Britney Spears legal battle to end her conservatorship, partially managed by her father Jamie Spears, wages on.
Jamie was given almost full control of Britney's financial and medical affairs via a court conservatorship in 2008, months after the singer was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment. In 2019, she was appointed a temporary co-conservator to manage such care, while her father remains a co-conservator of her estate.
In a court testimony in June 2021, Britney spoke about her conservatorship for the first time, calling it "abusive" and calling for it to end without having to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Meanwhile, her court-appointed attorney has filed documents to make her co-conservator permanent.
Many of Britney's fans have called for an end to the conservatorship, and a "#FreeBritney" movement has emerged. Jamie has compared such supporters to conspiracy theorists.
Her older brother, Bryan Spears, shared in a rare interview in 2020 that the Spears family is "hoping for the best," but expressed his concern over what would happen if the conservatorship ended. He questioned, "She's been surrounded by a team of people since she was 15, so at what level does everyone just walk away or get reduced?" But he also admitted Britney "always wanted to get out of" the conservatorship.
The legal proceedings are ongoing.
See a full timeline of Britney's turmoil:
Jan. 4, 2019: To the dismay of her loyal followers, Britney reveals that she is taking an indefinite work hiatus and canceling her Domination residency in Las Vegas amid her father's health struggles. In an apologetic Instagram post, the star writes, "I've been looking forward to this show and seeing all of you this year, so doing this breaks my heart. However, it's important to always put your family first… and that's the decision I had to make." According to an insider, Jamie's colon spontaneously ruptured, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
March 4, 2019: For reasons that remain unclear, Britney's co-conservator Andrew Wallet resigns from his position, leaving Jamie as the sole conservator over the 37-year-old's life. According to Us Weekly, the lawyer was responsible for monitoring the singer's financial assets. Because of the importance of his position, he requested that his resignation be accepted "immediately and without delay" so as not to disrupt any ongoing business activities. While he is no longer the conservator or attorney for Spears, he continues to practice law.
April 3, 2019: The star later reemerges on social media with an Instagram post advocating for self-care, which is swiftly followed by reports that she entered a mental health facility. A source tells E! News at the time, "Britney's father's health has been weighing on her, and affecting her emotional well-being." The source emphasizes that "Britney decided to do this on her own" so that she can be allowed to "rejuvenate and rest."
April 11, 2019: The singer takes a break from her stay at the wellness facility when she went to a Los Angeles-area salon for a root touch-up. An eyewitness tells E! News, "She seemed fine and content... [She] was definitely excited to her hair done." Britney later enjoys a relaxing day with her boyfriend Sam Asghari at the Beverly Hills Montage for a low-key Easter celebration.
April 16, 2019: The #FreeBritney movement kicks off officially, when the Britney's Gram hosts Tess Barker and Barbara Gray reveal a voicemail they allegedly received as "an anonymous tip from a credible source." This supposed tipster claims to be a paralegal who formerly worked with an attorney connected to the conservatorship. In the revealing voicemail, he alleges that Britney is essentially being controlled by Jamie.
"What is happening is disturbing, to say the least. Basically, Britney was in rehearsals for Domination. It came to Jamie's attention that Britney was not taking her medication as prescribed. She was missing a lot of doses and just full-on not taking them," the unidentified voice claims. "So they got her to the doctor and the doctor said, 'OK, if you don't want these medications, let's get you on a new one.' She refused to take the new one. Jamie said, 'Either you take this medication or the show's off, and I'm pulling my support and you can't do it.' Britney did not follow Jamie's instructions, so he was true to his word—he pulled the show, he verbatim said, 'Blame it on my illness.' He even claimed that Britney did not willingly enter the wellness facility."
April 16-17, 2019: Britney's mom, Lynne Spears, appears to weigh in on the drama when she begins liking posts supporting the #FreeBritney movement. One such tweet reads: "I really hope you are supporting Britney in trying to end [her] conservatorship. I really hope your ailing ex husband isn't keeping your daughter somewhere against her will." These comments are in response to a particularly cryptic Instagram post depicting one of "God's warriors" on their knees.
April 22, 2019: As speculation continues to mount, fans gather in West Hollywood, Calif. to demand action from lawmakers regarding Britney's ongoing conservatorship.
April 23, 2019: Britney addresses the rumors surrounding her conservatorship in an enthusiastic Instagram video.
"I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There's rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said," the star says. "I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that's happening is just making it harder for me."
She adds that "fake emails" being created by Sam Lutfi are being circulated, but she doesn't want her fans to "believe everything you read and hear."
Lutfi tweets, "Britney's Instagram post has accused me of fabricating e-mails of hers that have been circulating recently. I can unequivocally state that I never wrote nor had access to her e-mail. Her team's desperate attempt to deflect negative attention onto me (yet again) is a rather ineffective way to overshadow the FreeBritney movement. In addition to making certain people in her camp look bad, the e-mails in question show a woman capable of running her own life, a narrative they apparently want to hide."
April 25, 2019: A source confirms to E! News that the singer checked out of the treatment facility and is "very happy to be home." The source adds, "She's feeling more stable and a little bit better, but it's a work in progress."
As for her father, whose health is said to be a cause of Britney's stress, he is "doing better," which has helped to relieve some of the "anxiety surrounding that." Now that the star is home, the source says she is slowly easing back into her "old routine, working out and being with her kids." Her boyfriend Sam will help to make sure she doesn't "overdo" it.
"They are trying to keep her stress level as low as possible and to just have her relax and take small steps...Britney's feeling happier and healthier, but there's a ways to go," the insider shares.
May 6, 2019: According to court documents obtained by E! News, Britney's mom filed a request asking to be informed of all matters pertaining to the singer and her conservatorship. Sources close to Britney's conservatorship told The Blast that Lynne spoke with Jamie before filing her documents. The outlet reports that Lynne wants all the information as it officially comes in from the court. Britney's team has been supportive of Lynne being involved with the ongoing situation and at this time, she has not made a move to become an actual conservator.
May 7, 2019: "Lynne and Jamie Lynn flew out to LA to try and figure out what's really going on," a source tells E! News. "They are staying with Britney and trying to make heads or tails of the situation."
The insider adds that Lynne is "extremely upset to see Britney in the condition she is and [feels] that she can't help her" and the singer's mom "wants to know what's really going on so that she can sleep at night. The anxiety and worry is taking its toll. She wants to see Britney get better and to be healthy and happy and right now that's not happening."
May 8, 2019: Britney is granted a temporary restraining order against Lufti after he allegedly sent threatening and harassing texts to her family. He is ordered to stay 200 yards away from her, her parents and her sons Sean, 13, and Jayden, 12.
Her lawyers' court filing against Lufti alleges that "shortly after Ms. Spears checked herself into a mental health facility, Lutfi began a new campaign of harassment against Ms. Spears and her family" and had recently "made dozens of disparaging and threatening comments on social media and in interviews" and "sent threatening texts to Ms. Spears' family, he has leaked confidential information, and is considering leaking more of Ms. Spears' (actual and fabricated) private information."
May 10, 2019: Britney and her mom and dad, as well as her court-appointed lawyer, appear together at a Los Angeles court at her own request to speak to a judge who oversees her conservatorship. Britney's attorney wants the session to address issues with medical care, minor children and trade secrets. The judge later orders an expert evaluation of the Britney's situation.
While media was not allowed inside the courtroom during proceedings, photographers spot the singer leaving the courthouse without shoes on.
Meanwhile, her sister Jamie Lynn Spears fires back at a troll who commented on a support post she penned for Britney, accusing her of fearing "losing her allowance."
May 14, 2019: The judge orders a court investigator's report on Britney's conservatorship, due on the date of the next hearing, Sept. 18. The singer is not required to attend. Such investigators typically review personal records and conduct interviews with the people involved in a conservatorship case.
May 15, 2019: Britney's longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, talks to TMZ about the singer's condition and the cancellation of her Domination residency show in Las Vegas, saying it had to be pulled "because her meds stopped working and she was distraught over her dad's illness."
"Last summer, when she wanted to tour, she called me every day. She was excited. She hasn't called me in months. Crickets," he says. "She clearly doesn't want to perform now."
"I don't want her to work again 'till she's ready, physically, mentally and passionately," he adds. "If that time never comes again it will never come again. I have no desire or ability to make her work again. I am only here for her when she wants to work. And, if she ever does want to work again, I'm here to tell her if it's a good idea or a bad idea."
May 22, 2019: According to documents obtained by E! News, Britney's dad has requested to expand her conservatorship outside of California. Jamie intends for his legal control to be acknowledged in Florida, her home state of Louisiana and Hawaii, where she often vacations.
Sept. 3, 2019: Spears and ex-husband Kevin Federline reach a new agreement regarding the custody of their sons. Federline is awarded 70 percent custody, while Spears receives 30 percent. Hours after news of the stipulation breaks, it's revealed that Federline has filed a police report against Britney's father over alleged physical altercation that took place between Jamie and his and Britney's eldest son, Sean. Additionally, Sean and Jayden are granted a restraining order against their grandfather.
Authorities ultimately decide against charging Jamie, citing "insufficient proof that a criminal offense was committed."
July 10, 2020: Britney addresses critics on her Instagram after she starts sharing more videos and pictures from her day-to-day life. She explains that she understands "how some might not like my posts or even understand them, but this is Me being happy." The mother of two continues, "This is Me being authentic and as real as it gets !!!!! I want to inspire people to do the same and just be themselves without pleasing others... That's the key to happiness."
Sept. 9, 2019: Jamie temporarily steps down from a separate role, the conservator of her person, citing his own "personal health reasons." He remains the conservator of her estate. Britney's care manager, Montgomery, is approved to fill in for Jamie as conservator of her person until at least January 31, 2020.
July 23, 2020: Britney's brother Bryan confirms the singer's desire to have the conservatorship lifted. He explains the perceived limitations her legal status imposes on her, explaining, "It's very frustrating to have. Whether someone's coming in peace to help or coming in with an attitude, having someone constantly tell you to do something has got to be frustrating."
Aug. 1, 2020: In an unprecedented interview with The New York Post, Jamie condemns the #FreeBritney movement as a "joke." He adds, "All these conspiracy theorists don't know anything. The world don't have a clue. It's up to the court of California to decide what's best for my daughter. It's no one else's business."
Aug. 18, 2020: Britney's legal team files a petition to have Montgomery named her permanent, sole conservator. "Britney is strongly opposed to having James return as conservator of her person. Rather, she strongly prefers to have Ms. Montgomery continue in that role as she has done for nearly a year," the court documents state.
Aug. 19, 2020: Jason Alexander, who was married to Britney for a very brief 55 hours in 2004, attends a #FreeBritney protest in Los Angeles. "I wanna see Britney get what she rightly deserves, and from personal conversations, she doesn't want to be under the conservatorship obviously and it's affecting her life still to this day in a negative way," he says in an interview. "And it's time for it to be over."
Aug. 21, 2020: A Los Angeles judge rules that Britney's conservatorship is extended until February 2021.
Aug. 31, 2020: Britney's legal team files new court documents, this time requesting that Bessemer Trust Co. be appointed co-conservator of her estate. E! News confirmed through court documents that Britney's mom also nominated the company. Meanwhile, Jamie files a petition to reappoint Andrew Wallet co-conservator of Britney's estate. Wallet previously served as co-conservator of the estate from January 2009 to March 2019.
Sept. 3, 2020: Britney's attorney fights back against Jamie's request to seal the case, writing in a court filing, "Britney strongly believes it is consistent not only with her personal best interests but also with good public policy generally that the decision to appoint a new conservator of her estate be made in as open and transparent a manner as possible," the documents stated. "The sealing motion is supposedly being brought by her father to 'protect' Britney's interests, but she is adamantly opposed to it."
Oct. 5, 2020: According to documents obtained by E! News, Jamie withdraws his petition requesting Wallet be appointed co-conservator of Britney's estate. That same day, Wallet breaks his silence in an interview with The Daily Mail, during which he states, "It is not in Britney's best interests to be outside the conservatorship but there's a lot of politics involved... Protecting her assets is very important and for that the conservatorship has to stay in place because she is susceptible to undue influences."
Oct. 14, 2020: A judge grants Britney's request to expand the legal team representing her in the ongoing conservatorship battle, according to court documents obtained by E! News. Her father, Jamie, previously filed an objection to the request, arguing that expanding her team would be a "significant drain on estate finances."
Nov. 10, 2020: A Los Angeles judge declines Britney's application to suspend Jamie as conservator of her estate. However, financial company Bessemer Trust is appointed as a co-conservator, court documents showed.
Britney's attorney states in court that the singer said she is "afraid of her father" and "will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career."
Dec. 16, 2020: According to court documents obtained by E! News, Britney's conservatorship is extended to September 2021.
Feb. 11, 2021: Amid renewed interest in the case thanks to a new documentary about Britney's quest for autonomy, a virtual court hearing is held. A judge overrules Jamie's objection to sharing his role with Bessemer Trust and no changes are made to the conservatorship. The next hearing is scheduled for March 17.
March 10, 2021: In a statement to People, Jamie's lawyer Vivian L. Thoreen states the pop star can get out of the conservatorship. "Any time Britney wants to end her conservatorship, she can ask her lawyer to file a petition to terminate it; she has always had this right but in 13 years has never exercised it," Thoreen explained. "Britney knows that her Daddy loves her, and that he will be there for her whenever and if she needs him, just as he always has been—conservatorship or not."
March 22, 2021: In a petition obtained by E! News, Britney's legal team requests that Jodi serve as permanent conservator of Britney's person (managing her health and personal affairs) and that Jamie resign from that position while remaining co-conservator of her estate. Jodi had stepped in to temporarily replace Jamie as conservator of Britney's person in 2019 due to her father's health concerns. Britney's petition also requested the singer retain the right to petition for termination of the conservatorship as a whole.
According to the petition, Jodi's powers would include restricting and limiting guests other than Britney's lawyer, arranging security and location for such meetings, overseeing caretakers and security guards, prosecuting restraining orders, communicating with medical personnel about the star's health and having access to medical records.
April 2, 2021: The pop star's former makeup artist Billy Brasfield claims Britney told him she isn't in control of her social media profiles, prompting a swift denial from the "Toxic" singer. She reportedly tells TMZ, "No, I'm not talking to him at all. I write my posts. I'm not sure who he is talking to, but I am not talking to Billy B."
April 25, 2021: After receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, Britney joins her boyfriend Sam at his best friend's wedding. A source tells E! News the ongoing coronavirus pandemic "restrictions" and her father's strict rules kept her from outings, but she "finally had an opportunity to get out and she took it."
April 27, 2021: Britney's attorney Samuel Ingham asks the court to set a status hearing on an "expedited basis," saying the mother of two would like to "address the court directly."
May 3, 2021: Two months after The New York Times releases "Framing Britney Spears," the 39-year-old singer speaks out about its portrayal of her struggles. She writes on Instagram that she is "deeply flattered" people care about her so much, but says, "I'm thrilled to remind you all that although I've had some pretty tough times in my life ... I've had waaaayyyy more amazing times in my life."
"unfortunately my friends… I think the world is more interested in the negative!!!!" she continues. "I mean … isn't this supposed to be a business and society about THE FUTURE???? Why highlight the most negative and traumatizing times in my life from forever ago ???? I mean DAMN."
June 22, 2021: The New York Times sheds new light on Britney's battle with her father in a report detailing confidential court records. According to a court investigator's report reviewed by the newspaper, Britney told the court Jamie had "too much control" of her personal life, saying he decided who she dated and became friends with. The NYT reports the court investigator wrote, "She articulated she feels the conservatorship has become an oppressive and controlling tool against her."
"She is 'sick of being taken advantage of' and she said she is the one working and earning her money but everyone around her is on her payroll," they additionally stated, adding the pop star was "very angry" at the time.
According to the NYT, the court investigator recommended Britney remain under the conservatorship citing her "complex finances, susceptibility to undue influence and 'intermittent' drug issues."
June 23, 2021: Britney virtually attends a court hearing, where she tells the judge she wants "to end the conservatorship without being evaluated" by a therapist. She adds, "After I've lied and told the whole world I'm OK and I'm happy ... I'm not OK, I'm not happy, I can't sleep."
The pop star highlights her discontent with her current medical plan and requests a therapist visit her at her home, stating, "I'm not willing to go to Westlake and be embarrassed by all these paparazzi."
June 29, 2021: Britney's father petitions a Los Angeles court to investigate the claims his daughter made in her testimony.
June 30, 2021: A judge again denies a request from Britney's lawyer to have Jamie dropped as her co-conservator.
July 1, 2021: Financial company Bessemer Trust requests that a judge remove it from its role as co-conservator of her estate, a role they share with her dad, "due to changed circumstances" when Britney "claimed irreparable harm to her interests" in her court testimony. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for July 14.
July 5, 2021: Larry Rudolph resigns as Britney's longtime manager. In a letter addressed to her father and Jodi, he wrote, "It has been over two and a half years since Britney and I last communicated, at which time she informed me she wanted to take an indefinite work hiatus. Earlier today, I became aware that Britney had been voicing her intention to officially retire."
July 6, 2021: Samuel D. Ingham III files a request to resign as Britney's lawyer after serving in the court-appointment position since her conservatorship began in 2008. In his filing, it states that his resignation is set to take effect "upon the appointment of new court-appointed counsel."
(This story was originally published on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 4:33 p.m. PST.)