Britney Spears’ father has filed an unexpected request to terminate the controversial conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life for 13 years.
In a stunning move, Jamie Spears, who is the conservator of his daughter’s estate, said “recent events” called into question whether she still needed a court to oversee her personal affairs and finances.
The filing at a court in Los Angeles states: “Ms Spears has told this court that she wants control of her life back without the safety rails of a conservatorship.
“She wants to be able to make decisions regarding her own medical care, deciding when, where and how often to get therapy. She wants to control the money she has made from her career and spend it without supervision or oversight.
“She wants to be able to get married and have a baby, if she so chooses. In short, she wants to live her life as she chooses without the constraints of a conservator or court proceeding.”
Spears, 39, has twice addressed the court in recent months, describing the conservatorship as “abusive” and strongly calling for her father to be removed from his role.
Britney Spears fans hold signs outside the Los Angeles courthouse where the pop singer’s conservatorship hearing was being held on 17 March. Photograph: Chris Pizzello/AP
Lawyers for Jamie Spears said: “As Mr Spears has said again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter. If Ms Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr Spears believes that she should get that chance.”
Spears was placed under the conservatorship – a complex legal arrangement usually reserved for the very old or infirm – in 2008 after suffering a series of mental breakdowns.
She has not performed since 2018 and told the court she would not return to the stage while her father was conservator.
Jamie Spears’ representatives have previously defended the conservatorship and his role in the arrangement. Her father long had control over her finances and healthcare, but stepped down as a personal conservator in 2019. A licensed conservator now oversees her medical treatment, and her father has maintained authority over her money.
The father’s new filing also noted that his daughter had previously requested that the conservatorship be dissolved without her having to face another psychological evaluation, and that she had testified that she was unaware she was able to petition for termination.
Spears’ lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, told the AP in an email that the termination request by her father was a victory and vindication for the singer, but added, “It appears that Mr Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice, including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath, but as we assess his filing (which was inappropriately sent to the media before it was served on counsel) we will also continue to explore all options.”
In August, Jamie Spears said he would step down as conservator “when the time is right”, and Rosengart responded urging the father to resign immediately, saying: “We look forward to continuing our vigorous investigation into the conduct of Mr Spears, and others, over the past 13 years, while he reaped millions of dollars from his daughter’s estate, and I look forward to taking Mr Spears’ sworn deposition in the near future.”
Rosengart recently stepped up as Spears’ lawyer, the first time in her conservatorship that she has been able to select her own attorney. Jamie Spears’ attorney noted this fact in the filing on Tuesday, saying, “this court has recognized that Ms Spears has both the capacity and capability to identify, engage, and instruct counsel of her own choice, on her own, without the assistance of the conservator or the court … she presumably has capacity and capability to handle other contractual and business matters.”
The next hearing is scheduled for 29 September.