Britney Spears’s Conservatorship

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Kayla Katounas

On February fifth, The New York Times released Framing Britney Spears, an episode in their series of individual documentaries, “The New York Times Presents,” made for Hulu and FX. The documentary covers the pop star’s career and the details of her conservatorship under her father, Jamie Spears. A conservatorship is a legal arrangement where a person (conservator) is in charge of another person’s affairs because they are deemed incapable of doing it themselves. Since this release, “Free Britney,” the movement trying to free Britney Spears from her conservatorship, has grown in popularity. 

In 2007, Britney’s behaviors began to be deemed “crazy” by the media when she lost custody of her two children in a divorce and famously shaved her head. Jamie Spears filed for conservatorship over Britney in 2008, despite many claims that Jamie was absent for much of Britney’s life growing up. He succeeded, making him the conservator of her estate, and in charge of her money. This made her unable to make her own decisions about her life and career. In Britney: For the Record, a 2008 documentary by MTV, Britney said, “Even when you go to jail, y’know, there’s the time when you’re gonna get out. But in this situation, it’s never ending. It’s just like Groundhog Day.”

Framing Britney Spears featured several interviews with people who knew Spears, or were in some way involved in her life leading to her conservatorship. Felicia Culotta, an assistant and friend of Britney for the majority of her career, was featured several times in the documentary. “I will say the one reason I agreed to do the interview is so we can remind people of why they fell in love with her in the first place,” said Culotta. Along with being interviewed, she also shared several never before seen photos with The New York Times of Britney throughout her career. The documentary also features Adam Streisand, who used to be Britney’s lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, who represents Jamie Spears, and Daniel Ramos, a member of the paparazzi who’s car was hit with an umbrella by Britney Spears. Ramos put this umbrella up for auction years later. The Spears family was contacted, but none chose to participate in the documentary.

Britney Spears and the Free Britney movement were hit with a huge wave of support following the documentary. Many celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton, and Sarah Jessica Parker have voiced their support for the movement. Free Britney supporters have protested outside court hearings with “justice for Britney” posters. More people have also begun trying to “decode” the star’s Instagram posts. It is believed that she was subtly referencing Framing Britney Spears when on February ninth, four days after the documentary’s release, part of Britney’s caption read “Remember, no matter what we think we know about a person’s life, it is nothing compared to the actual person living behind the lens.” 

Currently, the case is still in and out of court. Britney’s lawyers have made it clear that “she is afraid of her father,” and she will not continue to perform if he remains her conservator. It is unclear whether she is trying to terminate the conservatorship entirely, but there is definitely an effort to remove Jamie Spears as her conservator and replace him permanently with Jodi Montgomery, Spears’s temporary personal conservator. As for Jamie Spears opinion, his lawyer, Vivian Thoreen said in an interview with CNN that he “would love nothing more than to see Britney not need a conservatorship. Whether or not there is an end to the conservatorship really depends on Britney. If she wants to end her conservatorship, she can file a petition to end it.”