#FreeBritney… Kind Of

Free Britney: History of Spears conservatorship movement - Los Angeles Times

By Julia Kemp

#FreeBritney gained popularity on social media when A-list celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton, and Halsey came forward regarding the situation and when fans voiced their concern for Britney and her suspicious Instagram posts. From new attention on social media and celebrities, Britney Spears’ conservatorship was brought back into the spotlight. Britney was first placed under the control of her father, Jamie Spears, in 2008, after a public breakdown. Often, conservatorships are granted to a close relative of an elderly person or severely mentally ill individual who does not have the ability to control their own lives or finances. That close relative then has the power to control the individual’s living situation, money, and medical needs. Britney, however, was 27 and suffering from a temporary psychotic episode; she was able to live without being under the control of her father for the 13 years that she was in the conservatorship. This enraged fans and fellow celebrities, who believed that the pop star was being abused in a conservatorship which was not necessary for the now-stable 39-year-old. 

In February of 2021, the New York Times released a documentary called “Framing Britney Spears” which launched the #FreeBritney movement. This influenced major celebrities to share their perspectives of the movement. Paris Hilton, Britney’s longtime friend and fellow 2000’s icon, declared her support for the #FreeBritney movement on social media and during public events. Other celebrities soon followed, sharing their support on social media, during concerts, and talk shows. In June of 2021, after a 13-year-long struggle for freedom, Britney Spears and her attorneys went to a public hearing in which she accused her conservator of bullying and abusing her, including a claim that he forced her to take birth control when she wanted to have a baby.

Finally, in August of 2021, Jamie Spears agreed to eventually step down from the conservatorship after long battles with fans and attorneys. Controversially,  Britney cannot be released from the care of a conservator unless the court decides that she is no longer incapacitated. So, while the court agreed that Jamie Spears is unfit to have control over Britney and her finances, it will require a much longer and more tedious process to completely remove Britney from her conservatorship. She will now be placed under the care of a different conservator unless she is able to prove that she is stable and able to make her own decisions. #FreeBritney supporters are now posed with a question that will affect the future of Britney Spears’ life: will she ever be able to live on her own again?