Britney Spears has for years expressed serious opposition to the guardianship that gave her father control of his finances and personal life, according to confidential documents obtained by The New York Times.
The 39-year-old pop star has rarely commented on the unusual legal arrangement that has deprived her of her independence since 2008. But records reviewed by The Times, which co-produced a documentary on the difficult process that led to the guardianship, reveal that she has repeatedly opposed the authority the courts have bestowed on her father, Jamie Spears.
“She explained that she believed the guardianship had become an oppressive and controlling tool against her,” a court investigator wrote in 2016, according to the Times report. The singer said the system had “too much control… Too much, too much! “, Summarized the investigator. The arrangement was so strict, Spears said, that it gave her father the power to decide who she dated and befriended and how she designed her home, according to the records.
The documents came to light a day before the singer publicly addressed the court in a guardianship hearing, an important moment in a multi-year battle in which she almost never commented directly. The legal battle over guardianship has been shrouded in secrecy for years, although Spears, through his duty counsel, recently pushed for more transparency and made it clear in court last year that ‘she didn’t want her father involved in his affairs anymore.
In 2016, the court investigator said the singer asked for the guardianship to be terminated as soon as possible: “She’s sick of being exploited and she said she was the one who worked and made her money, but everyone around her is on her. pays, ”The Times reported.
The singer also explained that she was surrounded by security personnel at all times and that her credit card was held by her security team and assistant. She lamented to the investigator that she couldn’t make cosmetic changes to her home, including repainting her kitchen cabinets.
In 2019, the singer told the judge the guardianship forced her to stay in a mental health facility and perform against her will, according to the newspaper.
While earning millions of dollars from her Las Vegas residency, the singer also only received a weekly stipend of $ 2,000, records revealed.
The Times also uncovered documents from a closed-door hearing in 2014, in which Spears court-appointed attorney Samuel D Ingham III said the singer wanted to explore her father’s impeachment as a conservative. , raising concerns about his drinking and a “shopping list” of other grievances.
Guardianship attorneys at the hearing said Jamie had voluntarily taken blood alcohol tests, but the father’s attorney said he took one test and refused to take any more, alleging the request was “inappropriate,” The Times reported. The judge agreed, responding: “Absolutely inappropriate. And who is she to demand this from anyone?
Ingham replied that Spears was upset that the court had dismissed her concerns: “She told me, when she gave me this shopping list, that she expected that, as has been done before, the court will sweep it away.” just under the rug and ignore any negative inferences about Mr. Spears, ”the transcript reads.
The Times’ documentary Framing Britney Spears, which was released earlier this year, highlighted the contradictions in the singer’s arrangement – that she could sell out shows and make millions, but also be seen as unable to make fundamental decisions about their health and finances. . The singer’s estate pays for her father’s lawyer and others involved in controlling her life.
Guardianship is a type of judicial guardianship intended for people who can no longer make decisions on their own, usually the elderly and infirm. But critics have argued that the process can be exploited and they cited the Spears case as an example of such abuse. Her arrangement was put in place after she suffered a public blackout amid intense abuse from the paparazzi, who tracked down the singer and exploited her mental health issues.
Jamie is currently co-custodian of the estate alongside a trust company, known as Bessemer Trust. His father had previously acted as a personal curator, giving him authority over his medical and mental treatment, but a licensed professional curator took over this job.
The documentary also featured the #FreeBritney movement, a campaign led by fans who followed the trial closely and rallied outside the hearings, pleading for an end to the guardianship. Fans plan to meet Wednesday afternoon in downtown LA for the highly anticipated audience, which will feature the singer’s direct testimony.
The revelations in the Times report justified concerns that advocates and fans have raised for years, said Junior Olivas, an activist for #FreeBritney.
“She was able to make millions and millions of dollars, but she had no voice,” said Olivas, a 33-year-old longtime fan who has been following the case closely. “My heart is breaking for her. They worked her so hard and she had no control over anything. How is this even authorized in the United States? “
He said he hoped the new report would speed up a process to end the trusteeship. “I’ve seen Britney play her butt so many times on stage, but they’re trying to make the case that she’s disabled. It never made sense.
Jamie’s lawyers did not immediately respond to the Guardian’s request for comment on Tuesday, but told reporters in February: “Jamie Spears has diligently and professionally carried out his duties as Britney’s curator, his love for his daughter and his daughter. dedication to protecting her. is clearly obvious to the court.