Britney Spears wins freedom after conservatorship is terminated

With her 13-year-conservatorship finally behind her, pop star Britney Spears is moving on with her life.

Spears will always remember the sunny afternoon in LA, California on November 12 when the warm air was filled with the sound of cheers and chants to her hit song “Stronger”. Fans danced in the street and joyfully sang the lyrics, “My loneliness ain’t killing me no more”.

Why were fans celebrating? Because Brenda J. Penny, a judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, had finally approved the termination of Britney Spears’s 13 year-long conservatorship.

“The conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is no longer required,” Judge Penny said in her ruling.

Fans of Britney Spears celebrate following a court decision ending Spears’ conservatorship outside an LA courthouse on November 12. Photo: Ringo Chiu/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock.

But that is not the only thing on Britney’s mind. Wedding bells have also been ringing.

Sam Asghari, Spears’ fiancé, had been waiting a long time to propose and as the conservatorship grew closer to an end, the couple become engaged in September 2021.

Previously a conservator would have had to sign their marriage licence on behalf of Spears.

The pop icon can also consider having more children, following her shocking allegation in her testimony that she was forced to use an IUD and wanted this removed.

It is clear Spears has enjoyed her new found sense of freedom as she shared pictures on social media accounts showing herself with fiancé heading off on a holiday to celebrate her 40th birthday in December.

Tight rules

This marks a dramatic change from the last decade, when Spears had to comply with conditions of her conservatorship in which people had control over decisions in her personal life and her health and estate.

Concerned fans repeatedly criticised the conservatorship, even as she continued to work as a performer and entertainer with a four-year residency in Las Vegas, and set up the #FreeBritneySpears movement to help free her, gaining support from other celebrities.

Spears fought for years to win back her independence and her victory means she can finally retake control of her affairs.

Britney Spears with Sam Asghari at the World Premiere Of ‘Once Upon a Time In Hollywood’. Photo: Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock.

What is a conservatorship?

When a court deems a person to be incapacitated – lacking the mental or physical abilities to manage their personal care, property, or finances, a conservator is appointed to manage the person’s affairs. The conservator is allowed to make decisions on behalf of the person, referred to as a conservatee, and this legal arrangement is called a conservatorship.

Britney’s conservatorship was split into two parts – one for her estate and financial affairs and the other for her as a person.

Following a series of public incidents in 2007 where Britney was spotted shaving her head and hitting a photographer’s car with an umbrella, concerns were raised about her mental welfare. Jamie Spears, Britney’s father, petitioned the courts at the time for an emergency temporary conservatorship.

I just want my life back

In Spears’ case, the conservatorship – extended numerous times between 2009 and 2019 (see Timeline below) – followed a troubled history.

In June, Britney directly addressed an open court with a harrowing account of what she had endued under the conservatorship and pleaded for it to be terminated.

During the remote hearing she said: “I’m not here to be anyone’s slave,” and revealed how she had been forced to work, forced to use an IUD (contraceptive device) and was not allowed to get married. She begged to have control again and said: “I just want my life back.”

Although Judge Penny warned that recording and live tweeting during the court testimony was not allowed, the audio made the rounds on the internet just hours later.

In July, Bessemer Trust requested to resign from her conservatorship, shortly followed by Larry Rudolph, her manager, who submitted his resignation to the conservators.

In the same month her lawyer resigned from her conservatorship allowing Britney to finally have the freedom to choose her own attorney.

In months following this after further demands that Jamie Spears step down from his role, Jamie Spears filed a petition to finally end the conservatorship. He was suspended from his role and in November the arrangement was terminated.

Britney Spears at Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Party in 2017. Photo: Jim Smeal/Shutterstock.

In September, California governor, Gavin Newsom signed a bill nicknamed the “Free Britney” bill into law. The bill will reform conservatorships by addressing loopholes in the system and improving transparency in the conservatorship process.

After a tremulous journey Spears got her life back.

Spears’ conservatorship: a timeline

On January 3 2008, Spears was admitted to hospital under a temporary psychiatric assessment ruling due to allegedly refusing to surrender her children to Federline, and had a stand-off involving police.

In February 2008 a Los Angeles court placed Britney Spears and her estate under the temporary control of father Jamie Spears whilst she remained under supervision for a second time that year at a psychiatric hospital.

It was in 2009 that fans launched #FreeBritneySpears movement, which ended up playing a huge part in the end of her conservatorship. The movement gained public momentum and support from celebrities including Cher and Paris Hilton.

Jamie Spears had been in charge of both parts of the conservatorship, but temporarily stepped down as his daughter’s personal conservator in 2019 and was replaced by a care professional, Jodi Montgomery.

Case goes public

In September 2020, Britney argued to make her case public. Her lawyers filed an objection for Jamie Spears’ motion to have Andrew Wallet, the attorney first appointed to be co-conservator of Britney’s estate, reprise his role.

Shortly afterwards in November a new court filing requested the immediate removal of Jamie Spears from being co-conservator of Britney’s financial affairs.

Earlier days, Britney Spears performs with a snake during the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. Photo: Beth A Keiser/AP/Shutterstock.

In February 2021, the New York Times released documentary Framing Britney Spears that gained major A-list support.

In March, Jamie’s attorney told CNN that he would like to see Britney not need a conservatorship and if she wanted to end it she can file a petition.

In the same month, Britney requested Jodi Montgomery to remain as Conservator.

In April, Britney’s attorney requested for Britney to address the court herself which was made on an expedited basis.

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