Britney Spears’s latest court hearing in the contentious conservatorship case that has consumed every facet of her life and career for the last 13 years and spawned a movement to free her from it started a half hour late on Wednesday afternoon, but the singer didn’t waste a single breath getting down to business.
Before Spears started on her almost hour-long, damning account of what she’s endured, her court-appointed attorney Samuel Ingham wanted everyone to know that Spears was speaking on a separate phone and he was not going to do anything to prevent her from speaking freely. He asked for the other attorneys and family members at the hearing to also do the same.
“It’s an open ended hearing,” Ingham said. “My client is free to discuss any aspect of the conservatorship that she wishes.”
The attorney for Jodi Montgomery, Spears’s current conservator over her person, tried to interject some ground rules in case Spears brought up medical issues, but Judge Brenda Penny, who oversaw the hearing, didn’t acquiesce.
Spears herself then spoke up: “This should be an open court hearing and they should hear what I have to say.”
And then, after an almost 12-year wait, she spoke. Spears said that she had prepared four pages of notes, and started by saying she felt she had not been heard the last time she was in court two years ago.
“The people who did this should not be able to get away and get away so easily,” Spears said. She then recounted being on tour in 2018 and being told by her management that if she didn’t do the tour, she would be sued.
“It was very threatening and scary, so out of fear, I did the tour,” said Spears, who said she had been rehearsing for so long that she just wanted a break. Out of fear, she said, she went ahead with the plan and put her all into it.
“I taught my dancers myself choreography. It wasn’t good, it was great.”
Then she said she was told that she “wasn’t participating in rehearsal and I wasn’t taking my medication.” She continued, “I take my medication in the morning.”
Spears said she questioned how anyone would know if she was taking her medication, and said she thought the issue that sparked things was when she didn’t want to do a dance move that they wanted.
“Ma’am, I am not here to be anyone’s slave,” said Spears, addressing the judge. “I can say no to a dance move.”
After that Spears said she was told that she no longer had to perform at her Las Vegas residency. “When they told me I didn’t have to do the show it was like 200 lbs was taken off of me,” she said.
But she said three days after she said “No” to Vegas that she “got a million phone calls that I was not taking my medication.”
Spears said that after not doing the tour, her doctor changed up her medication and put her on lithium, which she said was a much stronger medication than she was used to. She asked the judge if she knew about lithium, telling her that it made her feel drunk and that she couldn’t even have a conversation. She said she was scared.
She said she cried because she had worked seven days a week with no days off. She said they then took her to a rehab where they took all her possessions away and where she had to live in a house with her care staff. She told the court that she had no privacy and the staff “watched me change naked mornings, noon, and night.”
She said the whole experience was traumatizing.
“I lied to the whole world,” said Spears. “I am traumatized. Fake it till you make it. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry.”
For what she says they did to her, Spears said, “They should be in jail.”
She said she worked for her father, Jamie Spears, for the past 13 years to be “so pretty” and perfect, but that he was heartless to her and got enjoyment out of when she cried about her situation. Spears doesn’t just blame her father and the attorney and managers who made money off of her for all these years, but she also turned her anger at the court.
“The state of California allowed them to do it,” she said.
She said she was advised, for her image, not to say anything.
“How come I was always threatened that they are going to enslave me?,” she asked Judge Penny. “I don’t even drink alcohol. I should drink alcohol for what they put me through.”
She told Judge Penny she was disheartened that she came to court two years ago and brought up all these allegations to her, but that the judge did nothing.
“I want to be heard,” she said. “I want changes. I want changes going forward. “
Spears said in no uncertain words that she wanted out of the conservatorship and that she refused to sit in a room and be evaluated again, having found the whole process humiliating.
“It’s embarrassing and demoralizing what I’ve been through,” she said. “I’ve met with enough people against my will.”
But she said it is time.
“I just want my life back and it’s been 13 years,” Spears said. “It’s been a long time … To be told that I’m not good enough.”
Spears said she cries every day over what has happened to her.
“I would honestly like to sue my family,” said Spears.
She said during her 40-minute talk that she told the court she’d wanted permission to do an interview, but that now with all the members of the media listening in, it was more than enough to get her story out. She said her attorney told her that she couldn’t do an interview, but that there had been no restriction on her family talking to the press.
“I need to get the anger off of my heart,” she said. “It’s not fair that they are telling lies … and I can’t say one thing.”
She added that “I know my lawyer has been scared for me to come forward. He told me to keep it to myself.”
Spears then wanted to address that issue that she hasn’t even had the opportunity to handpick her own lawyer, and questioned her recently-appointed conservator, Jodi Montgomery. Spears then said that “the main reason I am here is to end the conservatorship without being evaluated,” a request she said shouldn’t be unreasonable “considering my family has lived off my conservatorship for 13 years.”
Spears also took issue with her three counseling meetings that she is made to attend “even when I’m sick.”
Spears said she only wants to do one therapy session a week and she wants the counselor to come to her house. She said she has been humiliated when she goes to her counseling session in West Lake and the paparazzi take pictures of her leaving when she has been crying. She said she thought that that the conservators had specifically chosen a location that was out in the open.
“Because, actually, I need therapy,” she said. “[But] what I have been forced to do is illegal.”
She expressed disdain for her last therapist and said that when she learned that he died, “ I got on my knees and thanked God.”
“I haven’t done anything wrong to deserve this treatment,” Spears said.
Spears, in her plea, questioned what kind of state California was if she was able to be working, making money, and functioning and still put in this conservatorship.
“If I can work, I shouldn’t be in this conservatorship,” Spears said, adding that she was threatened with not being able to go on a vacation to Maui if she didn’t do what they wanted her to. Spears said she has worked ever since she was 17 and “You don’t know how…that is that I have to get up every morning” and then be told she can’t go on vacation.
“I firmly believe conservatorships are abusive,” she said.
She added that during the whole year of COVID-19 that she was prevented from getting any self-care. She said she saw her maids with manicures, but she wasn’t allowed. “For a year, I didn’t have my nails done, spa, or massage. Nothing for a year.”
Spears said she has very basic requests: she wants to be able to see her friends; she wants her boyfriend, Sam Asghari, to be able to drive her in his car; she wants to have therapy on her terms; and most importantly, she wants to be able to extend her family.
“I want to be able to get married and have a baby,” Spears told the judge. “I have been told that I have an IUD inside of me so I can’t get pregnant. I want it out so I can have a baby, but this so-called team won’t let me take it out.”
“I deserve to have a life,” she said. “I feel alone. I deserve to have a child and family.”
(Spears is also mother to two children with her ex-husband, Kevin Federline.)
When she neared the end, Spears insinuated that she was afraid what would happen when she got off the phone.
“I wish I could stay on the phone with you forever,” she said. “ Because when I get off the phone from you I hear all these no’s.”
After Spears spoke, her attorney Samuel Ingham said that he had concerns over the issues that Spears raised. He told the court that if she directs him to file a petition to end the conservatorship he would do so.
Lauriann Wright, attorney for Jodi Montgomery, piped in and said, “We certainly do have different perspective issues raised by Ms. Spears.” Wright said they were “perfectly happy to put together a care plan” for Spears which is when Spears jumped back in.
“I have to be in agreement with this care plan,” Spears said. “I can’t be forced to do things I don’t want to do. “
“I don’t mind doing therapy,” she continued, to the judge. “I would like this man to come to my house two times a week and do a therapy thing. That is what I want to do. I just want to know my request [is heard].”
Gladstone N. Jones, the attorney for Britney’s mother Lynne, took a moment to address the court and wanted it known on the record that Lynne seconds her daughter’s wishes, and that he wanted to make sure that the court took Spears’s concerns seriously.
“I first want to say that was very courageous of Ms. Spears,” Jones said. “One thing I want to raise with the court … is when she was there in May 2019 that she didn’t feel like she was heard. I feel we need to make sure today that she was heard.”
Jones implored Spears’s team to put together a health plan today and to not leave the court without a new plan in place.
“Today is the day while the world watches while we listen to to Ms. Spears … that we put in place a plan. That is her mother’s request. That we not leave the court without having a plan.”
After hearing from Britney, Jamies Spears’s attorney Vivian Thoreen requested a brief recess to consult with her client. Twenty minutes later, when the court hearing resumed, Thoreen read a brief statement from Jamie: “He is sorry to see his daughter in so much pain. Mr. Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much.”
This story contains breaking news and will be updated accordingly.