“I have a lot to say, so bear with me.”
So began Britney Spears’s first court appearance since 2019, which culminated in the 39-year-old asking for a path to freedom from the conservatorship she’s been subject to for 13 years. During a 24-minute speech, the pop star described being forced to tour, put on medications against her will, and stripped of agency to the point that she’s been unable to get married or have more children.
“I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m OK and I’m happy,” Britney said. “If I said that enough, maybe I’d become happy. … I’m in shock. I’m traumatized. … I’m so angry it’s insane.”
For more than a decade, Britney’s father Jamie has wielded almost total control of the star’s affairs and finances. The court-ordered arrangement that governs her personal and professional life is applied mostly to the elderly or disabled, which has been a source of significant outcry from both fans and legal advocates. Despite Britney’s relative silence about the arrangement, a cadre of fans has long speculated that the star was unhappy and desperate to be free from her father and his co-conservators, launching the headline-grabbing #FreeBritney movement.
During her statement to the court, Britney said she’d consider suing her family for the trauma she says she’s endured. Describing an instance when she was put on the medication lithium, Britney said she felt “drunk” and like she couldn’t properly defend herself. “Not only did my family not do a goddamn thing,” she said Wednesday, “my dad was all for it.”
Britney also claimed to the court that she’s been unable to make family planning decisions on her own behalf. “I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told I’m not able to get married and have a baby,” she said, explaining that she currently has an Intrauterine Device and that she’s been unable to see a doctor to have it removed.
After a break in Wednesday’s proceedings, an attorney gave a statement on behalf of Jamie Spears: “He is sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain. He misses his daughter and loves her very much.”
Several times during her fevered statement, Britney reiterated that she wants to petition to end the conservatorship and that she doesn’t want to be forced into a rigorous psychiatric evaluation to be freed from it. “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive,” Britney said. “I don’t feel like I can live a whole life.”
Presiding Judge Brenda Penny—who eventually closed the hearing when she was notified someone was recording the hearing in violation of a court order—thanked Britney for appearing. Only time will tell if the court hears her out.
“I certainly am sensitive to everything you said and how you’re feeling,” Penny said. “The court does appreciate your coming on the line and sharing how you’re feeling.”