Law & the Courts

Judge Ends Britney Spears’s Conservatorship

Britney Spears at the GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 2018. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

A judge ended Britney Spears’s conservatorship, which controlled the pop star’s life and finances for almost 14 years, in a ruling on Friday.

“As of today, the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated,” Judge Brenda Penny of the Los Angeles Superior Court said in her ruling.

Spears’s father, James Spears, established the conservatorship in 2008, in the wake of a series of mental-health issues for the performer. Spears was 26 at the time.

However, petitions by fans to “free Britney” and a New York Times documentary on the subject in February sparked renewed interest in the conservatorship. Spears then spoke at a hearing on the conservatorship in June, telling a judge that she was “traumatized” by the control that her father and the conservatorship exercised over her life.

“The control he had over someone as powerful as me — he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000 percent. He loved it,” Spears said.

A former employee of security firm Black Box subsequently alleged that James Spears and the company ran surveillance on Britney that included secretly recording her in her bedroom, the employee told the New York Times.

Representatives for James Spears have repeatedly denied that he was abusive toward his daughter in any way.

“I understand that every story wants to have a villain, but people have it so wrong here,” Vivian Thoreen, James Spears’s attorney, told ABC’s Good Morning America in September. “This is a story about a fiercely loyal, loving, and dedicated father who rescued his daughter from a life-threatening situation. People were harming her, and they were exploiting her.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is also a violist, and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces.


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