A court in Los Angeles has rejected singer Britney Spears’ request to remove her father James Spears from the role of overseeing her conservatorship, The Guardian reported on Thursday citing court filings.
In the state of California, a conservatorship is a court-appointed set up in which an individual or an organisation protects and manages the personal care and/or finances of a person after a judge deems them unfit to handle their own affairs, Reuters reported.
Britney Spears, who has a fortune of over $50 million [approximately Rs 372 crore], has been under the conservatorship since 2008 when she went through a mental health crisis.
In November, the pop star’s counsel had asked the Los Angeles court to remove her father as the only conservator for her financial affairs. The singer said that she was “afraid of her father” and wanted him to be removed as the only conservator for her assets – a position he has held since 2008, according to BBC.
The singer instead wanted private wealth management firm, the Bessemer Trust, appointed as the “sole conservator”, according to The Guardian, which cited court filings. However, the court had in November made Bessemer Trust and James Spears co-conservators for her financial affairs.
In the same case, the court documents filed on Wednesday rejected the singer’s request to remove her father as an in charge of her assets.
The matter of Britney Spears’ conservatorship has been widely talked about in the last 13 years but has now gained prominence as the singer made her first public statement on it.
“I am bringing this to people’s 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!!!!” she wrote in a post on Instagram. “I apologise 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 their Instagram in a fun light!!!!”
What is the controversy?
James Spears is a joint conservator of her personal matters along with care manager Jodi Montgomery. The singer’s father is also a joint conservator of her financial affairs with Bessemer Trust. The singer is represented by an attorney.
Under a conservatorship, restrictions are determined by the court as per an individual’s circumstances. Since her affairs started being managed under the conservatorship, Spears has performed at multiple concerts, gone on several tours, recorded albums, has an allowance and has seemingly carried out regular activities.
However, in 2020, Britney Spears began her efforts to remove her father as her personal conservator, according to Reuters.
On June 23, Britney Spears told a court that the conservatorship was “abusive”. She said that she felt forced to carry on with her performances, take medication and use birth control against her wishes, reported CNN.
“I just want my life back,” she had said. “It’s been 13 years and it’s enough.... I thought I might become happy because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatised....”
She claimed that she had been told that she would not be able to get married or have a baby under the conservatorship. “I have an I[U]D [intrauterine device] inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant,” she told the court, according to CNN. “I wanted to take the IUD out so I could 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 children, any more children.”
The singer has two children with her former husband and rapper Kevin Federline. She has 30% custody of her children.
In the court last week, Spears said that anyone involved in the conservatorship “who played a huge role in punishing me...should be in jail”, reported The Guardian.
Meanwhile, James Spears has called for an investigation of his daughter’s allegations of mistreatment, reported Reuters. He said that he was “greatly saddened to hear of his daughter’s difficulties and suffering” and “believes there must be an investigation into those claims”.
The singer’s sister, however, has come out in her support.
A court hearing is set for July 14, in which reports suggest she could file a petition to completely end her conservatorship or remove her father as her guardian – a legal recourse she has not taken so far.