Judge ends Britney Spears conservatorship after 13 years
A Los Angeles court has ended Britney Spears’s conservatorship, bringing to a close the 13-year legal arrangement the pop star has ripped as “abusive” and securing victory for her fans’ “Free Britney” movement.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny ruled Friday that the conservatorship would come to an end immediately, Spears’s attorney Matthew Rosengart told reporters after a hearing.
“Britney as of today, is a free woman and she’s an independent woman,” Rosengart said. “And the rest — with her support system — will be up to Britney.”
Spears’s situation has drawn national scrutiny and increased attention to similar legal conservatorships.
The “Toxic” singer had been under the conservatorship, previously controlled by her father Jamie Spears, since 2008, following public mental health struggles.
But she began publicly speaking out about the arrangement in June, when she gave a scathing testimony in Los Angeles, alleging she has been “traumatized” by its control over her life and medical health.
Among the many accusations she leveled, Spears, 39, said that under the arrangement she could not marry her boyfriend and was forced to undergo nonstop psychiatric evaluations, as well as take birth control.
“I would like to progressively move forward, and I want to have the real deal. I want to be able to get married and have a baby,” she said. “I was told right now on the conservatorship I’m not able to get married or have a baby.”
Jamie Spears filed in early September to bring the legal arrangement to a close, telling the court that “recent events” called into question whether it was needed. In late September, he was officially removed from the arrangement.
John Zabel, a certified public accountant, was appointed to serve as a temporary replacement.
Jaime Spears’s legal team said in a court document on Nov. 1 that he was still on board with ending his daughter’s conservatorship, The Los Angeles Times noted.
Ahead of Friday’s hearing, Spears’s fiancée Sam Ashgari shared a video on Instagram of the couple wearing “#FreeBritney It’s a Human Rights Movement” shirts.
After Penny’s ruling, Ashgari posted a solid pink square with the word “FREEDOM.”
“History was made today,” he wrote in the caption. “Britney is free.”
Outside of the courtroom, fans rallied in support of Spears, with many wearing flags and signs that said #FreeBritney. Speakers at the rally also raised awareness of other conservatorships and called for broad changes to the system.
Once news broke that the conservatorship had been terminated, the crowd erupted in cheers and celebrated by singing Spears’s song “Stronger.”
“After 13 f—ing years,” a supporter screamed in a microphone. “Britney Spears!”
Speaking to the crowd after the hearing, Rosengart said Spears’s fans are “absolutely the best.”
“Britney loves you,” he said, to cheers. “You were essential in terms of the suspension of James P. Spears, and you were also essential in terms of what happened today.”
The recording artist’s legal arrangement has drawn the attention of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Washington and sparked changes to California’s conservatorship system.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed legislation in early October that imposes financial penalties on professional conservators who a court finds have abused their conservatee. Such conservators could also have their licenses sanctioned.
The legislation would also require the court at certain hearings to consider ending a conservatorship and would authorize circumstances under which the arrangement can be modified.
—Updated at 6:10 p.m.
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