TOPLINE: A judge has rejected a November request by Britney Spears to have her father removed as the conservator of her estate, court papers show, a week after the pop star delivered a blistering testimony describing his control as “abusive” and akin to “sex trafficking,” although the denial is not a response to Spears’ recent statement.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny rejected Spears’ request to have her father, Jamie Spears, ousted from the conservatorship role he has held for 13 years, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
While rejecting the bid to remove her father as conservator, the judge did permit the singer’s request to have the Bessemer Trust, a wealth management firm, appointed as co-conservator.
The filing follows an impassioned testimony Spears delivered to court last week urging it to end the conservatorship and accusing her father and members of the team of exploitation, preventing her removing a contraceptive device and medicating her with lithium against her wishes, a mood stabilizer most commonly used to treat bipolar disorder.
The judge did not take that testimony into account when evaluating this request as Spears has not filed a formal petition to end the conservatorship.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Britney Spears has not yet filed a petition to end her conservatorship completely. With her father still partially in control and the singer now open to taking more aggressive moves to end the conservatorship, it’s possible this could be her next step.
In her testimony last week, Spears pleaded to the judge: “I just want my life back. And it’s been 13 years. And it’s enough. It’s been a long time since I’ve owned my money. And it’s my wish and my dream for all of this to end without being tested.”
Britney has been trying to end her conservatorship—which gives its managers an incredible amount of control over her personal and business affairs—for years. Initially, a court placed Spears under conservatorship in 2008 following a series of mental health crises and very public breakdowns, including shaving her head and attacking a photographer’s car with an umbrella. The move was initially successful in reviving the singer’s business affairs, which moved from debt to a net worth of over $60 million, resulted in numerous albums, a lengthy Las Vegas residency and a judging gig on the X Factor. Yet Spears, arguably one of the world’s most marketable pop stars, has not released an album since 2016 or performed live since 2018. She has been on a total hiatus since early 2019 and vowed her career will stall while her father is in control. More recently, fans and other musicians have spoken out about her treatment, launching the “Free Britney” movement and protesting that the singer should be given more control over her life.
Jamie Spears claims he is acting in his daughter’s interest and denies that he is responsible for many of the restrictions allegedly placed on his daughter. In particular, he has not been in charge of her personal or medical affairs after he stepped down from the position in 2019 due to ill health. He has called for his co-conservator, Jodi Montgomery, to be investigated over his daughter’s claims. Montgomery is reportedly in charge of medical and personal decisions.
$2.4 million. That’s how much Spears has paid her father as a “salary” since February 2009, a year after he was named conservator of her estate. This figure does not include other expenses and payouts like a percentage of touring revenue, legal bills and office rental.
By Robert Hart, Forbes Staff