Britney Spears has minor victory in court, investment firm remains as co-conservator

There was a lot of rejoicing in one of my group threads with the news that Britney won in court against her toxic father. However this sounds like a minor victory to me, but good continual progress for Britney. This story is complicated, and I have better understanding of it after talking to my friend, Lisa, who is co-host of the Eat, Pray, Britney podcast. My interview with Lisa is going to air in this week’s Gossip With Celebitchy podcast! Stay tuned for that on Sunday morning when episode 82 comes out.

As you know, Britney is under a dual conservatorship of her person and her finances. Some of the things I learned from Lisa and the Framing Britney NY Times documentary are that 1) conservatorships are a last resort as they’re practically forever, 2) Britney’s dad, Jamie, doesn’t have her best interests at heart and 3) Britney’s visitation with her sons has been held over her head as a strategy to get her to comply. In 2019, Jamie Spears temporarily stepped down as the conservator of Britney’s person after he allegedly abused her son, Sean, then-13. Britney got a restraining order against Jamie at the time with K-Fed’s help. Jamie is still conservator of Britney’s finances, however Britney successfully petitioned the court in November to have an investment company, Bessemer Trust, step in as co-conservator of her estate. This latest ruling makes no changes to that and continues Bessemer’s co-conservatorship of Britney’s money.

The legal battle over conservatorship of Britney Spears’ estate continued in court on Thursday.

Though the pop star was not in attendance, her father Jamie Spears attended virtually as Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny heard arguments from both Spears and her father’s attorneys.
The hearing focused on the November appointment of Bessemer Trust to serve as co-conservator — along with her father — of Spears’ estate. Judge Penny ruled in favor of keeping the co-conservatorship and made no changes at Thursday’s proceedings.
Spears had previously petitioned to have her father removed as co-conservator. The latest ruling does not preclude her attorney, Samuel Ingham III, from submitting another petition for his removal.

Ingham, who also attended the hearing virtually, reiterated that his client “does not want her father as co-conservator and we recognize removal is a separate issue.”

Vivian L. Thoreen, attorney for Jamie Spears, issued a statement to CNN Thursday night.

“The Probate Court’s rulings today show the court’s confidence in our client Jamie Spears and Bessemer Trust to manage the conservatorship of Ms. Spears’ estate together. My client looks forward to working with Bessemer to continue an investment strategy in the best interests of his daughter,” Thoreen’s statement read in part.

[From CNN]

This is good news, but it speaks to how slow and difficult it is, even for a massively wealthy famous white woman, to get out from under a conservatorship. Let’s get into the weeds for a moment. I learned in the Framing Britney documentary that Britney sought to have her own representation before the conservatorship went into effect in 2008. The lawyer she spoke to, Adam Streisand, said Britney told him at the time that she knew the conservatorship was inevitable but that she did not want her father to be in control of it. Britney was given a court-appointed lawyer instead, Samuel Ingham III, who remains her lawyer to this day. She has had a court-appointed lawyer for 13 years, but her wealth and work are literally paying for her father’s lawyers to keep her under his control. Do you see how this works? Lawyer Vivian Thoreen was also interviewed in the documentary, she’s a conservatorship expert. She said that she has never seen a case of anyone successfully getting released from a conservatorship. Vivian Thoreen is now working for Jamie Spears to keep Britney under Jamie’s conservatorship!

In the last episode of the Eat, Pray, Britney podcast they talked about the fact that it’s a catch 22 gaslighting situation for Britney and that everything she does and says is interpreted under the lens that she’s crazy and deserves to be in this conservatorship. I told Lisa during our interview that it reminds me of the Rosenhan experiment, where psychology students checked into a mental health facility in the 1970s. The other patients quickly realized that the students didn’t fit in and shouldn’t be there, but the staff thought that their note-taking and other observant behaviors were pathological. What could Britney do to convince people that she is able to manage her own healthcare, money and life? It’s been over a decade now and she’s been on X-Factor live and done Vegas residencies. Imagine how elderly people fare under conservatorships where family members want access to their money.

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51 Responses to “Britney Spears has minor victory in court, investment firm remains as co-conservator”

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  1. Leigh says:

    I read that apparently that Lou person originally involved also tried to get conservatorship over Courtney Love (who also has a history with Lufti I think?) and Lindsay Lohan. This is incredibly dark and scary, honestly. I feel horrible for Britney that she makes all this money for all these people and this is how she must live.

    • emu says:

      Yes! I saw that too. They just went around trying to get these women under conservatorships! So dark.

    • HeyJude says:

      It’s really terrifying, but there are lots of people around who do such things, this is the dark underbelly of Hollywood. People lurk around celebrities and wait and prey. This type of stuff has been going on with elderly stars for years and people have now expanded into folks with emotional instability or addiction issues as targets too.

      Then lawyers make a ton of money to litigate it all. And the estates afterwards.

  2. Noki says:

    Last i checked and was rather suprised was that Britney was ‘only’ worth about $60 M,but she never did write her songs and her perfume empire i think she only gets about 15% of sales. This whole conservatorship sounds hella expensive and her refusing to do any performing or music until Jamie steps down I really think she spends more than she makes. I cant wait till her boys are 18 atleast thats less money she has to fork out to K-Feds WHOLE family.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Forbes said she would pay 40% or so of her income in taxes. So that’s a big chunk right there. Plus managers (including her dad?! Forbes said he took 1.5% of her Vegas income), agents, around half a million a year to Kevin Federline, and endless legal fees from her conservatorship. How is it not a blatant conflict for her dad to be both manager and co-conservator?

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I heard she spent vast amounts of her money right before the conservatorship was put in place.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        Yep the story was she was close to being broke and was being bleed dry by all the hangers on that includes both her brother and sister. Jamie cut them all off and its said that the conservatorship was also to protect what money there was left as there were a few people trying to sue claiming they were owed money – Lutfi lost a lot of money when Jamie came on the scene and did what he did.

      • emu says:

        I’m sure that was part of the setup by Lufti to get Spears under a conservatorship

    • Susan says:

      It’s funny you say that because last night we watched the documentary and my husband was incredulous that she wasn’t worth more. I don’t tend to get in the weeds of THAT much money but he said it should be a lot more. It will be interesting to see if they can get her back to work to support THEIR lifestyles. Ugh.

      • petee says:

        We are in the middle of a pandemic.How is she supposed to work?I have a lot of musician friends and they can’t play at all.I might get some flack for this but Britney was diagnosed as BiPolar so working for her was probably the one thing that kept her even.I don’t think it was a issue for her at all.And I am sorry those Instagram videos are just sad.She is defiantly not well.I think a lot of people forget how badly her breakdown was.That documentary didn’t even cover all of it.I do feel sorry for her but there is a reason she is still under this Conservatorship.

    • AppleTart says:

      I’m pretty sure the child support K-Fed gets is the least of her expenses. And in the end he actually turned out to be a good caretaker and Father to his children. He gave up alimony so he could get married again. I don’t think he is fleecing Britney with Daddy support.

      • tcbc says:

        Neither he, nor his wife, have a job. Britney is supporting not just her own children with him, but his others, and him and his wife as well. They’re all fleecing her.

        Being a good father and caretaker to his children is the bare minimum.

      • Sid says:

        Besides child support Britney is pretty much paying for all the boys’ expenses and also allegedly paid for the home that Federline and his family live in. On top of that he wanted more money so that his kids with his second wife would be able to have the same lifestyle as hiskids with Britney. That is fleecing as I see it.

    • emu says:

      And the machine back then was not about the performers at all – like with the Backstreet Boys/NSync and Lou Perlman.

      >> This story shows how in the late 90′s NSync was living on an allowance of $35/day and then Lou tried to buy them off with a check for $10k. Seriously.

  3. Juju says:

    She might be a wealthy white woman but her funds don’t help her at all since she can’t access them. She can’t even hire an attorney for herself, she can’t file a petition to get out of the conservatorship. There’s obviously massive misogyny playing into her situation as well.

    There’s usually no cases of getting out of a conservatorship because it’s intended for people who are extremely ill like being in a coma, having severe dementia, etc. It’s not intended for young woman who had a nervous breakdown and are still able to work.

    • Mac says:

      At this point Brittney’s civil and human rights are being violated. Her father is trying to force her to work to support a vast network of people she never voluntarily agreed to support and she has no direct access to the money she makes. She is essentially still a child star being exploited by her greedy family.

  4. Veronica S. says:

    I really do feel like the world owes this woman such a massive apology for the absolute cruelty we tossed her way in the 2000s. She was in the middle of a mental breakdown, the media shredded her apart, probably exacerbating a lot of her problems and pushing her into further substance abuse. Try googling Diane Sawyer’s interview with her sometime. Sobering that we thought it acceptable to treat female celebrities like that, especially ones with clear mental health issues.

    I’m not sure she’ll ever be healthy enough to be without a conservatorship. Damage is kind of done there, but Christ, what a tangle. How do you possible get somebody in that position that wouldn’t abuse it with all that money at stake? It’s just unbelievably depressing for her and those children.

    • Emily says:

      I wonder how much of what happened with her was postpartum. Although I’ve heard various speculations about bipolar, dementia etc. But I can’t help but wonder if people had gone easier on her, and she’s been given proper mental health treatment after back to back babies how she’d be doing today.

      • petee says:

        Emily I have always thought that too.As a teen and young woman she was extremely functionable.She gave interviews and hosted SNL.After she had her children she seemed to change.But I think her mental state had a lot to do with some postpartum depression.

      • jwoolman says:

        She started to show definite signs of mental illness long before she gave birth, while she was still with Timberlake. Post-partum issues could certainly have made things worse, but could not have been the initial cause. She was at the age when such problems often appear, late teens and early twenties.

        She is not just bipolar. She is likely still very vulnerable to people like Lufti.

        K-Fed has always been acting in her best interests but had to take steps to protect their children. Her father saved her life. It’s quite reasonable for her to want him off the conservatorship now, but that’s a different issue. He’s older now and her family situation is more complex with teenagers in the mix. And of course mistakes can be made. But I would not assume that her father is a villain, there may be no villains in this.

        Work has always been therapeutic for her in the past. Maybe that is changing and something else is needed.

    • Susan says:

      Agreed. Not to mention *two births* in roughly one year. That’s tough for anyone. The hormonal shifts alone, sleepless nights, ugh.

    • clomo says:

      She would be happy I think if she got a conservator she liked, that protected her but didn’t use her for a huge payday, instead giving her more freedom in increments as she shows she can handle it. It shouldn’t be a huge team for this, just a couple of good ones who know other trustworthy people should they die. Far too many lawyers making millions off this. It’s wrong and the ugly side of child stardom and it’s repercussions.

  5. smegmoria says:

    I feel for her so much. I had a similar breakdown around the same time. My husband later found evidence where my mom was trying to get me under her control. So scary. I’m glad she has her now boyfriend, he seems very supportive.

  6. Mich says:

    I watched Framing Britney last night. OMG. I had NO idea. The way she was vilified from such a young age, hounded by the press and then made a punchline (that Family Feud clip made me want to cry). The fact that she has survived at all is a miracle.

    Her father gives me big Thomas Markle vibes. If he actually cared about his daughter, he would follow her wishes and let someone else manage her affairs. As far as I am concerned, he is literally torturing her. So very sad. It must be driving him nuts that she is refusing to work as long as he is getting cuts of her efforts.

    As someone in the documentary said, this NEVER would have happened to a man in this country.

    Even my almost 80 year old mother (who couldn’t name a single one of her songs) knows her story and thinks it is horrific.

  7. Erin says:

    This is so ugly and a symptom of misogyny in the court system. This woman deserves to have a conservator that she approves of and it’s insane that she has to have a court-appointed lawyer with all her wealth. Absolutely disgusting.

  8. Emily says:

    When her kids are 18, her father won’t be able to hold visitation over her head.

    It’s terrible that she can have a restraining order against her father but her can stay on as co-conservator.

    I would love for her sister or mom to do a tell all one day. But I don’t think they do because it seems they respect Britney’s privacy, and/or agree with the conservatorship.

    One last thing. Justin Timberlake sucks.

    • Sunshine says:

      Yes to all these but I’m firmly of the thought that her mom is awful, as well! It’s heart breaking to see that she has no parent in her corner.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Lynne already did – with the 2 books she wrote when she was still involved in Brits career. Lynne and Jamie are alike, they both want control of the conservatorship for the money – Lynne has been trying to worm her way back in for years. Britney knows her family and she knows her parents cannot be trusted with her affairs.

    • superashes says:

      I ended up in a huge argument with my mister because I kept trying to bring home the point that Justin Timberlake went too far in that breakup. It turned into the most ridiculous spat, but I still think he was a complete asshole. Sharing that they had sex, putting that music video out to try to torpedo her, etc. I get young love and emotions and all that, but it isn’t like he made the song and video in the heat of the moment. A lot of time and effort went into his takedown of someone he supposedly loved. Then he never missed the opportunity to continue to shit on her, even making ugly face at the VMA appearance afterward. He is such a complete piece of shit.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        Yes – never forget that for years after their breakup he kept talking shit about her and continued to do so after her breakdown.

      • Julie says:

        I don’t know. Justin is a total POS for the Janet Jackson stuff but not this imo. We’ve seen enough break up music to be laying in on him about the music he made after his girlfriend cheated on him with a friend/dancer that she met through him. His tone on his public confirmation that they had had sex was a douchey as hell but I somewhat get the rage. If I dated a Jonas bro while they were peddling their purity rings and we were not only sleeping together but he also sexually cheated on me with a buddy……you better believe I would be telling. The problem was that Britney was still being marketed as some kind of chaste paragon which must have really been had for him to stomach. And yeah he had a dirty look on his face after her performance but hey that happens when you have a difficult breakup. The camera shouldn’t have searched him out frankly. Same as it shouldnt have searched out Taylor when Harry Styles was on stage at a later VMA.

        Anyway we would likely all welcome Jessica Biel to not only make a song about her philandering husband but a music video as well and maybe even lay out some of his business on a radio. Let’s keep the same energy. When you cheat you lose the right to control your partners response. I refer you back to Lemonade.

      • superashes says:

        Nah. After the performance he gave a quote to Sharon Osbourne slamming the performance. He knew the camera would go to him and he was never one to miss an opportunity to shit on her publicly.

        He continued to talk shit about her for years, conveniently each time he had a new album to promote. “What Goes Around” was published in 2006, years after their breakup, and the point of it was to be a sequel to Cry Me A River, which he 100% wanted people to view as another Britney song.

      • jwoolman says:

        Timberlake didn’t make her mentally ill. He may be quite flawed and a complete twit, but she was showing signs of mental issues before. If he had a clue, he would have backed off. But people often don’t have a clue when it comes to someone dealing with the “mental” illnesses — really physical illnesses involving the brain and thus affecting behavior.

        Her parents broke up partly because her father objected to her mother’s focus on building her career as a teenager, although Britney was clearly self-driven even then. In the early years post-Lufti, he was definitely not leeching off her. The compensation he asked for was in line with what he was doing for her and he had left his own business to help her. He was not forcing her to work. She needed to work for her own health.

        That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t get different conservators, and situations change. But her money has always been a burden for her. She needs clear separation between the money and her relationships. Family relationships included at this point.

      • superashes says:

        I feel like you meant to reply to someone else? In case not, the state of Britney’s mental health doesn’t factor into my conclusion that Timberlake was a complete shit about how it all went down. What he did, and continued to do for several years, was awful, regardless of whether he did it knowing it was affecting her mental health. Popping off in one or two interviews? Sure. Doing it over the course of several years, on top of not one, but two takedown songs with video? Nah.

        At some point, for him, it transformed from raw feelings over a breakup into the realization that putting her name in his mouth helped him sell records. That is the bottom line.

      • Maria says:

        Justin and Britney were not married and had no children and given who he is I am sure she was not the only one cheating. The comparisons to Beyonce and Jay-Z and even his marriage to Biel hold no weight at all.
        He was fine with mentioning her sex life and slut-shaming her after their breakup, and no, that’s not acceptable, even if your partner cheats. You can be angry at them and express that all you want, but playing into a culture that sexualizes them without their consent because it increases your own fame and doing what you can to sabotage their career is not acceptable at all.

      • mynameispearl says:

        I was reading commentary of framing Britney on reddit, and one commenter said he went to see Justin Timberlake in concert circa 2008. He apparently finished cry me a river by singing the first line of Gnarls Barkleys Crazy, with the lyrics ‘I remember when I remember when she lost her mind’ while twirling his finger round the side his head. They said they felt funny about him aftet that. I mean, it was on reddit, but it was so specific that I believe it. I think hes a horrible man.

      • HeyJude says:

        @mynameispearl I’ve heard the exact thing, years before now in real life about Justin doing that in concert at the time, it was apparently part of stage schtick at live shows during that era.

        IIRC I think I might have even seen footage, like early TMZ catching it and reporting with video. (Maybe Radar Online if not TMZ.)

        If the somebody wants, they could definitely comb the internet, Youtube, Internet Archive and possibly find that footage.

      • Arrow says:

        @mynameispearl, thanks for the gossip detail. JT is a massive creep and he used Britney for years to get clicks. Also Shriners (charity) went on record about how he’d be all good when cameras were around but was so hard to get him to spend time with the kids. And remember the homeless person wedding video? He’s a creep and Biel is a wannabe-A-lister and they deserve each other.

  9. Lea says:

    I think both her parents saw her as a cash cow from day 1.
    And if they had her best interests at heart, they would have allowed her to stay in rehab extensively when she had her nervous breakdown, to rest and take care of herself. She never had a break at the time (remember ? Her hair hadn’t even grown back !). She just kept on singing, releasing albums, etc.
    I think they are more interested in the welfare of Britney LLC that Britney the person.
    That being said, even if Britney needs a conservatorship because of mental issues, she is still able enough to learn basic dance routines and the lyrics of songs, to read books and grasp complex concepts like spirituality, she still grasps jokes… My point is she is not brain dead. I understand her probably being heavily medicated and vulnerable, but she is not even allowed to have a cell phone, to have any friends and nobody in her team is allowed to talk to her. She even has to ask for permission to see her boyfriend (who has been heavily pre-approved). How is that fair ?

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      The thing with the cell phone related to Sam Lutfi – i recall reading that he’d gotten ahold of her number (when under the conservatorship) and was constantly calling/texting her (I think this was before the restraining order was put into place).

      The current BF seems like a decent guy but lets not forget she is someone who is easily influenced by others, esp men.

  10. AppleTart says:

    I think Jamie did the right thing by her when the shit hit the fan. Then after years of being in control he won’t walk away from the power and money. From what I have read when he stepped in. Britney was down to only having 2 million left. Getting her up to 60 million is still a huge accomplishment which she would not have been able to do on her own or with her former manager sucking the life out her. Britney will be 40 this year. Like others posted this conservatory has gone on years longer than what and who they are actually intended for. I’m glad she refuses to work. If the golden goose won’t lay eggs. The parasites will have to move on at some point. She could easily retire and live a quiet life comfortably on 60 million.

  11. Rose says:

    Putting people with mental health issues under conservatorships is a slippery slope. Remember the days when if a man wanted to get rid of his wife all he had to do was dispatch her off to a sanitarium with the complaint that she was “hysterical”?

    Conservatorships were made for elderly people in age associated cognitive decline. Not people who struggle with mental health.

    If Britney is under such conditions that she must be under a conservatorship, then she can’t perform or continue as a working performing artist. The very term means that she simply cannot care for herself.

    • Arrow says:

      Her performances are set up so all she has to do is get on stage and dance (and lip sync). It’s a ready-to-go machine. Her role as a performer doesn’t involve complex analysis of business deals and assessing people and their true intentions. The dad’s a control freak, probably a little off, but he’s done a good job to date on the whole, but it’s probably time to look at a replacement esp since he’s old.

  12. LaurenMichelle says:

    I refuse to say anything negative about Britney. She has been working her a** off since she was a chlld, and her family has greatly benefited $$ from her work ethic. Sometimes she seems a little unstable, but is a decent human being. Most folks would not have survived what Britney has the last 20+ years, I respect Brit for her perseverance and wish her well.

    • Sigmund says:

      Agreed. She’s a hard worker, has been since she was a child, and deserves to spend her time however makes her happy at this point. I hope people can back off and let her find some peace. She’s earned it.

  13. Mimi says:

    This entire situation honestly makes me sick to my stomach. Ppl have just been taking advantage of her since she was a child and it’s just so sickening. I don’t blame her to refusing to perform. That lufti guy is a parasite and got his hooks into her at her most vulnerable, and yeah she is supporting her ex, his wife and their kids. Give me a break.

  14. Mimi says:

    I think Britney is an amazing woman and I truly hope she comes out on top… I think she will. She’s been screwed over for too long. At the end of the day ppl always get theirs and those who have done her Dirty will get theirs.

  15. Lucy2 says:

    I just watched the documentary. Holy hell, has she really been through some tough stuff. I remember at the time dismissing her as another celebrity gone wild, but I’ve definitely changed my tune over the years. PPD, other health issues, and crushing fame and media tension, who could withstand that?

    At the time, I think the conservatorship was necessary – get her healthy, stabilize her life, get the bad guys like Lufti out. But as soon as she was put back to work, that should’ve been the end of it. A good, independent financial manager, a good lawyer that she chooses, and a good career manager should be all she needs now, and her family should just be her family, nothing more.
    I truly wish her the best. She seems like a very sweet woman who deserves to live her best life.

    Also JT is and always has been terrible.