Britney Spears has spoken in open court for the first time to address her controversial conservatorship, telling the hearing: “I want my life back.”
Spears said other people have exploited her throughout her life and that it is “her wish and dream for all of this to end”. She called the conservatorship “abusive” and condemned her father Jamie Spears and others who have controlled it.
The legal agreement has been in place since 2008, with Jamie Spears largely in control of her career and finances for most of that period.
As the star spoke at the Los Angeles court remotely by phone, dozens of fans from the #FreeBritney movement are gathered outside to show their support, listening to proceedings through a feed.
In a written speech that lasted more than 20 minutes, Spears also told the court she had at one time been sent to hospital involuntarily and that medication had been switched without her knowledge, and compared her treatment to that of those who have been sex-trafficked.
The star also said she wants to marry her boyfriend Sam Asghari and have a baby, but the conservatorship won’t allow her to. She told the court she is being forced to take birth control against her will.
“This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good,” she said. “I deserve to have a life.”
During her speech, Spears revealed details that have been kept out of the public domain for years.
When an attorney representing her co-conservator said the hearing and transcript should be kept sealed if private medical information was to be revealed, the star shouted to say her words should be made public.
“They’ve interfered with my life so I feel like it should be an open court hearing and they should listen and hear what I have to say,” she said.
This is not the first time Spears has spoken in court in the conservatorship case before, but previous hearings have always been held in private. The last time she was known to have addressed the judge was in May 2019.
The singer said she has not felt heard in any of her previous appearances before the court as they were kept sealed from the public. The judge thanked her for her remarks, which she called “courageous,” but made no further comment.
During the hearing, Spears said she was forced to take lithium against her will after rehearsals broke down for a planned Las Vegas residency in 2019, which was subsequently cancelled. All she had done was disagree with one part of the show’s choreography, she told the court.
“I’m not here to be anyone’s slave,” she told the court. “I can say no to a dance move.”
At the height of her fame, Spears was one of the biggest pop stars in the world, famous for hits including …Baby One More Time, Oops!… I Did It Again, I’m A Slave 4 U, Toxic and Womanizer.
The conservatorship has been in place since the singer suffered mental health problems in 2008. Jamie Spears and his lawyers say that the star and her fortune, which court records put at more than $50 million (about £36 million), remain vulnerable to fraud and manipulation.
His attorney Vivian Thoreen gave a statement on his behalf following the speech by Spears, saying: “He is sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain. Mr Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much.”