Framing Britney Spears: how to watch the 2021 documentary on the pop star - and how she responded to it

The shocking documentary explores the singer’s conservatorship arrangement with her father and her mental health issues
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Britney Spears has broken her silence on New York Times documentary, Framing Britney, nearly two months after it aired on Now TV.

The singer’s conservatorship arrangements with her father Jamie Spears, as well as her mental health issues, were explored in the revealing documentary.

So, what has the Billboard topping singer said in response to the documentary, and has her father commented? This is what you need to know.

Supporters of Britney Spears joined the #FreeBritney protest outside Los Angeles Courthouse in 2020, to raise concerns over her father's legal rights to make financial and health decisions for her (Picture: Getty Images)Supporters of Britney Spears joined the #FreeBritney protest outside Los Angeles Courthouse in 2020, to raise concerns over her father's legal rights to make financial and health decisions for her (Picture: Getty Images)
Supporters of Britney Spears joined the #FreeBritney protest outside Los Angeles Courthouse in 2020, to raise concerns over her father's legal rights to make financial and health decisions for her (Picture: Getty Images)

What is the documentary about?

Directed by The New York Times Presents’ Samantha Stark, Framing Britney Spears takes an in-depth look at Spears’ life, including the conservator arrangement she has with her father Jamie Spears.

An official synopsis for Framing Britney Spears reads: “The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears re-examines her career and offers a new assessment of the movement rallying against her court-mandated conservatorship, capturing the unsavoury dimensions of the American pop-star machine.”

Spears’ father took control of her business affairs after her very public mental breakdown in 2008, however earlier in March the pop star’s lawyer asked a judge to permanently remove Jamie Spears from the conservatorship.

As of 1 April, Spears’ father Jamie Spears is reportedly pursuing a request for her estate to continue paying his legal fees, estimated at $2million (£1.5m).

He has also requested that he receives $288k (£209k) including $16k (£11.7k) per month for his role as a co-conservator of her estate, according to Entertainment Tonight which has seen evidence of the requests.

Spears is now asking that temporary conservator Jodi Montgomery becomes her personal conservator on a permanent basis.

She has also refused to perform again in public until the conservatorship has been changed.

The documentary spoke to those who had been close to her, including friends, former employees and those who have headed up the #FreeBritney movement - a group of fans who have raised awareness about their concerns for her freedom and mental wellbeing.

It also looks at the negative media attention and paparazzi harassment the star endured, as well as how she was spoken about in the press, with regards to her private life.

Producers of the show attempted to contact Spears through people close to her, but could not confirm whether she was aware of the attempts to make contact due to the restrictions around her.

What has the Spears said about the documentary?

The 39-year-old singer, who is still one of the best selling artists of all time, said she “cried for two weeks,” and did not watch the full show.

Spears said she was embarrassed by the kind of light she was portrayed in, in a post on Instagram.

She wrote: “I didn't watch the documentary, but from what I did see of it I was embarrassed by the light they put me in.

"My life has always been very speculated... watched... and judged really my whole life !!!

"It takes a lot of strength to TRUST the universe with your real vulnerability cause I've always been so judged... insulted... and embarrassed by the media... and I still am till this day.

"As the world keeps on turning and life goes on we still remain so fragile and sensitive as people.

"I'm not here to be perfect ... perfect is boring.I'm here to pass on kindness, " she concluded.

Her post on Instagram was shared alongside a video of her dancing and playing air guitar to Aerosmith's hit Crazy.

Spears told her 29 million followers: "I cried for two weeks and well... I still cry sometimes! I do what I can in my own spirituality with myself to try and keep my own joy, love and happiness."

She has not commented on whether she was given the option to respond to the documentary before it aired.

Has her family responded to the documentary?

On 13 February - nine days after the documentary aired in the US - Britney’s younger sister, Jamie Lynn, posted to her Instagram story a picture which appeared to be a reference to her sister’s situation.

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always" it read.

She added text to the snap, writing: "Dear media, try not to repeat the mistakes of your past. Look where that got us. Do better.”

While the message made no explicit reference to Britney, it appears to hint at the issues covered in the documentary.

The 29-year-old also posted a story in response to rumours that she had attended a virtual #FreeBritney rally.

She wrote: "A few media outlets ran a false story about me attending a virtual rally yesterday.

“In fact, someone represented themselves as me without my knowledge.

"I love my sister very much, but I was not aware of a rally, nor was I in attendance for a virtual rally."

The documentary makers shared a note at the end of the film, saying they had approached her Spears’ family for comment, but that they had refused.

This included Spears’ parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears, and her siblings, Jamie-Lynne Spears and Bryan Spears.

No other family members have spoken out at this time.

How can I watch the documentary?

Britney Spears fans in the UK are able to watch the documentary, which lasts 74 minutes, on the NOW TV streaming platform.

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