#FreeBritney: Why Britney Spears Deserves to Have a Life
Jun 25, 2021   •   Meryl Medel
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Jun 25, 2021   •   Meryl Medel
On Wednesday, singer-songwriter Britney Spears made her first appearance in the court proceedings regarding her conservatorship, dropping a 24-minute address full of shocking accusations and jaw-dropping accounts of what she experienced.
In 2008, after a series of highly publicized personal struggles including divorcing her husband, shaving her head, and attacking paparazzi, Britney was put into three-day psychiatric hold twice. This led to her father Jamie Spears filing a petition to grant him temporary-turned-permanent conservatorship over his daughter and her personal affairs.
For those who aren’t familiar, a conservatorship is basically a guardianship over an individual appointed by a court due to the individual’s inability to make decisions, usually because of old age or physical or mental illnesses.
Since 2008, Britney hasn’t been able to control her finances and other assets. Her father Jamie has been handling all her affairs since then. He was later joined by Attorney Andrew Wallet as co-conservator in 2009 until Wallet abruptly quit in 2019.
Under the conservatorship, Britney has done several projects and tours. She has produced four albums and performed a concert residency called Britney: Piece of Me in Las Vegas from 2013 to 2017. (A concert residency is similar to a concert tour, except instead of the artist going to many places, they stay in one location and let fans come to them.)
For the residency, Britney performed nearly 250 shows and garnered over a hundred million dollars. The show was so successful that Britney was originally scheduled to return to Las Vegas for another residency.
Then, she took an abrupt hiatus in March 2019. Her team cited Jamie Spears’ failing health for the cancellation of the residency. But Britney entered a mental health facility in the same month, and Wallet resigned as co-conservator a couple of months later. These things would come into question later on upon Britney’s first address in her court hearings.
It was reported that Britney Spears checked herself into a mental facility at the end of March. We have information that that might not be true. Please listen to this and spread this far and wide. https://t.co/tK8657e3ZF pic.twitter.com/SLomsNwSj0
— Britney’s Gram (@BritneysGram) April 16, 2019
You’ve got to understand that for the longest time, people only had (still has) conspiracy theories about what was possibly happening. Paparazzi continued to follow her every movement, and speculations about her were being made.
But things blew up when a Britney Spears-centered podcast called Britney’s Gram released a voicemail allegedly gotten from one of Britney’s legal advisors. According to the recording, Britney has been involuntarily held in the mental health facility, the conservatorship should’ve ended within the year it started, and the second concert residency was canceled because Britney was refusing to take medication. After fans heard this voicemail, the #FreeBritney movement truly began.
This sparked an evaluation into the conservatorship and a series of court hearings that ultimately led to Britney’s most recent appearance in court last June 23, Wednesday.
The June 23 court hearing has been highly anticipated since it was announced — and for good reason. In her 24-minute address, Britney shared what she has been keeping inside for the past two (and even more) years.
“I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m OK and I’m happy,” the 39-year-old pop star said in her statement. “I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized. . . . I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry. It’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
She told the judge that keeping the conservatorship on “made me feel like I was dead — like I didn’t matter, like nothing had been done to me, like you thought I was lying or something.” She shared how she was forced to do many things under the conservatorship, including performing in the Las Vegas residency and entering a Beverly Hills rehab center. But now, Britney is finally using her voice, her most powerful weapon, to stand up and speak up for herself.
“I’m telling you again because I’m not lying. I want to feel heard. And I’m telling you this again, so maybe you can understand the depth and the degree and the damage that they did to me back then.”
The singer shot to stardom from the very start of her career. At 11, she found herself known worldwide as part of the cast of The Mickey Mouse Club alongside Justin Timberlake and Christine Aguilera. Her debut single “…Baby One More Time” was an immediate hit in 1996. And since then, she hasn’t really stopped making music and touring and performing and working until her hiatus in 2019.
“I’ve worked my whole life. I deserve to have a two to three-year break and just, you know, do what I want to do,” the singer said during her June 23 hearing.
Honestly, with how much she has earned over the course of her career, she doesn’t really need to work a day in her life anymore to support herself and her family. She could be living happily and comfortably. If only she had control over her own person.
Perhaps the most shocking revelation from the conservatorship hearings was the fact that Britney is being forced to use IUDs. She said:
“I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby. I have an IUD inside of me right now, so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the IUD out, so I can start trying to have another baby, but this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have any more children.”
This, many experts say, is a violation of basic human rights and bodily autonomy.
Even before 2008, the public has shown intense interest in her everyday life, even (or especially) the most personal details of her private relationships. And following the scandals in 2008, she hasn’t had a proper break, with paparazzi following her everywhere all the time, giving her no chance to breathe. More than half of Britney’s life has been under constant public surveillance and media microscope that her desire to take back control isn’t really surprising, especially at age 39.
She deserves to be happy, just as she made many people all over the world happy with her music. She has been going through a lot, as well-documented as some parts of it have been (2008’s publicized struggles) and as hidden and secretive as others (her experiences in the Westlake studio and the Beverly Hills rehab program) have been over the decades of her career. And it’s high time she took control back of her life and got her much-deserved peace and happiness.
In her most recent Instagram post, Britney apologized to her fans for the confusion and chaos, for telling them she was okay when she didn’t feel okay.
“I apologize for pretending like I’ve been ok the past two years,” her post read. “I did it because of my pride and I was embarrassed to share what happened to me.”
But she shouldn’t really be apologizing. If anything, if the explosive accusations from her statement are true (and many believe them to be highly likely, after the many years of controversy surrounding her conservatorship), the people around her are the ones who should be doling out the apologies. We just hope these new developments would really help #FreeBritney.
What do you think of the issue on Britney Spears’ conservatorship and the #FreeBritney movement?
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