Brittney Spears fifteen year conservatorship explained


Courtesy of Wiki Commons

In 2008, Jamie Spears became the conservator for his daughter, Brittney Spears court appointed conservatorship.

The term “conservatorship” has made headlines in the last few months with new media attention brought to the conservatorship of Britney Spears. Despite all of this coverage, the definition of a conservatorship has not been explained well across the board. 

A conservatorship is appointed by a court when someone is incapable of making their own financial and personal decisions, so a conservator is assigned power over those decisions (this could be a lawyer or a guardian). While this is often done with intentions to protect a loved one, it was inappropriately applied and abused in Spears’ case. Britney Spears’ father Jamie Spears has been her conservator since 2008, when she was placed under what was supposed to be a temporary conservatorship. 

The conservatorship was appointed due to initial concerns about Spears’ mental health, as she both lost custody of her kids and attacked a paparazzi photographer in 2007. However, what started as concern for Spears’ mental health quickly became about control over her decisions and was heavily motivated by money. 

The new Netflix documentary “Britney vs. Spears” details issues with the conservatorship by including testimonials from journalists, as well as former assistants and friends of Spears and her family. 

Before the conservatorship was even final, there were issues with the process. According to the documentary, Spears wasn’t notified that her father would be appointed as her conservator until five days in advance, as per the normal process. This was reportedly  due to allegations that her partner at the time (Hollywood operator Sam Lutfi) was dangerous. Spears requested several times over the years that her father be removed as her sole conservator, while the documentary stated that the media reported that Spears never had any opposition to the conservatorship. 

According to the documentary, Spears was still put under immense pressure to work when the state of her mental health wasn’t clear. Spears and her team were unaware if she would be able to continue touring when new dates were added to one of her tours. 

Despite the pressure in her work life, Spears was not allowed to drive her car or go out to eat without her father’s permission due to the terms of the conservatorship. 

Some conservatorships are necessary and are appointed when someone is truly incapable of making their own decisions due to mental or physical circumstances. However, Spears was never in any circumstances remotely similar to what is typical for someone in a conservatorship. Her father used the conservatorship as a way to control her and capitalize on her earnings by taking advantage of her finances. It shouldn’t have taken so many people and so much media attention for termination of the conservatorship to be considered, but now we can all rejoice in the fact that Spears’ father was removed from her conservatorship in late September of this year.