Britney Spears: what did the singer say in court hearing about conservatorship - and how much is she worth?

The pop star’s finances have been controlled by her dad for the past 13 years

Britney Spears appeared in a virtual hearing in Los Angeles to ask a judge to end her “abusive” conservatorship.

The singer appeared in the special hearing on Wednesday (23 June), and it was the first time that she has spoken in open court regarding her case.

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Under California law, the onus lands on Spears to prove that she can manage her own affairs, and will likely need an evaluation before the arrangement can come to and end.

The next court hearing to discuss the singer's conservatorship is set for April (Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
The next court hearing to discuss the singer's conservatorship is set for April (Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

This is what you need to know.

What did she say?

In her testimony, Spears said that she “deserves” to be freed from the legal arrangement that has dictated her life for the past 13 years.

She said: “This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good.

"I deserve to have a life, I’ve worked my whole life. I deserve to have a two to three year break.”

Describing the arrangement as abusive, Spears criticised those who controlled it, including her father, Jamie Spears.

Last year, Spears said that she was “afraid” of her father, and that she wouldn’t return to performing whilst he was in control of her estate.

Speaking to LA Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny, Spears said that she wanted the conservatorship to end without a further medical assessment – she added that she wanted to be able to get married and have more children.

She told the court that the conservatorship requires her to use birth control to prevent her from getting pregnant. She said that her conservator had prevented her from having her IUD (intrauterine device) removed.

Spears also said that she had been made to take lithium, which is a common medicine for bipolar disorders, to the point where she felt so drunk she was unable to hold a conversation.

Spears said: “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, having a child or any of those things.”

During her speech, she added: “I’ve lied and told the whole world, “I’m okay, I’m happy’. I’ve been in denial, I’ve been in shock.

"I am traumatised.”

The judge thanked Spears for her “courageous” words, but did not make a ruling.

A movement called #FreeBritney has long campaigned for her legal freedom, with the hashtag frequently trending on social media site Twitter.

Fans gathered ourside the Los Angeles courthouse during her hearing, and chanted “Free Britney”. They also had signs and t-shirts saying the phrase.

Has Jamie Spears said anything?

Vivian Thoreen, a lawyer for Spears’s father, read out a brief statement on his behalf.

The statement read: “He is sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain.

"Mr Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much.”

What is conservatorship?

Conservatorship is a legal concept in America, wherein a guardian or protector is appointed to someone if a court finds that they cannot manage their own affairs.

There are many reasons why a court might invoke conservatorship. It could be due to old age, being a minor, or if the person in question suffers from a serious mental illness.

The role of the conservator can vary, but usually they handle their conservatee’s estate and finances, as well as also possibly being responsible for their career negotiations, health care or living arrangements.

Why does Britney Spears have a conservator?

Many will remember that, in the late 2000s, Spears underwent a very public breakdown. As well as her infamous head shaving incident, she was also seen driving with her son on her lap, hitting a photographer’s car with an umbrella, and went through a phase of speaking with a faux British accent.

In 2008, she was committed to a psychiatric ward twice. After the second hold, her father, Jamie Spears, petitioned the LA County Superior Court for an emergency ‘temporary conservatorship.’ This arrangement was made permanent by the end of that year.

Her father was appointed to oversee Spears’ estate and physical wellbeing, while LA attorney Andrew Wallet was brought on as a co-conservator to also help manage the singer’s financial assets.

Where can I watch Framing Britney Spears?

Framing Britney Spears is a documentary, directed by Samantha Stark and produced by Jason Stallman, Sam Dolnick and Stephanie Priess.

The documentary explores the 28 year career of Spears, and the process of the legal battle to remove her father from her conservatorship.

The documentary premiered in the UK on Tuesday 16 February.

The documentary is available to watch in the UK on Sky Documentaries, which Sky and Now TV customers can view.

How much is she worth?

Business publication Forbes states that Spears’ net worth is “shockingly low compared to her pop peers”.

It explains: “Spears, once a dominant and ascending force in pop culture, has a net worth of $60 million; [Jessica] Simpson and [Jennifer] Lopez each have built fortunes of more than $100 million, according to Forbes estimates.”

Court documents reviewed by Forbes last year found that Spears’ assets were mostly held in “various brokerage accounts, real estate and cash”.