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Britney Spears ‘strongly opposed’ to her father being sole conservator

Singer Britney Spears
Pop star Britney Spears is making moves to remove her father as sole conservator of her person and estate.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Britney Spears is asking a California court to remove her father, Jamie Spears — who has long handled the decision-making in both her personal and professional life — as her sole court-appointed conservator.

The pop star’s attorney requested that Jodi Montgomery, the temporary, licensed professional conservator overseeing her protracted case since September, be named permanent conservator of Spears’ personal affairs, according to court documents obtained by The Times.

“We are now at a point where the conservatorship must be changed substantially in order to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and her stated wishes,” Spears’ attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, wrote in documents filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The 38-year-old entertainer is “strongly opposed” to having her father return as what the court calls a “conservator of her person” and “strongly prefers” that Montgomery continue in that role before her appointment expires on Aug. 22.

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After more than a decade, why is Britney Spears still under a court-approved conservatorship, which leaves decisions involving her estate and everyday life to others?

As for the estate, Jamie Spears has been calling the shots since his co-conservator Andrew M. Wallet resigned in March 2019. Spears is also opposed to her father continuing in that capacity by himself and prefers to have a “qualified corporate fiduciary” appointed to serve in the role, the documents said.

Ingham said he expects the efforts to be “aggressively contested” by Jamie Spears.

A remote status hearing in the case has been scheduled for Wednesday. To coincide with it, a #FreeBritney rally outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown L.A. has been organized to demand an end to the conservatorship altogether.

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Britney Spears protest
Britney Spears fans and demonstrators rally to oppose her conservatorship outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 18, 2019.
(Laura Newberry / Los Angeles Times)

The move comes as the viral #FreeBritney campaign gained steam in recent weeks, with fans continuing to question Jamie Spears’ handling of the “Toxic” singer’s life. Earlier this month, Jamie Spears slammed the campaign, which claims the pop musician is being held captive by him, arguing that the movement’s organizers are “conspiracy theorists.”

“Fans and advocates argue that the conservatorship was established for financial reasons instead of the treatment of Britney’s mental health,” organizers said in a statement to The Times. “Tomorrow’s hearing is so important because Judge Brenda Penny will evaluate the role of Britney’s temporary conservator Jodi Montgomery and hopefully, Britney can speak to the judge.”

Britney Spears’ father says the #FreeBritney campaign is “a joke” and that organizers don’t have “a clue” about his daughter’s conservatorship.

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Since 2008, when she was twice committed to a psychiatric ward, the pop star has been under the legal guardianship of her father, lawyers and a care manager. The rare legal arrangement, meant to protect individuals who are unable to care for themselves, allows the elder Spears to negotiate on his daughter’s behalf in business, sell her property and control who she can see. All of her purchases are logged in a spending report that is sent to the court on an annual basis.

In Tuesday’s documents, the singer’s attorney summed up the lifetime of the case in three phases. The first is “triage,” in which her conservators “rescued her from a collapse, exploitation by predatory individuals and financial ruin” when the case began in 2008. The other two phases cover her resurgent performing years, followed by her recently stated desire not to perform.

One thing the coronavirus hasn’t changed is pop star Britney Spears’ social media presence, which has been random but oddly reassuring during the pandemic.

In recent months, the "... Baby One More Time” singer’s fans have reignited fears that she is trapped and sending coded messages for help through her Instagram posts. In April, after the mother of two revealed she accidentally burned down her home gym, her followers bombarded her post with comments expressing their concern for her well-being. One urged Spears to wear a specific color of outfit in her next Instagram post, and when she did, it was taken as a sign that she was indeed secretly requesting aid.

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In May, Spears released a previously unavailable single, “Mood Ring,” from her 2016 album, “Glory.” Last year, she canceled her Las Vegas residency and checked into a mental health facility after revealing that her father was sick. She has not performed live since 2018.

Times staff writer Amy Kaufman contributed to this report.


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