You’ll more than likely remember that 2008 was a tough year for Britney Spears.
Just two months after the birth of her second child, Britney announced that she was filing for divorce from her then-husband Kevin Federline. This was followed by the tragic death of her aunt, a series of several short periods within rehabilitation facilities and losing physical custody of her two young sons – it was unsurprising when these factors led to the star suffering a very public breakdown.
Something made less public at the time, however, were the stringent and restrictive measures that Britney’s family were able to place the singer under following her battles with her mental health. Even after recovering from her breakdown, the singer was forced to live without full control of her finances, career and even her own body – something she is still dealing with to this day. Thirteen years on, Britney wants her life back.
As the case to alter Britney’s conservatorship reaches US courts, DDW provides a full rundown of the #FreeBritney movement so far, what the conservatorship means for Britney and what we can expect to happen next…
What is a conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a legally-binding contract intended only for use when mental or physical health problems prevent a person from being able to make their own decisions.
Conservatorships grant an assigned individual the right to control the affairs of a person who can no longer do this for themselves, including allowing the individual to take control of their finances, healthcare, career and even the way that the person lives within their day-to-day life.
Britney’s conservatorship, granted after her mental health battle, is split into two different parts – one part of the conservatorship covers control of her assets and finances while the other details control over her personal affairs. Both aspects are currently legally under the control of her father, Jamie Spears. This means that Britney has not had control of her own finances for over thirteen years.
Britney isn’t the only celebrity living under a conservatorship – Amanda Bynes had control of her own finances and decisions passed over to her mother by a judge in 2014. Like Britney, she has since spoken out publicly about her desire to have the conservatorship dissolved, believing that her parents have abused her conservatorship for their own personal benefit.
What is the #FreeBritney movement?
According to The New York Times, the #FreeBritney slogan has been in circulation amongst fans of the singer since as early as 2009. However, use of the term has grown exponentially in the last couple of years, especially as Britney has started to vocalise her feelings on the situation publicly.
The campaign began to pick up speed online after fans observed that Britney was acting somewhat erratically on social media. She appeared to be putting on a positive front in videos, only to hint towards larger issues being at play when interacting with the comments on her videos – for example, after fans asked Britney to wear yellow in her next post if she was unhappy with her situation, she posted a video wearing a bright yellow shirt.
Fans have been using the slogan to campaign across social media with the goal of raising awareness of the situation and strengthening the case for her conservatorship to be lifted. As the case has reached US courts, fans have even been campaigning in person outside the premises where the case is being discussed.
Miley Cyrus, Khloe Kardashian and Britney’s ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake are amongst the biggest names speaking out for the #FreeBritney campaign as the movement continues to hit headlines across the globe.
What has Britney said about her conservatorship?
Britney has broken her silence regarding her conservatorship in recent months, having spoken out about what life under such heavy restrictions is truly like.
Following her request to be allowed to speak in court, Britney expressed to the judge that she finds the conservatorship to be ‘abusive’, pleading ‘I deserve to have a life’.
The appeal to the judge, which lasted around 20 minutes, saw Britney describe her desire to marry her current partner and be allowed to have more children – something which her conservatorship currently prevents. The order means that Britney is forced to use birth control against her wishes.
As part of the address, she expressed that she’d like the conservatorship to be lifted without being evaluated. She also explained that she feels the conservatorship is doing ‘way more harm than good’ in her life.
Upon viewing the appeal, Jamie Spears said that he is ‘sorry to see his daughter suffering’ but is yet to take action in favour of ending the conservatorship himself.
When will Britney’s conservatorship be lifted?
There’s no guarantee as of yet that Britney’s conservatorship will come to an end, though the judge present for her appeal advised Britney to file a petition to have the conservatorship lifted.
However, legal experts have warned that conservatorship petitions are very rarely approved and, in the case that approval is granted, could take many years to go through entirely. However, some believe that the global backlash against the conservatorship could work in Britney’s favour.
As this case continues to unfold, one thing is for sure – the #FreeBritney movement will likely continue for as long as the singer is prevented from having full control of her life.