Pop music icon Britney Spears stunned the public with a series of revelations about the terms of her conservatorship today (24 June), telling a judge overseeing the legal arrangement that it is “abusive” and has left her “traumatised”.
The superstar has even testified that she has been drugged against her will and is not allowed to remove a device from her body that prevents her from getting pregnant, according to E! News. In a 20-minute testimony, she spoke via phone at a hearing in the Los Angeles Superior Court to end the legal agreement that gives her father and others control over her life.
This is the first time she appeared before the court regarding her conservatorship in two years. But before we jump into what came out of today’s hearing, here’s a short recap of who and what has power over Britney…
Britney Spears’s father, James Parnell Spears, had power over her life choices from 2008 until 2019. He and lawyer Andrew Wallet controlled her money. Mr Spears now only has control over his daughter’s financial decisions, a role he shares with an estate-management firm, Bessemer Trust.
A court-appointed professional, Jodi Montgomery, acts as a conservator over her personal matters.
The conservatorship – a legal arrangement typically used to protect the old, mentally disabled or extremely ill – gives others the power over Britney, including her medical decisions, her business deals, her choice to marry, who visits her, when and how she can visit her sons and also taking out restraining orders in her name.
In court, Britney described the conservatorship, which has been in place for the past 13 years, as “abusive” and akin to being a victim of sex trafficking.
So, here are some of the most alarming things Britney said in court:
1. She alleges she’s been forced to be on birth control despite wanting a baby
“I want to get married and have a baby,” said Britney, who’s been in a relationship with model Sam Asghari since meeting on the set of one of her music videos in 2016. “I have a device inside of me that means I can’t have a baby. I want it taken out, but they won’t take me to the doctor to get it taken out,” she said, referring to an intrauterine device (IUD).
2. She says she was forced to take the drug Lithium
Britney said that after she went on hiatus from her Las Vegas residency in early 2019, her conservators forced her to take the drug Lithium, a type of mood stabiliser used to treat various disorders. The drug made her lose her bearings, she said.
“It’s a strong drug. You can go mentally impaired if you stay on it longer than five months… I felt drunk. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad about anything. They had me with six different nurses,” she said.
3. She compared her forced work to “sex trafficking”
Her father and the other conservators allegedly forced her to perform against her will, both on tour and in Las Vegas.
“The control he had to hurt his own daughter – he loved it… I worked seven days a week… It was like sex trafficking. I didn’t have a credit card, cash or my passport… I should not be in a conservatorship like this if I can work, provide for myself and provide for other people,” she said.
4. She wants to sue her family
Spears wants to take legal action against her family members who have benefitted from the conservatorship, which pays a hefty amount. According to HuffPost, her father reportedly receives $16,000 a month for his role, and she has to pay for his legal team to fight her in court.
“I want to sue my family… They should be in jail. I just want my life back,” she said.
5. She was silenced from speaking out about her situation
Spears described a life in which she’s coerced into staying quiet about her pain and distress.
“I wish I could stay with you on the phone forever, because when I get off the phone with you, all of a sudden all I hear is, I hear all these ‘no’s… All of a sudden I feel ganged up on, and I feel bullied and I feel left out and alone,” she told the judge.
She also revealed that she didn’t even know she could petition to end the conservatorship ― something her attorney, Sam Ingham, should have informed her of.
Britney said her lawyer, whom she claims she was not allowed to choose on her own, also told her she could not speak out about her situation.
“My attorney says I can’t let the public know what they did to me,” she told the judge.
Britney also said she has lost faith in the people entrusted with her care. “I’m scared of people… I don’t trust people with what I’ve been through”.
Listen to Britney’s court hearing speech, here:
All we have to say is #FREEBRITNEY.