Britney Spears testimony: The five shocking things we learned from live court appearance
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Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, was granted control over his daughter’s estate, career, medical care and personal life by court order in 2008 after the US pop star was hospitalised amid concerns for her mental health. There has been speculation for years about how Britney, 39, felt about the arrangement, with the #FreeBritney campaign being started by fans who believe she’s been trying to signal she needs help via social media. Now, she has finally spoken out, and it’s confirmed some of her supporter’s worst fears. Here’s what we learned.
1. She’s been forced to take drugs against her will
Ms Spears said she had no control over her healthcare.
She said doctors changed her medication to lithium, a mood stabiliser, after she had told management she wanted to discontinue her Las Vegas ‘Piece of Me’ residency.
She told the court: “I felt drunk. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad about anything. My whole family did nothing.”
She said she wanted to do therapy at home, but has been forced to go to a location where the paparazzi follow her.
2. She’s not allowed to see a doctor to remove her IUD or have more children
Ms Spears has two children from a previous relationship with Kevin Federline.
In May 2007, shortly after the infamous head-shaving incident, Ms Spears lost custody of her children, with courts granting full custody to Mr Federline.
Ms Spears told the courts she wanted to try and have another child, but she’s not allowed due to the conservatorship.
She said: “I have an IUD in my body right now that won’t let me have a baby and my conservators won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out.
“I feel ganged up on. I feel bullied and I feel left out and alone. I want to be able to get married and have a baby.”
3. She’s been forced to perform against her will
Ms Spears said she was forced to do concerts, with her management threatening to sue her if she declined.
She also said her managers falsely reported to her therapists that she hadn’t been taking her medication to exert further control.
She said: “It was very threatening and scary. The people who did this to me should not be able to walk away so easily.”
She said it “made no sense” that the conservatorship deemed her able to perform at the highest level of the entertainment industry, but she was unable to make basic life decisions or spend the money she is earning.
The people who control her life, she said, “need to be reminded they actually work for me”.
4. She feels enslaved, abused, traumatised and silenced
She said: “This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good.
“I’m traumatised. I’m not happy, I can’t sleep. I’m so angry and I cry every day.”
She said the conservatorship was “abusive” and that she doesn’t feel like she can live a “full life”.
Britney added she’s “not here to be anyone’s slave”, saying “the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking.”
She added: “I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m OK and I’m happy.
“I honestly don’t think anyone would believe me.”
5. She believes her dad should go to jail for this
Taking aim at her father, Ms Spears said: “He loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000 percent.”
She said that at one point she was forced to go to rehab against her will and pay $60,000, and her father didn’t care about how distraught she was.
She said: “I cried on the phone for an hour and he loved every minute of it.
“Anything that happened to me had to be approved by my dad.”
She said: “My dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship, including my management … they should be in jail.”
At the start of the hearing, an attorney for the conservator raised concerns about her testimony being public.
But Ms Spears quickly interjected and said: “I feel like it should be an open court hearing and they should listen and hear what I have to say.” The judge agreed.
Jamie Spears’ response
Responding to the testimony, Mr Spears’ attorneys said he had “diligently and professionally carried out his duties as one of Britney’s conservators”.
They said he was sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain”.
An attorney for Jodi Montgomery, Spears’s licensed conservator, said in an email that the lawyer has an “obligation to uphold Ms Spears’ medical and other privacy rights”.
They added: “We look forward to addressing all of Ms Spears’ concerns and setting forth her medical team’s perspective on them in a care plan that we will file with the court.”
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