People: Britney Spears ‘hasn’t had contact with her dad for a long time’

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People Magazine put Britney Spears on the cover of this week’s issue. I’m not surprised, although the cover story is more thorough than I was expecting. As I sat down to read People’s coverage, I thought to myself “Well, Britney said it all, what else is there to say?” A lot. While Britney spoke at length about how she felt abused, tortured and trafficked by her family, there’s still a lot to be done legally. I feel hopeful – and Britney should too – that things will begin to change now, but it’s going to be a lengthy process to remove the conservatorship, and it’s not going to happen the way Britney hopes. She said in her court statement that she’s done with evaluations and being drugged against her will. As family sources and legal sources tell People, it’s not that simple.

Britney wants changes: “Britney was very nervous about speaking in front of the judge, but this is her life — and she wants big changes,” says the family source.

She does not want her father in charge ever again: “Britney was close with her dad for years. It really seems that she realizes he saved her life in 2008, but she doesn’t agree that the conservatorship should have continued on for all these years,” says the family source. “She hasn’t had contact with her dad for a long time and was beyond upset after Jamie’s altercation with her son.”

She will need to be evaluated before all of this is over: “You cannot end a conservatorship without a capacity declaration signed by a physician who has examined her within six months,” says probate attorney David A. Esquibias, who represents actress Amanda Bynes in her own conservatorship case. “It would be highly unusual for a judge to make a decision without the opinion of an expert.”

Whether the conservatorship was needed in the first place: “In 2008 Britney clearly needed the conservatorship,” says the family source. “People close to her believe that she wouldn’t be alive without it. She didn’t sleep, drove around 24/7 and acted very distressed. There were huge concerns about her mental health.” Adds a music-world source: “She used to be involved with the decisions made about her career and finances, but things changed when she had public outbursts and other issues.” Still Britney feels “a lack of trust for Jamie and the conservator team,” says the family source.

How much control Jamie Spears has: While Jamie is now only in change of Britney’s finances as estate co-conservator, “he still has to approve everything, because everything is related to finances at the end of the day,” says the source close to the situation. “If she wants to go to Hawaii, he has to approve that because it costs money. If she wants to take her friends to dinner, he has to approve that because it costs money. He has the right to say no to certain things.”

[From People]

This will be a somewhat controversial opinion for Britney’s fans, but I remember her series of breakdowns in 2007-08 and everyone who saw that felt like the conservatorship was the best option for her. Her father *did* help her and possibly even save her life in the first years of the conservatorship. Now, I also think that Britney has largely outgrown the conservatorship, and this is where the legal system and the laws have not protected her. There should have already been fail-safes in place for most comprehensive reviews about whether Britney could and should have more control over her life. The goal should have been “progress and eventual withdrawal of the conservatorship.” Instead, the goal merely became an increasingly toxic, suffocating status quo. Anyway, this is going to take a while, I’m sure. But I do hope Britney starts getting more freedom now.

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Cover courtesy of People, additional photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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26 Responses to “People: Britney Spears ‘hasn’t had contact with her dad for a long time’”

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  1. Oh_Hey says:

    I don’t think your take is controversial at all Kaiser – I think Britney did need help in 2007-08 and it may have been something long term or a severe post partum break.

    I think the issue is she was well enough to be extensively interviewed by MTV the year after being totally lucid and prepping for a new tour and album. She hasn’t been the kind of sick you should be to have an adult guardian or conservator since then. If she were still sick enough to need it she’s to sick to have done the residency, a sold out world tour, and every album she’s done post circus. Conservatees are generally too sick to earn income and manage work. This ain’t that.

    • Jayne says:

      Agree completely. I’ve suspected for a long time that it was some sort of post-partum psychosis or break and she was self-medicating.

  2. Nicole says:

    So your statement is not controversial. Britney needed to be conserved. I think a combination of Post Partum Depression and her Bi-Polar disorder made for a terrible combination. Full Disclosure: mental illness runs in my family and my mother is a mental health worker. The larger question is not that Britney needs to be conserved, I believe she does to a certain degree, but more about what those laws mean in the state of CA. By and large to be conserved in CA means that you cannot enter into ANY legal contracts and you have absolutely NO jurisdiction over your own body.

    So in essence Britney’s conservatorship worked as designed. BUT the laws are not applied equally (eg wealthy versus poor) and what does it mean not to have ANY self determination? We have a massive mental health problem in CA and we are applying inadequate resources to address it. Hopefully this will invite a larger conversation about the state of mental health in CA for high functioning and those with serious mental illness. Here’s to hoping.

  3. Joanna says:

    I think someone to monitor her finances is a good thing. Personally I don’t feel her personal life should be so controlled. Yes she makes some sketchy decisions on her own but so do plenty of people. My brother does too but I doubt we would be able to get a conservatorship for him. Plenty of wealthy seemingly mentally ill famous men are not in one.

  4. Anna says:

    I sort of disagree on the premise of “crazy enough” to be put in a conservatorship. Freedom means the freedom to do the wrong thing. I believe it’s my right (and yours, and hers) to act weird and erratic and do drugs and be depressed and spend money unwisely and drive around all night. If it weren’t for her kids, I’d root for her to literally escape to another country.

  5. Edith Bolton says:

    Stop speculating on her mental health status and her health status period. No one knows what her diagnosis is or was at the time.

    I, for one, am skeptical that this is transpiring NOW with that new “boyfriend/minder” in the picture. The father has been ill. The mother, who proved to be just as greedy, has reappeared. No mention of her current children and wishing to rehabilitate her relationship with them! She has visitation, not custody. NOW she wants to marry and have babies?!? I’m skeptical.

    I am all for her speaking about her experience, she should have been able to do so before now. We have no business knowing it, though.

    Now there are stories in People? That’s the fame game/PR machine whirring into motion. Chaos will result for her, I am afraid. Wish her the best and frankly, treatment of mental illness in the country (and most of the world) leaves very much to be desired. What, as a community, are we doing about those suffering in our midst collectively? Not much.

    • Jules says:

      Totally agree with your first paragraph. We don’t know, so any assumptions or opinions are not based on fact.

    • Goldie says:

      The boyfriend isn’t new. They’ve been together for several years.

    • ElleE says:

      @Edith Bolton ex-cons routinely are released on parole, a sort of wait-and-see period during which they check in and are periodically assessed. Society agreed at long time ago that this system served a purpose and was beneficial to society as a whole.

      How does society, at large, benefit from having a woman placed under a conservatorship for 13 years (at this point, 1/4 of her life)? Remember, society has to benefit, not just one person or just her immediate family.

      Even though her assets, money she earns pays for most of the costs of the conservatorship, taxpayers pay the costs of the court system, etc.

  6. Mich says:

    The truth is that none of us know that Britney “needed” to have all of her rights and independence taken away from her. Would she have shaved her head in front of the paparazzi or taken an umbrella to one of their cars if she wasn’t being relentlessly stalked, surrounded and harassed by them? She was post-partum and having EVERY public movement scrutinized to find fault. And some of the most hurtful were specifically caused by her trying to get away from the scrum of vultures treating her like prey. The psychological pressure and judgement society put on her, a new mother, was unimaginable. I’m not sure if I would have survived it and there are plenty of examples of people subjected to less who have taken their lives.

    I might be misremembering but wasn’t she first carted away when she didn’t want to be parted from her children? Given everything going on, I just don’t find that so strange.

    It is very sad that in addition to vultures from outside her family, she had plenty within hungry to capitalize on the situation.

    • Sigmund says:

      Exactly. Britney was in an unimaginable position back then. We don’t know what she was diagnosed with, and it’s honestly not our business. Mental health isn’t a crime she needs to be locked up for.

      If she wants to spend her hard earned money on ridiculous things, it’s her life and money. God knows plenty of male celebrities have been able to do so without a conservatorship. Sounds to me like she just wants to retire peacefully anyway. She can certainly find a financial manager who can help make that happen. The conservatorship is unnecessary and only in place because she’s a woman.

    • Erinn says:

      Mich you have a much different memory of that situation than I do. I remember her holding her kids hostage for hours refusing to return them to their dad like she was supposed to. The body guard called in to say she was drunk. One of the kids had to be taken to the hospital. This was also after the whole “it’s totally cool if I drive around with my toddler unsecured on my lap” situation. 6 cop cars, a police helicopter and a fire truck were involved so I think it was a bit more than just “nah not giving the kids back”

  7. Christa says:

    That capacity evaluation that is referenced, that’s a special type of neuropsychological evaluation. She needs that. There is also a good chance it will be part of a more comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation so that she is given the opportunity to see what her deficits are and how to compensate for them. I suspect she has deficits but either does not recognize them because it’s part of the impairment or because she chooses to not believe the results of testing. Even if she chooses to not believe the results she can still pass the capacity eval by saying back to the evaluator what deficits they think she has based on testing and what could potentially happen if she chooses not to follow the recommendations. That’s all she has to do.

  8. ElleE says:

    @kaiser nailed this with “Instead, the goal merely became an increasingly toxic, suffocating status quo”

    Britney’s testimony led my to educate myself on this lucrative legal industry in Cali. Just check out Jodi P@is M0ntgomery’s law firm’s website she tell me that if, Britney Spear’s was a former CPA who lost her savings due to a struggle with mental illness in the late aughts, this law firm would have any interest in “caring” for this client. lol, no.

    There are many women execs in Silicon Valley worth millions, legit struggling with mental illness, that will never get the tx they need-not that they think about having their assets seized this way and losing control over their lives, but this sh!t is got to be their worst nightmare and is another good reason
    to leave California!

  9. Cacec04 says:

    My mother recently became my sister’s medical and financial power of attorney which allowed her to be a part of decisions, information, and help my sister stay on track (she has mental disabilities). However, this only gives my non complete control when my sister is incapacitated, she is free to make her own decisions otherwise. I wonder why something like this wasn’t done for Britney or why it isn’t being considered instead of the more restrictive/controlling conservatorship?

    • Christa says:

      My suspicion is she is behavioral when she has had neuropsychological evaluations and refused to fully engage, which makes it an incomplete assessment. I do think her conservators may have been working her over for money though in terms of fees they were able to charge her

  10. Anonymous says:

    @Cacec04: Is that in CA? The terms allowed might vary from state to state.

  11. Anonymous says:

    @Mich: This is a sad situation. At the time the conservatorship might have been warranted. I think she was extremely ill and might have harmed herself. She was surrounded by some unscrupulous “managers” that were trying to leave her penniless. The problem seems to be CA law. She might have needed that in 2008 but it appears she might not need so much, if anything, now. Unfortunately, the law does not appear to allow the termination of this. I hope she gets her freedom and can live a healthy and happy life.

  12. Amando says:

    I have no doubt that her father saved her life many years ago, but then greed and power took over. There are two things that make me pause when it comes to freeing her completely though… one is that we don’t know what Britney’s mental illness is and we may never know how serious it is. The other is…why does she not have much contact with her kids? Do her kids not want to be with her? Are they not safe around her? These two unknowns are what make me wonder if she is really capable of living freely on her own in a healthy way. However, she is 40 years old and it might be best to set her free and let her sink or swim.

  13. Lex says:

    Her dad seems to have hired some PR vultures to spread the word that he is actually destitute and living in a caravan? No idea if it’s true but it seemed very suspicious. Even if he isn’t in a palace, he has been drawing a 100k+ salary for 10+ years (if that’s all he was taking…) and I can’t imaigne property is expensive in Brentwood Louisiana lol

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m confused about other “facts” coming to life. BS father claims he has not had any legal control over her person in a while. He is adamant he can’t legally prohibit her from getting married or having a baby. She was actually engaged years ago (while in this conservatorship). The other appointed conservator has publicly claimed the same. If this is true, why does she think she can’t get married? Is someone telling her that? Can she get married tomorrow in Hawaii?

  15. Anonymous says:

    @Lex: Hopefully, BS will be free soon. Her dad might not be the whole problem. I actually think he helped her in the beginning. The problem is CA law. Once you get a conservatorship in place it’s really hard to rescind. He can step down but they just appoint someone else. Depending on the person, she could be even worse off. It’s really sad. Hopefully, this will lead to more conversations and policy change.