“I Cry Every Day”: Here Are The Biggest Takeaways From Britney Spears’ Revealing Court Address
The pop star pleaded with a judge to remove her strict conservatorship, which has for more than a decade controlled her finances, her body, and dictates when she works.
The public heard Britney Spears speak openly for the first time about the restrictive conservatorship she’s been under for more than a decade, calling it “abusive” and revealing shocking details about the parts of her life that are controlled by others.
Spears, 39, addressed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny directly on Wednesday via phone call, which was made available to several media outlets, and gave an impassioned speech describing the parameters of her conservatorship.
“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I don’t feel like I can live a full life,” Spears said to the court. “I just want my life back.”
Spears has been under a court-ordered conservatorship since 2008, when she was 26, after widespread speculation about her mental health. The legal agreement has given her father Jamie Spears authority over her finances and professional decisions. In February, a Los Angeles judge ordered Jamie Spears to remain a co-conservator alongside financial company Bessemer Trust. In March, Spears filed a petition to remove her father as conservator, similar to efforts her legal team made with middling success in 2020.
Fans formed the “Free Britney” movement in 2019 after speculating that Spears’ father had outsized authority over her decisions, even as she continued to earn her team millions as a performer.
“It’s embarrassing and demoralizing what I’ve been through. And that’s the main reason I’ve never said it openly,” Spears said. “I honestly don’t think anyone would believe me.”
Spears told the court on Wednesday that she didn’t feel “heard” the last time she spoke in front of a judge in 2019 about her conservatorship, and then detailed some aspects of the arrangement that left her “traumatized.”
Here are some of the key takeaways:
Spears “lied” to the world in social media posts
The pop superstar had previously posted on Instagram following the release of the documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” and wrote that she finds ways to keep her own “joy” and “happiness.” According to Spears, that was a lie.
“I’ve lied and told the whole world ‘I’m OK and I’m happy.’ It’s a lie. I thought [that] just maybe if I said that enough, maybe I might become happy, because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized. You know, fake it till you make it. But now I’m telling you the truth, OK? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Spears also said she feels “ganged up on” and “bullied” and “alone.”
She was forced to keep a birth control device in
Spears, who is a mother of two boys, said she wants to get married and have more kids but has been prevented from doing so.
“I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby, I have a [Intrauterine Device] inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the (IUD) out so I could start trying to have another baby. But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children – any more children.”
Forced to tour in 2018
“My management said if I don’t do this tour, I will have to find an attorney, and by contract my own management could sue me if I didn’t follow through with the tour,” she said. “It was very threatening and scary. And with the conservatorship, I couldn’t even get my own attorney. So out of fear, I went ahead and I did the tour.”
Spears also said she did not want to do a certain dance move during rehearsals, which led to her team labeling her as uncooperative. She said “it was as if I planted a huge bomb somewhere” and led to her being evaluated.
“Ma’am, I’m not here to be anyone’s slave. I can say no to a dance move.”
Spears was put on lithium
Spears said after the dance move debacle, her team told her therapist that she was not cooperating with rehearsals and wasn’t taking her medications. “All this was false,” Spears maintained.
“[My therapist] took me off my normal meds I’ve been on for five years. And lithium is a very, very strong and completely different medication compared to what I was used to,” she said. “He put me on that and I felt drunk.”
Her dad was behind the decisions
“Not only did my family not do a goddamn thing, my dad was all for it. Anything that happened to me had to be approved by my dad.”
Spears continued that her dad told her she was being sent to a rehab program in Beverly Hills where she would have to pay $60,000 a month because she had “failed” a psych evaluation.
“I cried on the phone for an hour and [my dad] loved every minute of it,” she said. “[I’ve] worked for my dad for the past f***ing 13 years, trying to be so good and pretty. So perfect. When he works me so hard.”
Spears was watched 24/7
“I worked seven days a week, no days off, which in California, the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking. Making anyone work against their will, taking all their possessions away — credit card, cash, phone, passport — and placing them in a home where they work with the people who live with them,” Spears said. “They watched me change every day — naked — morning, noon and night. My body — I had no privacy door for my room. I gave eight vials of blood a week.”
At one point, Spears said that anyone involved in her conservatorship “should be in jail.”
Asked to have conservatorship removed without another evaluation
Spears repeatedly asked the judge to petition against the agreement and requested that the conservatorship be lifted without having to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
“I’ve met with enough people against my will. I’m done,” she said. “All I want is to own my money, for this to end, and my boyfriend to drive me in his f***ing car.”
She wants to sue her family and tell her story
“I would honestly like to sue my family,” she continued. "I also would like to be able to share my story with the world, and what they did to me, instead of it being a hush-hush secret to benefit all of them. I want to be able to be heard on what they did to me by making me keep this in for so long.”
Spears continued: “I’m told I’m not allowed to expose the people who did this to me.”
Called on California laws to change
“I shouldn’t be in a conservatorship if I can work and provide money and work for myself and pay other people — it makes no sense,” Spears continued. “The laws need to change. What state allows people to own another person’s money and account and threaten them and saying, ‘You can’t spend your money unless you do what we want you to do.’ And I’m paying them.”