After 13 years of controlling her career and personal life, Jamie Spears has agreed to leave his position as legal guardian ‘when the time is right’. Mathew Rosengart, who was appointed as Britney’s lawyer last month, called it ‘a major victory for Britney Spears and another step toward justice’.
A conservatorship means the court appoints a guardian to manage aspects of an individual’s life when they cannot make decisions for themselves, most commonly due to dementia or other serious mental illnesses. After her very public breakdown in 2007, Britney was placed under a temporary conservatorship which was then extended indefinitely. The conservatorship that currently governs Britney Spears’ life is split in two parts, one covering her finances and the other her personal life. Her father Jamie Spears was in control of both parts until ill health made him step down from managing her personal life in 2019, and he was replaced by Jodi Montgomery, a professional conservator.
In July this year, during a court hearing, Britney spoke out for the first time about the impact the conservatorship has had on her life. She described it as ‘abusive’ and revealed that she was forced to tour against her will, prescribed Lithium she could not refuse to take after years on a different medication, stopped from seeing her partner and friends and prevented from removing her IUD and having another child. The details have horrified us all, and as Britney herself pointed out, she is not the only one trapped without power over her own life. In her statement she mentioned the ‘thousand conservatorships that are abusive as well…the laws need to change.’
Last week Rosengart filed a petition asking the court to immediately remove Jamie Spears as conservator. In a statement, he said that Britney Spears ‘continues to suffer ongoing harm each day that Mr. Spears remains in place as the Conservator of the Estate — emotionally, psychologically, and financially.’
Jamie Spears has repeatedly denied any allegations of abusing his position as conservator, but the claims were backed by Britney’s mother, Lynne Spears. She testified that Jamie Spears has used those who work with and for his daughter in all areas of her life to ‘inform on and report back to him each and every detail of every action’ which she described as ‘exhausting and terrifying’ and ‘like living in custody’.
It was also revealed that Jamie Spears has profited from the conservatorship – giving himself $2000 a month more of his daughter’s money than he gives her in allowance, as well as taking a percentage of her performance contracts.
Rosengart alluded to this in his petition to remove Jamie Spears.
‘Although it is common for managers, agents and other industry professionals to receive a percentage of an artists’ earnings, Mr. Spears is none of those. He is a conservator, and, as a conservator, his role is to be burdened by, rather than benefit from, the conservatorship.’
As Britney herself put it, the people who control her life, ‘need to be reminded they actually work for me’.
This victory in the case feels like an important moment, both in challenging the way the law works and in forcing a discussion about the way celebrity culture treats human beings as commodities. Her father’s decision to back down is proof of the power of Britney’s legal team, but also of the #freebritney movement, which has been gathering momentum with celebrities and fans alike since the release of Framing Britney Spears earlier this year.
We’ll keep you up to date on hot topics and industry news. You’ll be kept up to date on a need to know basis on all things culture, you won’t want to leave…