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The 38-year-old has been under a conservatorship since 2008 following her 'breakdown' in 2007, when she was famously seen shaving her head.
The conservatorship has been a controversial topic amongst Britney fans, because they believe it's being used to control her behaviour. Until September last year, her father Jamie Spears was the appointed conservator before a care manager was temporarily appointed.
So you agree?
A 38 year old Britney Spears shouldn’t be under a 12 year long abusive conservortship put on her for mistakes she made in her mid 20s resulting in a loss of rights, income, and custody of her children... #freebritney pic.twitter.com/JguQ7HZuOh
— bryan ✨ #FreeBritney (@bryannspears) July 11, 2020
A podcast called Britney's Gram officially kicked off the conversation last year after receiving a phone call from a former member of the singer's legal team, who had quit a few weeks earlier.
— Jeremy Ray (@jeremyyrayy92) July 8, 2020
The caller said that Britney had been in treatment since January 2019, not April as it had been reported at the time and that she did not consent to the treatment.
They also claimed that Jamie forced the cancellation of her Domination show because she refused to take medication.
This is when fans became really curious about the conservatorship, which requires her conservator to sign off on every single major decision she makes – these are normally reserved for the seriously ill, elderly or mentally disabled.
Britney is not allowed to make decisions about her business, her health, voting, marriage and more. She's not even allowed to drive a car.
In 2008, shortly after the conservatorship had been agreed upon, she made a rare public announcement about the situation.
“I feel it’s too in control,” she told MTV at the time. "If I wasn’t under the restraints I’m under, I’d feel so liberated."
"There’s no excitement, there’s no passion," she said, adding, "Even when you go to jail, you know there’s the time when you’re going to get out. But in this situation, it’s never-ending."
Since then, she's revealed very little about the arrangement.
What is a conservatorship?
In California where Britney’s guardianship was decided upon, a conservatorship is a legal guardianship where a representative is appointed when a court agrees that an individual cannot make their own decisions.
In Britney's case, it was her father who initially took over her financial assets, her estate and career negotiations. He can even decide who she can and cannot spend time with.
As of the last court review, the date on Britney's conservatorship has been extended until at least August 22, 2020, which is why fans are more vocal about the movement than ever before.
Jamie has attempted to make the conservatorship permanent, saying he believes his daughter suffers from early-onset dementia.
Celebrity and family support
Several celebrities including Paris Hilton, rapper Eve and Cher have publicly supported the #FreeBritney movement.
— Cher (@cher) January 23, 2020
Fans cry "Free Britney" as rumors swirl the superstar is being held in a mental health facility against her will from her father. The hosts weigh in on the matter. pic.twitter.com/kpNrcxMqlj
— The Talk (@TheTalkCBS) April 17, 2019
Paris shared a photo of herself and Britney with the hashtag and even Britney's own mother Lynn Spears has liked a number of #FreeBritney posts.
Britney's sister Jamie Lynn Spears shared a post last year speaking about the concerns for her sister. “10 years ago, who was there??” she wrote.
“I have been here long before anyone else and I'll be here long after. I love my sister with everything I have.
“So anyone or anything that speaks to the contrary can GTFOH with all the comments about what you don't understand."
10 years ago, who was there?? I have been here long before anyone else and I’ll be here long after. I love my sister with everything I have. So anyone or anything that speaks to the contrary can GTFOH with all the comments about what you don’t understand. pic.twitter.com/raeU7wlh5C
— Jamie Lynn Spears (@jamielynnspears) April 23, 2019
Britney's own son Jayden, 13, has previously spoken about his grandfather, saying, "He can go die."
His friend asked in a live video: “How can we support your mom?”
Jayden responded, “Well, I don't know. ‘Cause like I'm trying to do stuff, but like they're all over me or whatever.”
His friend then probed further, asking, “Is your grandpa a jerk?”, with Jayden replying, “Yeah, he's a pretty big d**k. He can go die."
There are reports, however, that celebrities who use the hashtag will be threatened with a lawsuit unless they remove their statements.
Britney's cries for help?
Britney has been sharing regular updates from quarantine by posting to Instagram and TikTok, assuring fans she is ok, but some believe these videos are a cry for help.
In one instance, a fan told her to wear yellow in her next video if she needed help, which she did, making fans believe she's trying to leave clues for them.
— valeska (@iatemuggles) July 13, 2020
Some fans also believe their comments are being deleted off her Instagram posts and that her boyfriend Sam Asghari is in on the conservatorship.
— 👑 #FREEBRITNEY #BLACKLIVESMATTER (@touchofpisces) July 8, 2020
What really happened to Britney?
Instagram account Dirty2000s summarised the entire version of events and urged fans to support the movement.
In a nutshell, the post reveals that throughout Britney's entire music career she's been telling her fans that she's "controlled and treated as a product" in her lyrics.
They claim that examples include the songs 'Lucky', 'Overprotected', 'My Prerogative', 'Circus', 'Piece of Me' and 'Gimme More'.
They say that in her music videos and photoshoots she is often seen "in a cage or in chains".
It continues, saying her real singing voice is more similar to Christina Aguilera's however, her record label didn't like this because they were both on the Mickey Mouse Club and were set to release solo albums around the same time.
This apparently led to her being retrained to sing in "the baby voice" which has, the post says, been destroying her singing ability over the years which is also why she is known to lip-sync.
The post goes on to say that Britney did attempt to release an album in her real voice, but the label cancelled it when they realised it wouldn't be recognisable to fans as their version of Britney.
"Her entire career she has been treated like a product to sell," they wrote.
They added that in 2007 Jamie petitioned the courts to be a temporary conservator until she was mentally stable, however, not long after being hospitalised she appeared on How I Met Your Mother, dropped the video for Womanizer and promoted her new album Circus.
"If she's so unwell, why did she start working right away?" they questioned.
They added that even her social media and phone use is monitored.
The post also says that Britney was placed in that mental health facility last year because she was seen driving her car without permission and for refusing to take sedating medication.
"She testified to a judge in documents that she was held there against her will by her father," it said.
Photographer shares letter from Britney
Andrew Gallery, a photographer who worked with Britney for the 2008 documentary For The Record and spent time with her on tour has recently spoken out, revealing she gave him a letter about the conservatorship.
"I’ve been seeing all this stuff about the #FreeBritney movement, and I feel compelled to say something about this now,” he said in a post on TikTok.
“I used to work with Britney back in 2008, ’09 during her comeback.
“In that time, we became close friends. We were on tour together, spent every day together for, you know, a while. And in that time, she gave me a letter that she wanted me to read to you guys.”
He said that while the original letter was “destroyed”, he had a copy made.
In the letter, Britney allegedly speaks in third person and discusses her ex-husband and father of her sons, Kevin Federline.
“What happened to Britney was a year ago and people need to get with the times. As for Kevin saying Britney divorced him, she was forced to by her lawyers because she went to visit him in N.Y. and he wouldn’t see her and the children and her lawyers said if she doesn’t divorce him he’s going to do it himself,” Andrew read.
“She was lied to and set up. Her children were taken away and she did spin out of control which any mother would in those circumstances.”
It also alleges that Britney “has no rights” and the conservatorship will go on “as long as the people are getting paid... but it doesn’t make it right at all.”
“She’s a very giving person and would love to get the respect she deserves,” the letter ends.
The photographer said that he didn't speak out before because he was "under a contract" but has become worried with the recent #FreeBritney movement.