Pop superstar Britney Spears has been making headlines for months, but not for reasons relating to her music career. Spears has been living under a conservatorship for more than a decade now, largely controlled by her father, Jamie Spears. As the #FreeBritney movement gained steam over the past year and a documentary episode released that focused on her situation, Spears surprised fans by making the request to directly address the court regarding the conservatorship. Spears had been silent on the matter for years. Now, in a lengthy and powerful statement, Spears compared aspects of her father's conservatorship to "sex trafficking."
Britney Spears broke her silence with a 24-minute statement about the conservatorship she's been living under since 2008, directly addressing Los Angeles probate judge Brenda Penny. In the statement (via Variety), Spears details the strain she was under after being "forced to do" her 2018 tour and wasn't given time to take a break before starting a new show in Las Vegas. She was later put on lithium "out of nowhere," which is a "very, very strong" medication compared to what she was used to, and she "felt drunk" on it. Then, Spears stated her father sent her to a "small rehab program" that would cost $60,000 per month, leaving her crying for an hour while her dad "loved every minute of it." Spears continued:
The control he had over someone as powerful as me — he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%. He loved it. I packed my bags and went to that place. I worked seven days a week, no days off, which in California, the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking. Making anyone work against their will, taking all their possessions away — credit card, cash, phone, passport — and placing them in a home where they work with the people who live with them. They all lived in the house with me, the nurses, the 24-7 security. There was one chef that came there and cooked for me daily during the weekdays. They watched me change every day — naked – morning, noon and night. My body – I had no privacy door for my room. I gave eight vials (?) of blood a week.
During this time of Britney Spears' conservatorship, her experiences led to the comparison to "sex trafficking," as she was denied means and possessions while still working seven days per week. The pop star elaborated on her heartbreaking situation at the time:
If I didn’t do any of my meetings and work from eight to six at night, which is 10 hours a day, seven days a week, no days off, I wouldn’t be able to see my kids or my boyfriend. I never had a say in my schedule. They always told me I had to do this. And Ma’am, I will tell you, sitting in a chair 10 hours a day, seven days a week, it ain’t fun… and especially when you can’t walk out the front door. And that’s why I’m telling you this again two years later, after I’ve lied and told the whole world 'I’m OK and I’m happy.' It’s a lie. I thought I just maybe if I said that enough. Because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized. You know, fake it till you make it. But now I’m telling you the truth, OK? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.
Although Britney Spears' posts on Instagram have led fans to feel concern for her situation from time to time, her public appearances over the past few years never gave away everything she was feeling or what she went through in being denied access to her loved ones. And while Spears was clear at several points in her statement that she's depressed, angry, and unhappy, she also bravely opened up about a lot of what has gone unsaid for years. Spears also explained how she has been denied the right to control her own body:
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. I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby, I have a (IUD) inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the (IUD) out so I could start trying to have another baby. But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children – any more children. So basically, this conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good.
That Britney Spears is being prevented from seeing a doctor and having the IUD preventing her from conceiving a child removed is one of the most shocking reveals to come out of her powerful statement. The mom of two sons shared that she wants to have another child, but has not been able to do so under her father's conservatorship, and it's not hard to see Spears' perspective that the situation is causing her harm. She closed her statement by summing up what she hopes to achieve in opening up:
I deserve to have a life. I’ve worked my whole life. I deserve to have a two to three year break and just, you know, do what I want to do. But I do feel like there is a crutch here. And I feel open and I’m okay to talk to you today about it. But I wish I could stay with you on the phone forever, because when I get off the phone with you, all of a sudden all I hear all these no’s — no, no, no. And then all of a sudden I get I feel ganged up on and I feel bullied and I feel left out and alone. And I’m tired of feeling alone. I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does, by having a child, a family, any of those things, and more so.
Judge Brenda Penny commended Britney Spears for having the courage to say what she said in her statement, and that she is "sensitive to everything" that Spears said. The judge also said that "the court does appreciate your coming on the line and sharing how you’re feeling," but whether Spears opening up results in change for the conservatorship remains to be seen.
Whatever happens next, Britney Spears has finally felt comfortable speaking out herself about her situation, and clearing the air after what Hulu's Framing Britney Spears documentary released that Spears has said made her cry "for two weeks" after seeing the light she was put in. Hopefully the singer's comments result in some change that make her feel that she's no longer being harmed by those with power over her.