The Biggest #FreeBritney Update Could Be Coming Next Month

If you, like many others, have not stopped thinking about Britney Spears since Framing Britney Spears came out, you may be eager to learn that there should be some very important updates in the conservatorship happening soon. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported that Britney Spears will speak to the court about her conservatorship. A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge set a hearing for June 23 to allow Britney to talk about the “status of the conservatorship”, which may be one of the most significant updates since #FreeBritney began. Her lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, did not indicate what the pop star plans to say at the hearing, although TMZ is reporting she may declare that she wants her father out as her conservator.

That seems likely, as it’s not exactly a secret that Britney and her father don’t see eye to eye, especially when it comes to the conservatorship. In November 2020, Igham said during a hearing, “My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father,” and warned, “She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career.” He also said Britney is a “high-functioning conservatee” who has not spoken to her father “in a very long time.” (Jamie Spears’ attorney argued the reason Britney and Jamie haven’t spoken is because Ingham prevented it.) 

Recently, Britney has been advocating for her father to be removed as her conservator. In March, she petitioned to remove Jamie from his role as conservator and replace him with Jodi Montgomery, the temporary conservator who took over when Jamie stepped down as conservator of Britney’s person due to health reasons in September 2019. (He remained co-conservator of her estate along with Bessemer Trust.) A judge denied the petition to remove Jamie but appointed Bessemer Trust as co-conservator, which has yet to actually take effect because the attorneys are still arguing over it.

Since the conservatorship came under renewed public scrutiny in 2019, Britney has remained largely silent on the matter, posting cryptic videos on her Instagram in smudged eyeliner and various crop tops, the color of which some fans believed to be a code signifying she needed help. In March 2021, Spears broke her silence regarding the Framing Britney Spears documentary, saying on Instagram that although she “didn’t watch the documentary”, she was “embarrassed by the light they put me in”. She said she “cried for two weeks.” 

And what about Britney’s mom? In November 2020, Lynne Spears advocated for the end of the conservatorship, saying in a statement that her daughter’s relationship with her ex-husband had become “toxic” and that it was “time to start fresh.” But her motives might not be so pure, either. Earlier this week, Jamie Spears’s lawyers came for Lynne after she attempted to object to the firm’s $890,000 in attorney fees, writing in a court filing obtained by PEOPLE that she “not acting in the best interests” of Britney. The filing also states, “Despite having zero involvement in her daughter’s conservatorship until very recently, Lynne Spears is asserting claims as if she were a party directly involved in the litigation (which she is not).” Legal burn. 

The response also accuses Lynne of taking advantage of Britney’s personal troubles: Lynne Spears is the one who exploited her daughter’s pain and trauma for personal profit by publishing a book about the Conservatee.” The book in question is titled Through The Storm, and in it, Lynne reveals the age at which Britney lost her virginity and alleges the singer used cocaine shortly after.

In March, after Jamie’s role as conservator came under fire yet again after House Republicans called for a Congressional hearing on conservatorships, citing the #FreeBritney movement, an attorney for Jamie Spears said, “Any time Britney wants to end her conservatorship, she can ask her lawyer to file a petition to terminate it; she has always had this right, but in 13 years has never exercised it.” The attorney added, “Britney knows that her daddy loves her, and that he will be there for her whenever and if she needs him, just as he always has been — conservatorship or not.” True or not, I don’t want to hear the word “daddy” come out of a lawyer’s mouth—just not my kink.

Even though legal experts have argued that a conservatorship is highly unusual for someone as young and active as Britney, and disability rights advocates have pointed out that guardianships (such as a conservatorship) can be very harmful and lead to abuse, her father has consistently maintained that Britney reserves the right to petition the court to end the conservatorship at any time, and has chosen not to. Hopefully, after hearing from Britney herself, we will finally have answers and can (my brain: don’t say it, don’t say it) leave Britney alone feel assured that she is making the decision she feels is best for her.

Images: DFree /Shutterstock.com

Is Jamie Spears The Real Villain Of #FreeBritney? An Analysis

Leftover Trump rage and nowhere to put it? Let’s all collectively aim it towards the most vicious Disney villain of them all, Jamie Spears, while we decompress after devouring the latest episode of The New York Times Presents, Framing Britney Spears

Director Samantha Stark does an exceptional job recalling the tabloid-induced trauma and public shaming Britney endured at the expense of our own entertainment. Copious footage of inappropriate interviews, dangerous paparazzi attacks, and what can only be described as a very f*cked up round of Family Feud are enough to leave you wondering, where were Jamie, Lynne, and Jamie Lynn? But, with the complex history of Britney’s infamous “breakdown,” it’s easy to lose track of her father: hillbilly Voldemort, Jamie Spears. Before digesting FX’s new documentary, we pulled out an old copy of MTV’s 2008 Britney: For the Record and shuddered at the way in which Jamie’s behavior is repeatedly laughed off. Perhaps the most telling is when Jamie dresses up as a self-described “monster clown” and terrorizes Britney’s toddlers in a demonic Halloween mask while howling with laughter at their scream-cries. Flash forward to 2019, when Kevin Federline is granted a restraining order against Jamie on behalf of their son, Preston. At one point, Britney even looks to the camera and asks, “I don’t understand how he can be such an asshole and then be so nice.” Siri, what is emotional abuse

Clearly, we were more than a little disappointed in the gentle treatment Jamie received by the objective professionals at The New York Times. Well, we have no intention of being “professional” or “objective.” Instead, we shall simultaneously timeline and decode Britney’s songs in an effort to document why her dad (a Cancer with a God complex) is the actual worst. So here is our oughts-burned CD (hold the JT tracks) tentatively titled: It’s Jamie, bastard.

Track 1: My Prerogative

“I don’t need permission / make my own decisions / that’s my prerogative” 

July 26, 2004: Britney’s estimated $100-million fortune is placed into a SJB Revocable Trust (Case # BP109096) and she is listed as the sole Trustee. Oops…things are looking good!

Track 2: Heaven on Earth

“Don’t know what I’d do if I ever lose you / look at you and what I see is heaven on earth”

Feb. 21, 2007: After Britney is admitted to rehab, Kevin Federline is granted an emergency custody hearing. It’s later confirmed in a 2012 testimony by Jamie’s own attorney that Britney’s father “convinced Federline to obtain sole legal custody of their two young children”. Conspiring with her ex so that he would be prepared to file for custody the day after she enters rehab is even more repulsive than K-Fed’s bejeweled Ed Hardy everything. Heartbreakingly, in Britney: For The Record, Brit explains, “that would be heaven for me: to have my two kids…on an island and no one could get to us.”

Track 3: Amnesia

“I forgot my name / I forgot my telephone number / If he wanna see me / He don’t even know it”

Jan. 4, 2008: Britney is placed on an involuntary psychiatric 5150 hold when the one and only Dr. Phil is called to her hospital room. If inviting a TV doctor (unless there’s a “Mc” in front of their name) to come and exploit your daughter’s alleged psychiatric breakdown isn’t the work of actual Satan, we don’t know what is. 

Track 4 : Kill the Lights

“Eff me over / your exposure / not the best / you want me bad / I want you out”

February 1, 2008: While Britney is placed on a second 5150, Jamie gets his wish and the court places Brit under a temporary conservatorship citing “dementia.” For real. Three days later, Britney’s request to choose her own lawyer is denied as well as her “very strong desire” for her alcoholic father not to be named the conservator of her estate. It’s our personal belief that no one knows the character of a man like his daughter. Despite this, the court later rules that Britney’s conservatorship is permanent, costing Britney over $2.7M in legal fees alone. Lynne Spears then releases her memoir Through The Storm detailing how Jamie perfectly conceived and executed the conservatorship.

Track 5: Out from Under

“When I’m out from under /I don’t wanna feel the pain / what good would it do me now/ I’ll get it all figured out / when I’m out from under / so let me go / just let me fly away”

Jan. 21, 2009: Britney leaves a voicemail to lawyer Jon Eardley in which she claims, “my father has threatened me several times, you know, he’ll take my children away.” Eardley explains Britney’s civil rights are being violated and later testifies that there have “been significant verbal attacks by her live-in father” and Eardley “is concerned for the emotional and physical safety of Britney.”

Track 6: Womanizer

“Look at you gettin’ more than just a re-up / baby, you got all the puppets with their strings up”

March 3, 2009: Just three months after being restrained in the hospital, Circus Starring Britney Spears premieres. Britney completes 97 shows in nine months while also being legally incapable of providing for her own basic personal and financial needs. 

Track 7: Work Bitch

“Here comes the smasher / here comes the master / here comes the big beat /big beat disaster”

May 31, 2013: Jamie Spears embarrassingly registers as President, Secretary, and Director of Atara Tours, Inc. Luckily for Jamie, the “Britney: Piece Of Me” residency grosses over $137,695,392. How much of that do we think is the secretary’s cut? Soon enough, another album and lucrative two-year residency is secured, supplemented by a contractual agreement with Caesar’s Entertainment that the conservatorship “must remain in place.”

Track 8: Liar

“Left, right, nowhere to turn / I’m left in the ash from the bridges you burned…it’s too late for apologies / nothing you can offer me now”

May 2, 2014: Jamie seeks additional compensation from Britney’s activities in addition to the $16,000/month allowance and the $2,000/month for rent he already receives. Confusingly, two years later, Money Nation reports that Britney has earned over $670M while conservatorship filings suggest she is only worth $46M. Either there’s some shady shiz going on and/or the Mountain DewLittle in charge is almost as bad as Trump at maintaining profit. 

Track 9: Hold on Tight

“So wicked / In the way he moves / don’t miss it / do not be a fool”

Mar. 4, 2019: Lawyer Andrew Wallet asks to resign immediately as co-conservator of Britney’s estate. Wallet cites that, “substantial detriment, irreparable harm and immediate danger will result to the conservatee” if he is not removed. The next day, Wallet’s resignation is granted by the court, leaving Jamie as the sole conservator.

Track 10: Just Like Me

“Before I think / I start to run / but you can’t even face me / know exactly what you’ve done”

Apr. 3, 2019: One month into Jamie’s lone reign, Britney checks into a mental health facility to “help her cope with her father’s illness.” Do we think Britney was admitted to process the grief of her father’s colon that ruptured five months prior? Or, has history taught us that Jamie uses facilities as a way to silence his daughter when she begins to seek independence? Not-so-shockingly, on April 16, Britney’s Gram (a popular podcast doing the Lord’s work) releases an anonymous voicemail confirming that Britney’s hospitalization was forced.

Bonus Track: Don’t Cry

“If they told me it’s over / I wouldn’t believe it”

November 10, 2020: After months of hearings, the judge finally rules on Britney’s request to appoint Bessemer Trust Company but denies the supplemental request to suspend her father, leaving Jamie still in control of Britney’s finances.

As of today, according to LA Court’s schedule for Case# BP108870 (our first tattoo?), four status hearings are scheduled. We can’t help but hope there will soon be independence for Britney and justice against her Queen B-keeper father. Until then, we remain grateful for documentarians like Samantha Stark who so poignantly remind us of Britney’s unimaginable strength. Unfortunately, 13 years later, Britney’s words in MTV’s 2008 documentary still ring true: “I’m kind of stuck in this place. And it’s like, how do you deal? You know? And you just cope. And that’s what I do. I just cope with it. Every day.”

Images: Chris Farina/Corbis via Getty Images

Britney Spears Says She’s Afraid Of Her Father As Judge Rules He Will Remain Her Conservator

As you probably know by now, the legal battle over Britney Spears’ conservatorship seems to be never-ending, and every few months, we get new updates on the latest developments in this arrangement that has now lasted over a decade. The back-and-forth legal drama can be exceedingly difficult to understand, but overall, it’s clear that Britney is unhappy with the current situation.

This summer, there was a slew of updates. Britney requested that her temporary conservator, Jodi Montgomery, be made permanent, rather than her father Jamie being reinstated. (Due to health reasons, Jamie stepped down as her personal conservator in 2019, but has remained the conservator of her estate.) Jamie pushed back on this, requesting that he and his former partner Andrew Wallet (who stepped down in March 2019) be returned to their former positions. While Britney said she is fine with the conservatorship being extended until 2021, she and her father disagreed on whether the conservatorship proceedings should be made public, with Britney’s team opposing a motion to seal court documents. And around the same time, we also found out for the first time that Britney’s mother and sister are involved in her financial trust. A lot going on, to say the least, but it didn’t end there.

Since that tumultuous period in August, things have been fairly quiet in regard to Britney’s case, until this week. On Tuesday, Britney’s attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, spoke on her behalf in a court hearing, telling the judge, “my client has informed me that she is afraid of her father,” adding that Britney made it clear “she will not perform as long as her father is in charge of her career.” Capping off his statement in a way that really got the fans’ attention, Ingham said “we are really at a crossroads.” The good news? Now I know I’m going to rewatch Crossroads later. The bad news? Literally everything else.

Of course, it’s disappointing for Britney fans to hear that she likely won’t be getting back to music any time soon, but the revelation that she is afraid of her father is alarming. Ingham also added that Britney has not spoken to her father in “a long time.” Britney’s mother Lynne, who is divorced from Jamie, also issued a statement through her attorney, calling Britney and Jamie’s relationship “toxic” (no pun intended, I assume), and saying “it has broken Lynne’s heart that it has come to this point.”

Jamie Spears’ attorney fought back at these claims, blaming the lack of communication on Britney’s attorney, and arguing that there is not “a shred of evidence to support my client’s suspension.” For the time being, Judge Brenda Penny seemed to agree, declining the request to suspend Jamie Spears from his role in the conservatorship. She did, however, agree to “hear further arguments for his suspension or removal,” which Britney’s attorney said he would provide. Basically, this fight isn’t over yet.

But despite Jamie Spears remaining in his role in the conservatorship, there was one silver lining in the judge’s rulings this week. Previously, Britney had requested that corporate fiduciary Bessemer Trust be named a co-conservator in her finances, and that request was approved this week. For now, they’ll have to try to cooperate with Britney’s father, but that may be changing depending on the outcome of the additional upcoming hearings, the first of which has been scheduled for December 16.

Meanwhile, after a brief hiatus, Britney has been back on Instagram lately, posting more of her trademark chaotic content. She resurfaced last week with a video, in which she assured her fans that she’s “the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.” Good for Britney; that makes one of us!

 

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Since then, she’s posted several times, including a video of her dancing, some inspirational messages, and a minute-long clip of her posing with a flower. Whatever Britney is going through in court right now, at least her social media is as delightfully strange as ever.

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Images: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com; britneyspears / Instagram

Britney Spears Has Thoughts On The #FreeBritney Movement

Even though Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship since 2008, it wasn’t until the #FreeBritney movement gained traction in 2019 that it became publicly talked about. Since then, many fans have expressed concern about Britney’s treatment, and it appears we’re finally getting some clarity on the situation, directly from Brit. Last week, we broke down numerous new developments in her conservatorship situation, including her sister Jamie Lynn’s appointment as a trustee, and more importantly, Britney’s wish that her father not be involved in the future.

Last month, a judge extended Britney’s conservatorship for a further six months, leading the ACLU to offer her their services, but new paperwork this filed week suggests that she is actually fine with the current arrangement. On Monday, her attorney wrote that Britney’s conservatorship is “voluntary,” and that she “wishes to exercise her right to nominate a conservator of the estate.” Last month’s court filings showed that Britney was “strongly opposed” to her father returning to his previous role as her conservator, which he vacated in 2019 for health reasons. While Britney’s father controlled her finances for more than a decade, it was recently reported that she wished for a “qualified corporate fiduciary to fill that role,” and in this week’s filing, she officially requested that Bessemer Trust Company, N.A. be appointed her new conservator. Bessemer Trust is a worldwide financial management company that handles over a hundred billion dollars with thousands of clients.

Along with the question of Jamie Spears’ future involvement in the conservatorship, Britney and her father also disagree on whether or not these proceedings should be public. Jamie Spears recently filed a motion to seal court documents pertaining to the case, but Britney’s team opposed this motion. In a filing, they wrote “Britney herself is vehemently opposed to this effort by her father to keep her legal struggle hidden away in the closet as a family secret.”

Last month, Britney’s father spoke to The New York Post, calling the #FreeBritney movement “a joke,” saying that “these conspiracy theorists don’t know anything.” He also hit back at accusations that he’s stolen or mismanaged his daughter’s money, claiming that he has to “report every nickel and dime spent to the court every year.” Last April, as #FreeBritney became a trending topic, Britney spoke out on her desire for privacy, telling her fans on Instagram “what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way.”

But a lot has happened in the last year, and in a rare public comment on the fan support for Britney, her attorney wrote on September 3rd that the #FreeBritney movement is “Far from being a conspiracy theory or a ‘joke’ as James reportedly told the media, in large part this scrutiny is a reasonable and even predictable result of James’ aggressive use of the sealing procedure over the years to minimize the amount of meaningful information made available to the public.” 

While Jamie reiterated that the court proceedings should be “private,” Britney’s attorney wrote in the latest filing that Spears “welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her many fans.” A final decision about Britney’s conservator going forward is expected this fall.

 

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Images: DFree / Shutterstock.com

There Are Major New Developments In Britney Spears’ Conservatorship

In case you’ve been been focused on other things lately (can’t imagine what), there’s been a lot going on this summer with Britney Spears. We’ve come a long way from last spring, when it was rumored that she was being held against her will in a mental facility, or that she escaped said facility, but things with her conservatorship are as complicated as ever.

As you may know, Britney Spears has been under a wide-ranging conservatorship since 2008, with her father Jamie overseeing nearly every facet of her life as the conservator. For the last decade, Jamie Spears has had control over his daughter’s finances and medical care, as well as career decisions like tours and residencies, and even whether or not she is allowed to drive a car. It’s an extreme situation, and over the years, the conservatorship has been the source of many court decisions and legal battles.

For many years, Britney’s father served as co-conservator with attorney Andrew Wallet, who handled Britney’s finances, but after Wallet stepped down last year, Jamie Spears assumed total control. Later in 2019, Jamie temporarily stepped down from his role as Britney’s conservator, due to some life-threatening health issues—and Britney doesn’t want him back in charge. Since Jamie stepped down, Britney’s manager, Jodi Montgomery, has served as her conservator, and Britney is now seeking to make Jodi’s position permanent. In a court filing earlier this month, Spears’ team wrote that “Britney is strongly opposed to James’ return as conservator of her person.” (James = Jamie.) Britney is requesting that Jodi Montgomery remain in her role as conservator, along with a “qualified corporate fiduciary” to handle her financial matters. Britney’s attorney also noted that he expected Jamie would “aggressively” push back against these requests. He was right—Jamie Spears has already reportedly filed a request that he and Andrew Wallet be reinstated.

There are a lot of factors at play here, and the situation is made even more complicated by the bigger picture with Jamie Spears, who was investigated last year after allegations that he abused Britney’s son Sean. It’s still not entirely clear what truly happened, but both of Britney’s sons were granted a three-year restraining order barring Jamie from seeing them. Britney’s request to have her father permanently removed came last week, as a judge extended the conservatorship for six months, until early 2021. Reportedly, Britney’s attorneys now have a few weeks to file any official motions regarding the conservatorship, which would include permanently removing Jamie. Theoretically, that would be decided sometime in the fall, so stay tuned.

But that’s not all that’s happening with Britney’s conservatorship. Turns out, Britney’s mom and sister are both getting involved in her finances. Way back in 2004, Britney established a trust to protect her assets for herself and her sons, and to “hold and manage her material financial assets during her lifetime, and provide distribution of those assets upon her death.” The trust includes traditional assets like property and investments, but also “furniture and furnishings, clothing, jewelry, vehicles and accessories to vehicles, books, paintings, and other artwork, and other tangible articles of personal, domestic household, or recreational use or nature, together with any insurance on such property.” Basically, everything.

Since 2008, the trust has been controlled by Britney’s conservators (aka mostly her dad), but this week The Blast obtained new documents that revealed Britney’s sister, Jamie Lynn, was also made a trustee in 2018. Her appointment was signed off by Jamie Spears and Andrew Wallet, who were co-conservators at the time. According to the documents, the SJB Trust (Sean, Jayden, Britney) lists Britney as the sole beneficiary while she is alive, but if she were to die, the money would basically go straight to her kids. But Jamie apparently requested approval to create “blocked accounts,” which are accounts with specific limitations on who can access them, and how much they can withdraw.

So Jamie Lynn has secretly been involved in Britney’s financial arrangements for the past two years, and now Britney’s mom is finally getting in on the family affair. Last month, Lynne Spears filed a request to be named an “interested person” in Britney’s trust, which wouldn’t give her control over anything, but would ensure that she was notified of “all matters” involving the trust.

Like many of the developments in this story, it’s extremely difficult to figure out who has good intentions here. The family has rarely spoken publicly about the situation, but last month, Jamie Lynn Spears passionately spoke out on behalf of her sister on Instagram, defending Britney’s privacy and calling her a “strong, badass, unstoppable woman.” At the time, we didn’t know that Jamie Lynn was involved in Britney’s trust, but hopefully she’s actually helping.

 

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Similarly, we have no idea why Lynne Spears is choosing to get involved now. Whatever the reasons behind these recent moves, it seems like the next few months will be an important time, with Jamie’s ultimate involvement clearly a point of contention.

While the Spears family battles for control of Britney’s affairs, Britney has a powerful force in her corner: the ACLU. Last week, as the news about Britney requesting her father’s removal broke, the ACLU tweeted an offer of support, saying that “People with disabilities have a right to lead self-directed lives and retain their civil rights.”

People with disabilities have a right to lead self-directed lives and retain their civil rights.

If Britney Spears wants to regain her civil liberties and get out of her conservatorship, we are here to help her. https://t.co/uLRakw7c4C

— ACLU (@ACLU) August 19, 2020

What will happen in the next six months? There’s no way to know, but regardless, hopefully Britney is safe, happy, and healthy, and also, I would love some new music.

 

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Images: Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com; commentsbycelebs / Instagram; ACLU / Twitter

Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Won An Important Court Battle

Back in April (feels like yesterday) news emerged that Britney Spears may have been held against her will in a mental facility, sparking what became the #FreeBritney movement. Reports said that Britney had been held in the facility for two months, and was put there by her father Jamie, who was her conservator. A conservator is someone who’s appointed by a judge to manage “the financial affairs and/or daily life of another due to physical or mental limitations, or old age.” (Yeah, I got that from Wikipedia, fight me.) Upon learning that Britney was being held in the facility supposedly against her will, many fans took to social media, demanding Jamie #FreeBritney. However, others argued that if she really is unable to care for herself, and we really don’t know because we’re just random fans who are not privy to her mental state, then we have no place clamoring for her freedom.

TMZ reported in April that Jamie did not have the ability to send Britney to a facility against her will, or control her medications. Some (Betches co-founder Sami) felt like that sounded like a technicality, and even if he couldn’t technically do those things, he could still exert enough control over her life to essentially control those things. Well, now we may not be able to sit here and debate any longer whether or not Britney’s conservatorship is in her best interests, because Jamie Spears got an injunction against some guy who was trying to talk sh*t about it. *Frantically erases any negative #FreeBritney articles*

So this guy, Anthony Elia, started a blog called the Absolute Britney. In the blog, Elia basically claimed Jamie Spears was manipulating Britney’s Insta to make her look more mentally ill and less able to care for herself than she actually is/was. He called Britney’s conservatorship a “human rights violation”, which feels a tiny bit overblown. Jamie Spears thought so too (well, if we’re being technical, he thought it was defamatory), and was able to convince a judge to order Elia to knock it off (which is the legal term, thank you).

In the lawsuit, the conservatorship said, “It is time for the conspiracy theories about Britney Spears’ well-being and the mob #FreeBritney movement to stop.”

Apparently, the blog posts triggered death threats against some of the people involved in the conservatorship, which is not all that surprising considering a recent blog post on Absolute Britney ends with the following passage: “We must try to remain positive and we MUST stick together Britney Army. Stop fighting with each other and turning against each other. We are a family. We must BE united as a TEAM for us to help Britney.”

Yeesh. It’s great to be passionate about something, but I feel like Britney Spears does not need an “army” of faceless keyboard warriors to go to battle for her in undetermined ways (especially when that battle ends in an injunction). Where’s Chris Crocker when you need him?

Images: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Britney Spears Lost 50/50 Custody Of Her Kids

Who ever thought that, in the year 2019, we would still be talking about Britney Spears and Kevin Federline? It’s been over a decade since they split up, but there’s new drama in the custody arrangements for their two sons, and it all traces back to Britney’s dad.

Obviously, this has been a chaotic year for Britney and her dad Jamie, with rumors that he was holding her against her will, and a #FreeBritney movement being started. We never really knew all the facts there, and Britney has assured everyone that she’s fine on Instagram, but it definitely seemed like something wasn’t right with the whole family situation.

Things escalated last month, when Britney took her sons to her dad Jamie’s house for a visit. For reference, Brit’s two sons Sean Preston and Jayden James are 13 and 12 years old, which makes me feel absolutely ancient. I remember when she was driving with the babies on her lap, so times really have changed. While at her dad’s house, a disagreement broke out that led to an alleged physical altercation. According to the police report that Kevin Federline filed, their son Sean Preston was behind a locked bedroom door, and Jamie Spears allegedly broke down the door, then “violently shook” Sean. Yikes. Britney then took her two sons away from Jamie’s house, and Kevin was called to come pick them up.

While Britney and K-Fed (I missed saying that name) had previously been splitting custody 50/50, they’ve agreed to a new arrangement where Britney will only get the boys 30% of the time. Apparently this new arrangement was first discussed over a year ago, but was only finalized last week. I don’t know exactly how these cases work, but I have a feeling this timing probably wasn’t a coincidence. The attorney filing the custody papers also said that Britney really only has the boys for around 10% of the time, and that her time with them is usually supervised. This sounds sad, but again, we really don’t know if Britney is in a position to be taking care of her kids.

In addition to the new custody agreement, Kevin Federline has been granted a restraining order against Jamie Spears. While we still don’t know the whole truth of everything that’s gone down with Britney and her dad, it seems like he’s the root of a lot of these issues. Obviously, Britney has her own sh*t to deal with, but it seems like her dad might not be the right person to help her at this point. In 2018, K-Fed also got increased child support from Britney, because he’s taking care of the kids more, and making less money than he did when they made the initial agreement in 2007.

Overall, this situation seems like one big mess, but hopefully the new agreement is the best thing for everyone involved. At least Britney Spears still gets to spend time with her kids, even if it isn’t a lot. And hopefully Jamie Spears can get his sh*t together, because he honestly sounds like a nightmare. IDK if we still need to #FreeBritney, but I’m rooting for her no matter what.

Images: Shutterstock; Giphy

Should We #FreeBritney Or Leave Her Alone?

So I guess I’m officially on the Britney beat now. The #FreeBritney movement hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down over the past few days, and even gained traction over the weekend when Britney was given a day pass out of her mental facility for Easter, which she spent with her boyfriend Sam Asghari. (And please, please don’t ask me to tell you my theory that he is not not a semi-hired babysitter-boyfriend being manipulated by her team via sponsorships and attention.)

Before I go any further on a topic that’s actually taken a more serious turn than I expected, I have to start by saying that I’m both a huge fan of Britney’s and someone who takes mental health very seriously. I have mental illness in my family and have seen the gray areas involved and how deeply sad it is when a loved one is unable to care for themselves. I’m not writing this for “clicks”—I’m not a staff writer and have no assignments or quota to hit. (I bet you’re wondering who I am now, right? RIGHT? It’s Sami, cofounder of Betches, hi.) I’m writing it because this subject has really struck a cord with me as a Britney fan, and after seeing a literal #FreeBritney protest on social media yesterday, it’s clear that it has for others as well. Also, good to see protests are still hot.

If you’re a Betch Slapped listener, you’ll hear in Tuesday’s episode we revisited the Britney conversation, and Jordana brought up the point that it’s impossible for us to know the state of Britney’s mental health, and whether or not she is actually a danger to herself and needs to be on medications controlled by a conservator. Basically, maybe Britney shouldn’t be #free if she’s a danger to herself, and we are doing damage by running our mouths on sh*t we don’t know. And she’s honestly right about that. The article I wrote last week when this scandal came out had many, many comments to the same effect, which I took seriously. But this issue is less about whether Britney needs to be under conservatorship and receiving mental health treatment, and more about whether or not her conservatorship, necessary or not, is functioning in her best interests.

TMZ reported today (in what, in my opinion, seemed generally like a puff piece fed directly from Jamie Spears’ PR team but I’m no primary source), that the conservatorship doesn’t give Jamie the ability to control what medications Britney is taking or the ability to send her to a mental facility against her will. Sure, but regardless, doesn’t the fact that Jamie Spears is her conservator in the first place provide him with enough power to manipulate her to act in his preferred ways, even if those specific terms are not laid out in the conservatorship?

While it’s impossible to see into the Spears family and know whether or not everything is legit, I don’t think it’s illogical to question the simple idea that a conservator shouldn’t have financial incentives that are tied to the control of their conservatee. Britney Spears’ financial success is directly beneficial to her family, meaning they have less of an incentive to objectively judge whether or not she should be performing at all. It’s really hard for people to be aware of a reality when their financial gain is dependent on them not being aware of it, whether you’re a trillionaire earth-ruining corporation or you’re Jamie Spears from Bumblefuck whose daughter got mind-blowingly famous. His own finances hinge on him not accepting that keeping Britney famous, performing, and forced to meet and greet thousands of strangers is potentially contributing to her mental health issues. It happened in 2007, and it’s not crazy to think it’s happening again.

And here we have the crux of the issue. As Britney fans, all of us are a teeny tiny bit a part of where she’s ended up. …Baby One More Time was the first CD I ever owned and loved, and the girl has been famous since she was 11 f*cking years old. She had no time to personally develop before she started being consumed by other people, so she’s forever stuck there. Not quite the makings of a mentally healthy adult. And it’s not just Britney—it’s hard to name many celebrities who got famous very young (aside from Hilary Duff) who you would categorize as “doing well.”

Since writing this article last night, Britney appeared on her own instagram with a message for her fans. She said: “I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me…Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful.” Then she made some weird allusion to some Sam Lutfi emails that I have no idea the relevance of, but as with any Britney moment, gave us just a big enough whiff of ascandal to take us deeper down the rabbit hole and drag her further down with us. So I’m just not even going to google what those emails are and try to take a new approach to Britney fandom.

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I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said. I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me. Don’t believe everything you read and hear. These fake emails everywhere were crafted by Sam Lutfi years ago… I did not write them. He was pretending to be me and communicating with my team with a fake email address. My situation is unique, but I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment ??? You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want! Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful. Love you ❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

On some level, it feels like Britney fans (and fans in general, sorry we’re not special) have a codependent relationship with the figures we love. We love them so much that we can’t let them be, even if it hurts them. We demand more music, more performances, more smiles and selfies at the meet and greet we spent our hard-earned money to attend. And it’s not even our fault! Celebrities are marketed towards us for their own profit, what else is there? Which is why Britney is different. She doesn’t control her finances or personal decisions, and it’s clear that the fame drives her deeper into a very painful hole that she may never really be able to fully get out of. The sad part is that there’s no real solution, and as someone DM’ed me (this is obviously a well-sourced article): “please don’t fan the flames on this…because if she truly is an unstable person, this is not helping.” Maybe it’s finally time for all of us to really leave Britney alone.

Images: Shutterstock; @britneyspears / Instagram