A Los Angeles judge refused on Tuesday to rule on a request filed by Britney Spears and her legal team to suspend the singer’s father from a court conservatorship, citing a lack of adequate documentation, effectively leaving the star’s life and $60 million fortune in hands of Jamie Spears.
The ‘Baby One More Time’ singer has remained under the legal control of her father since 2008, rendering her unable to make independent financial and personal decisions, a set-up her fans claim mostly benefits Jamie Spears. Over the summer, they launched a viral #FreeBritney hashtag, suggesting that the musician was actually sending a cry for help to the world to get rid of his guardianship.
However, the calls of her lawyer, Samuel Ingham, who said during a hearing that Britney has informed him that “she is afraid of her father”, had gone unanswered so far.
“She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career,” Ingham told Judge Brenda Penny.
Judge Penny has agreed to appoint financial company Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator of the singer’s finances but did not greenlight an assignment of manager Jodi Montgomery as her personal conservator, after the woman temporarily stepped into the role back in 2019 following Jamie Spears’ medical crisis.
Britney Spears' legal team maintains that the father and daughter have no “viable working relationship" and object to the content of reports the star’s father must file regularly for the court. Jamie Spears’ lawyer in reverse argues that his record as a conservator had been perfect, as the pop idol had been able to get out of debt and increase her fortune by millions over the last 12 years.
The court ruled that Jamie Spears’s position as the guardian could still be disputed in future petitions, as another court hearing has been set for 16 December.
Why Was Conservatorship Installed in the First Place
In 2007, the former teen legend Britney Spears grabbed the world’s attention after she had publicly shaved off her hair following a return from rehab. The singer had also attacked paparazzi with an umbrella at the time. Eventually Spears lost custody of her two children to ex-husband Kevin Federline, whom she married back in 2004 but divorced two years later.
After Spears was placed in a psychiatric hold in January 2008, a Los Angeles court appointed her father as her leading personal and financial conservator, stripping the singer of her freedom in relation to her career and every-day life choices. The measure is usually meant to be temporarily and is used to deal with severely mentally impaired people, and Spears fans now maintain that it's time to “free Britney” from these chains – calls that Jamie had dismissed as “conspiracy theories”.
The singer has continued performing and touring over the years, making millions, but these earnings have remained under her family's control so far.