hold over her?

Britney Spears was born a healthy baby on December 2, 1981, in McComb, Mississippi. As Britney got older, her mother, Lynne Spears, took notice of Britney’s star potential and wasted no time preparing Britney to be a performer. Britney was then put into dance and singing class at the age of three.

Not only was she enrolled in singing lessons, but she also was in ballet, jazz, gymnastics, talent shows, dance competitions, and local TV shows. All these activities became expensive for the Spears family but they were determined to make Britney a star like they knew she could be. 

Britney began to immerse herself in a variety of different opportunities which then enabled her to continue her career in singing. By 1996, Britney was recruited by Larry Rudolph and he pitched Britney to different record labels as a solo artist. A popular record label known as Jive Records thought that Britney had just the commercial appeal they were looking for and signed with Britney, thus starting her music career.

As time went on, Britney’s career began to take off. First starting with her debut album, ‘Baby One More Time’ and other popular songs such as, “Gimme More,” “Toxic,” and “Oops I Did It Again,” she gained more momentum and boosted her popularity. 

However, with her growing popularity, her privacy waned. Both fans and paparazzi swarmed the pop star, prying into her personal life. Whether it was invasive or inappropriate, questions were asked anyway.

Additionally, many people condemned Britney based on the way she dressed on stage; constantly saying she was a bad role model for the younger kids that looked up to her. 

“Everybody is gonna have an opinion and you can’t please everybody, ” said Britney Spears in an interview with ABC News. “But as long as you’re comfortable, I say wear what you wanna wear.”

Even when she did typical adult activities like drinking alcohol or smoking, the media would always catch a photo of her; which made the rounds in the media. The media was constantly following Britney wherever she went no matter where she was, constantly trying to get pictures and getting her agitated on purpose. No matter what Britney did or where she was they would always be there. The consistent pestering by the media began to take a toll on her mental health.

Britney’s mental health started to decline at a rapid rate all in front of the paparazzi’s eyes. This led to multiple rebellious acts that Britney had taken part in to rebel against her controlling family and the advancement of the paparazzi.

Her first act of rebellion began at a local hairdresser in Tarzana, California. The studio was closed but it was opened just for Britney and she proceeded to buzz all her hair off. 

“I don’t want anyone touching me,” Britney stated to her hairdresser. “I’m tired of everybody touching me.”

Britney then drove to a tattoo parlor and got two tattoos; red lips on her arm and then a small cross on her back. All these actions then started an intensive media frenzy. 

On February 19, Britney was admitted into rehab for two days. But that did not stop the media from criticizing her in a variety of articles and blogs.

Eventually, with all of the constant criticism of the media and Britney’s rapidly declining mental health, her family began to take notice and put her in a conservatorship.

According to economic and policy specialist, Eric Reed, a conservatorship is a “form of legal guardianship of an adult.”

This means that the adult that is put under the conservatorship is not fit enough to take care of themself. This can range from medical incapacities to irresponsibility. In Britney’s case, it was her mental health. This caused her father, Jamie Spears, to step in and become her conservator. 

“I understand that every story needs a villain. But people have it so wrong here,” said Jamie Spears’ lawyer, Vivian Thoreen. “This is a story about a fiercely loyal, loving, and dedicated father who rescued his daughter from a life-threatening situation. People were harming her, and they were exploiting her.”

With Jamie being Britney’s conservator, he has access to all of her assets, income, and other aspects of her life. Now, he controls the majority of her life. For example, she couldn’t have a child without her parents’ permission, she couldn’t hang out with certain people unless permission was given, and she couldn’t just leave the house with permission being granted. This has left many wondering if this was for the betterment of Britney and her mental state or just for the selfish greed of the father.

“I feel like her father is holding control over every little thing she does,” said Junior Toni Jones. “It’s gross, she should have her free will and I hate the way they paint her out to be mentally ill and crazy.”

Eventually, Britney’s fans began to catch wind of the situation through her  “strange” videos that she posted on different online platforms. For example, on TikTok she posted a video of her dancing and handing flowers to the camera; her fans in the comments then told her to wear a yellow shirt in her next video if she needed help and that is exactly what she did. Her fans began to think something was seriously wrong thus beginning the infamous Free Britney movement (or #FreeBritney). 

Fans held protests and rallies to try and help free Britney from her 12-year conservatorship and the movement quickly gained momentum on social media.

For 12 years since 2008, Jamie Spears has had a hold over Britney’s life, finances, and assets. He controlled what she did and who she saw. Jamie Spears even went to an extreme and dictated whether she could have a baby or not through birth control.

“She’s an adult, let her live a little,” said junior Maddie Musto. “Her father has been taking a chunk of her finances and being in charge of her whole life.”

Despite this, her fans believed that there was still hope at the end of the tunnel for Britney. As of September 8, Jamie Spears has filed a petition to end her conservatorship. Two months prior, Britney testified against her father and the conservatorship. Throughout her testimony, she talked about the things that she was forced to do. For example, if she didn’t want a certain dance move in a number her manager would claim that she was not following the contract and would be sued.

On September 29, Jamie Spears was permanently suspended from the conservatorship all together by a judge’s order effective immediately.  This decision could be based on her fans signing petitions and fighting for Britney online and in-person or the testimonial that Britney had given in court. Whatever the reason may be, Britney could finally have a taste of freedom after 13 years of struggle.

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