Britney Spears’s private life has been on display ever since she burst on the scene back in the late ’90s with “…Baby One More Time.” It seems that every few months, new questions arise about the conservatorship the pop icon has been under since 2008 (initially with her father, Jamie Spears, in charge), with some fans even starting a #FreeBritney campaign.
But what, exactly, does a conservatorship mean, and what does the Spears family have to say about it? Let’s break it all down.
What is a conservatorship?
According to the Judicial Branch of California’s official website, a conservatorship is “a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the ‘conservator’) to care for another adult (called the ‘conservatee’) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.”
In February 2008, Britney Spears was put under a temporary psychiatric hold in Los Angeles, where she was treated at a UCLA facility. Following those measures, her father and an attorney were granted a temporary—then permanent (in October 2008)—conservatorship over her assets, estate, and business affairs.
The order has been in place ever since, though Jamie stepped down as a conservator in September 2019 due to “personal health reasons,” with Britney’s longtime “care manager,” Jodi Montgomery, taking his place.
In August 2020, People obtained new court documents that show Britney is “strongly opposed” to Jamie returning as conservator and instead “strongly prefers” Montgomery continue in the role. “We are now at a point where the conservatorship must be changed substantially in order to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and her stated wishes,” Britney’s court-appointed attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, says in the filing, according to the outlet.
There is a certain segment of the internet that’s become convinced Britney is sending secret messages to fans asking for help. It really gained steam back in 2019 but seems to pop back up again every few months, especially when Brit is active on social media. The gist is that fans think Britney wants out of the conservatorship, and they’ve started a movement, #FreeBritney, to support her. For a really deep dive on the movement, click here.
She even responded to fans concerned about her well-being with an Instagram post in April 2019.
What does her family say about all of this?
In July 2020, Jamie Lynn Spears shut down someone on social media who was questioning her older sister’s mental health. “You have no right to assume anything about my sister. And I have no right to speak about HER health and personal matters,” she wrote to the commenter. “She is a strong, badass, unstoppable woman, and that’s the only thing that is OBVIOUS.”
In August 2020, Jamie Spears finally spoke out about the #FreeBritney movement.
“All these conspiracy theorists don’t know anything. The world don’t have a clue,” he told Page Six. “It’s up to the court of California to decide what’s best for my daughter. It’s no one else’s business. I have to report every nickel and dime spent to the court every year. How the hell would I steal something?”
Jamie Spears also spoke out about the aggressive behavior of some fans. “People are being stalked and targeted with death threats,” he said. “It’s horrible. We don’t want those kinds of fans. I love my daughter. I love all my kids. But this is our business. It’s private.”
In late August 2020, news came to light that Jamie Lynn Spears had been appointed trustee of Britney’s SJB Revocable Trust, which means she’s responsible for making sure Britney’s fortune is placed in a trust that will benefit her children in the event of her death. The appointment happened in 2018, according to Entertainment Tonight.
This post may be updated as new information becomes available.