Pop superstar Britney Spears broke her silence during a virtual court hearing where she revealed that instead of being subjected to intense therapy multiple times a week, she prefers to take her issues to God, as she called for an end to her 13-year conservatorship.
The singer has been under conservatorship since 2008 following a mental breakdown in which she shaved her head and was transported to hospitals multiple times. At the time, her father, James "Jamie" Spears, stepped in as her conservator, which is a position the court appoints to someone to manage an incapacitated person’s personal and professional affairs.
Since then, he's had control of her fortune, which is now estimated to be worth $60 million. After recovering from her breakdown, she has released four albums, had a Las Vegas residency where she performed two shows a day, had a world tour and was a judge on “X Factor.”
In a virtual court hearing on Wednesday, Spears made her most public statement to date about her long-running conservatorship. The singer said she wants out of the legal hold over her life because she has more than proven her capacity to work and function without having her life being controlled.
Spears told a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, "I want my life back!"
The 39-year-old repeatedly said she wants an end to her conservatorship without having to be psychologically evaluated. The mother of two stressed that she's had extensive therapy and doctors' appointments, some of which made her vulnerable to being photographed by lurking paparazzi, and was seen by other doctors who prescribed her strong medications, such as lithium.
"I want changes going forward. I deserve changes. I was told I have to sit down and be evaluated, again, if I want to end the conservatorship," she told the judge. "Ma'am, I didn't know I could [contest] the conservatorship. I'm sorry for my ignorance, but I honestly didn't know that. But honestly, I don't think I owe anyone to be evaluated."
Spears claimed she suffered “abuse” at the hands of her former therapist, Dr. Benson, who died in 2019.
The “Oops!...I Did it Again” singer said Dr. Benson “illegally … 100% abused me by the treatment he gave me. And to be totally honest with you, when he passed away, I got on my knees and thanked God.”
Spears is now required to see a therapist and doctor about four times a week.
“I don't feel like I can live a full life," she added. "I don't owe them to go see a man I don't know and share [with] him my problems. I don't even believe in therapy. I always think you take it to God. I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated.”
During her testimony, she also claimed her conservators forced her to get an IUD birth control implant to prevent her from getting pregnant again. They tell her how much she has to work, who she can ride in a car with, and have sent her to multiple rehab facilities, even one where she was required to undress in front of the staff.
Spears also mentioned her family directly, claiming they "did nothing" to take her concerns under consideration or address the issues over the years.
Regarding her father, she said, "The control he had over someone as powerful as me, he loved the control to hurt his own daughter, 100,000%. He loved it."
"And I would honestly like to sue my family, to be totally honest with you," the Mississippi native added. "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."
Spears questioned why the state of California has allowed the conservatorship to continue, asserting that her handlers should be in “jail.”
The artist, who grew up in a Southern Baptist church, also admitted to lying online by telling her fans she is OK and fine. She likened her conservatorship to human trafficking and revealed she was forced to work around the clock, and then is kept in her home like a prisoner without all of her identification records, including her passport, which was confiscated from her.
Following her 20-minute statement, the California judge thanked Spears for sharing openly. A 20-minute recess was then called.
During the break, Spears’ father released a statement via his attorney.
"[Jamie] is sorry to see his daughter in so much pain," Thoreen said. "[He] loves his daughter and misses her very much."
Following the court appearance, Spears took to Instagram on Thursday, where she wrote a message to her fans.
"I just want to tell you guys a little secret, I believe as people we all want the fairy tale life and by the way I’ve posted … my life seems to look and be pretty amazing … I think that’s what we all strive for !!!!" she wrote.
"That was one of my mother’s best traits … no matter how s***** a day was when I was younger … for the sake of me and my siblings she always pretended like everything was ok," Spears said of her mother, Lynne.
"I’m bringing this to peoples (sic) attention because I don’t want people to think my life is perfect because IT’S DEFINITELY NOT AT ALL … and if you have read anything about me in the news this week … you obviously really know now it’s not !!!! I apologize for pretending like I’ve been ok the past two years … I did it because of my pride and I was embarrassed to share what happened to me … but honestly who doesn’t want to capture there Instagram in a fun light,” she continued.
"Believe it or not pretending that I’m ok has actually helped … so I decided to post this quote today because by golly if you’re going through hell … I feel like Instagram has helped me have a cool outlet to share my presence … existence … and to simply feel like I matter despite what I was going through and hey it worked … so I’ve decided to start reading more fairy tales," the pop singer concluded.
Wednesday’s hearing was the first time Spears spoke out during her 13-year conservatorship. At her last court appearance, Spears’ attorney asked the court to appoint Jodi Montgomery as the singer's permanent conservator instead of her father, the court complied by making Jamie Spears a co-conservator.
Moving forward, Spears' temporary conservator, Montgomery, pushed for all further court proceedings to be sealed and not publicly available.