On Nov. 12, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge freed Britney Spears from her conservatorship that originally began with her father, Jaime Spears. After entering the conservatorship in February 2008, Britney has spent the last 13 years with her father in official control over her career, finances and estate.
The California state court defines Britney’s conservatorship as a court case in which a judge appoints a person or organization (the “conservator”) to be responsible for the care of another adult (the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances, as determined by the court.
Spears’ conservatorship traces back to January 2008, when she was hospitalized twice on a 5150 hold: An adult experiencing a mental health crisis is involuntarily detained for a 72-hour psychiatric hospitalization when evaluated to be a danger to others, to himself or herself or gravely disabled. Soon after, in February 2008, the court named Jaime Spears as Britney’s conservator. It was originally labeled as an emergency conservatorship, but in July 2008, it was extended to the end of the year. In October 2008, the court indefinitely extended the conservatorship.
Fans of Britney began the #FreeBritney movement in 2019 after suspecting that she was no longer in control of her career and medical decisions. The widespread traction of the movement led to the public realization that Britney was no longer in control of anything, and supporters pushed for the conservatorship to end. According to Billboard, in September 2020, Britney’s first publicized support for the #FreeBritney movement was documented in a court filing as “Britney welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her many fans.”
The case has experienced the most traction within the past year. In November 2020, Britney pleaded for the immediate removal of her father as her conservator in a court filing. She also expressed her fear of performing because of her father. The release of the New York Times #FreeBritney documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” in February 2021 brought attention back to the movement.
In June 2021, Britney spoke for the first time in 13 years about her experience living under a conservator. According to the Rolling Stones, in her 20-minute remote testimony, Britney described the “abusive” conservatorship and how she had no control of her life and body. She discussed how she was forced to perform and how her father stopped her from having any more children by requiring her to get an IUD as birth control. After the hearing, many of the conservators added to Britney’s case over the years began resigning, such as the Bessemer Trust.
After finally being able to hire her own attorney in July 2021, a more aggressive initiative to end Spears’ conservatorship began. After Britney spoke out against her father and sister, Jaime Spears — Britney’s sister — was pushed into finally filing to end her sister’s conservatorship in September 2021. After the initial conservator was removed, the court completely terminated her entire conservatorship on Nov. 12.
Following the court’s termination of her conservatorship, Britney expressed gratitude for her fans on social media. Immediately after the conservatorship ended, Britney tweeted, “Good God I love my fans so much it’s crazy,” adding #BritneyFreed.