By Grace Hamilton, Staff Writer
Britney Spears is free. On Friday, a Los Angeles judge dissolved the conservatorship that has dictated the pop icon’s life for almost 14 years.
After a very public mental health crisis in 2008 following her divorce and losing custody of her two sons, a temporary conservatorship was set up and made permanent in the same year.
Jamie Spears, Britney’s father, was given legal control over her estate, financial affairs and her. In 2019, however, he stepped down as her personal conservator, and the position was filled by a care professional.
The extensive control of the conservatorship began receiving criticism when it was revealed what Spears’ father had power over in her career and personal life.
Spears’ said the conservatorship would not allow her to get married or have a baby, as they refused to let her stop taking birth control. She was also forced to go on tour, take medication she didn’t want, and go to rehab. The New York Times also revealed court documents they obtained that the conservator power extended to the color of her kitchen cabinets.
In February 2021, the newspaper released a documentary, Framing Britney Spears. The film served to bring the conservatorship to the public’s attention, and the #FreeBritney campaign began as Spears’ testified to a court about what she suffered under the conservatorship and her father’s control.
A court decided on Friday to end the conservatorship, granting Spears’ control over medical decisions, contracts and her finances.
This comes after Spears’ endless efforts to end the conservatorship since it began. In April, Spears’ asked to speak directly to the court, and then proceeded to call 911 to tell law enforcement that she was a victim of abuse. She drove herself to a police station, and when there was no officer to meet with her, she placed another 911 call and drove home, where she was later met by a sergeant and a deputy.
The next day, she testified, and the conservatorship began to unravel. Members of her legal team and her business manager resigned, while the rest supported Britney in taking control of her life and decisions.
Her new legal team pushed for her father to step down as her conservator, and in September he filed a petition to end the conservatorship permanently.
Spears’ posted often on her Instagram, celebrating the changes being made to the conservatorship. She wrote, “This conservatorship killed my dreams . . . so all I have is hope and hope is the only thing in this world that is very hard to kill.”
The decision to end the conservatorship on November 12 will be followed by more legal battles over legal fees and breaches of privacy and finances by her father and business manager.
There is also concern over Spears’ mental health, and if she acts in any way that is deemed irresponsible, it could be used as proof that she is not fit to take care of herself or been in charge of her career and finances.
The end of Spears’ conservatorship has also brought into question the issues of conservatorships in general, as they are usually used for the elderly or people with significant disabilities. The possibilities of abuse and the restrictions of one’s civil rights have been brought up as problems with conservatorships. The very public case of Britney Spears has led to discussions of reform and change.