Britney Spears stated in a 22-minute audio recording detailing what happened to her that her conservatorship was a huge set-up.
“I haven’t wanted to share this because it’s so offensive, sad, and abusive, and honestly, who would believe me?”
Britney Spears accused her family of plotting to place her in the legal arrangement that allowed her father to control her life for nearly 14 years in a lengthy audio recording released on Sunday.
“Everything was planned. My father was introduced to the idea by a woman, and my mother assisted him in carrying it out “Spears says this in a 22-minute audio recording she shared on Twitter. “Everything was basically set up. There were no drugs, no alcohol, nothing — it was pure abuse.”
Spears says in the now-deleted recording that she still doesn’t know what she did wrong back in 2008, when her father, Jamie Spears, first convinced a judge to establish the conservatorship. She also detailed what it was like to work and live under the arrangement, as well as when she was allegedly forced into a mental health treatment centre in early 2019.
“To this day, I honestly don’t know what I did,” Spears says. “I literally spoke to a doctor in a British accent to have my medication prescribed, and three days later there was a SWAT team in my house.”
Spears, now 40, was finally released from conservatorship last November, months after publicly speaking in court about the abuse she claimed she suffered as a result. Her legal team has since been working to reclaim funds that they believe were not spent in her best interests, as well as investigating allegations that her father mismanaged her affairs. Her attorney, Mathew Rosengart, suggested at a hearing last week that she sue Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group, the company her father hired to manage her business, for breach of fiduciary duty. According to court documents, the pop star’s father received over $6 million from her estate and paid Tri Star more than $18 million during the conservatorship.
BuzzFeed News investigated allegations of abuse, neglect, and death in the US guardianship industry. Read our “Beyond Britney” investigative series here.
Spears says in the recording, which was released on Sunday, that she has been offered opportunities to share her story for money, such as a sit-down interview with Oprah, but that getting paid to speak her truth is “kind of silly.” She says she is “afraid of the judgement” and “scepticism” that comes with opening up, but she wants to talk about what happened to help others who may feel alone.
“I think it’s important for my heart and head to be able to speak openly about it as if it were anyone else’s,” Spears says.
She remembers being surrounded by paparazzi as she sat in the ambulance in the now-famous images from January 2008, when she was taken from her home and placed on a psychiatric hold at the hospital, saying that “none of it made sense” to her at the time.
“The extent of my insanity was playing chase with paparazzi, which is still one of the most fun things I’ve ever done about being famous,” Spears says. “So I’m not sure what was so bad about that.”
Her father petitioned the Los Angeles County Superior Court to establish the conservatorship and make him and an attorney co-conservators of her financial and personal affairs shortly after she was hospitalised for the second time that month. Spears says the hospitalisation left her “completely traumatised out of my mind,” but she quickly returned to work, appearing on How I Met Your Mother and beginning production on her sixth studio album, Circus.
“All I remember is that I had to do what was told of me. Every day, I was told I was fat. I needed to go to the gym “she claims “They made me feel insignificant, and I agreed because I was scared.”
She continued to produce new music and perform almost nonstop on tours and a two-year residency in Las Vegas over the years. She was still living under her father’s rules, she claims, and wasn’t allowed to go out with her friends or dancers. She was not allowed to choose her own nannies for her children and was not permitted to have cash.
“To be honest, I felt like a robot. I didn’t give a fuck because I couldn’t get where I wanted to go “Spears claims. “It was simply demoralising. I felt like I was part of a conspiracy, with people claiming and treating me like a superstar while treating me like nothing.”
Spears says she “started to get a spark back” and regained confidence in herself while working on her ninth studio album Glory, which was released in 2016. Nonetheless, she felt obligated to “play this role” and “go along with” what her father and his associates wanted her to do. “I knew they were going to hurt me,” she says.
Then, while rehearsing for what was supposed to be another Las Vegas residency in 2019, Spears says she refused to do a dance move. “Everything got really weird and quiet,” she recalls, as the show’s producers went into a room to talk. The next day, she claims, she was told she had to go to a facility and announce that she was taking a break because her father was ill.
“I never wanted to go there,” Spears says.
Spears claims she was crying on the phone with her father when he asked why she was being sent away. She claims he told her she needed to “listen to the doctors” and that he couldn’t help her.
“His last words were, ‘Now you don’t have to go, but if you don’t go, we’re going to court, there’ll be a big trial, and you’ll lose,'” Spears remembers her father saying. “‘I have a lot more people on my side than you, and you don’t even have a lawyer, so don’t even consider it.'”
During the majority of the conservatorship, Spears was represented by a court-appointed attorney and was not permitted to hire her own. The court only allowed her to hire Rosengart after she spoke out last June.
Spears claims she has no idea why she was placed in treatment. “I was terrified out of my mind,” she admits.
“I haven’t wanted to share this because it’s so offensive, sad, and abusive, and honestly, who would believe me?” she claims
She recalls feeling as if her heart had “frozen” and that she was “in a state of shock” while at the facility. She claims she lost faith in God at the time. Every week, she had six vials of blood drawn, leaving her “weak as hell.” She was watched while changing and showering, had to work from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., couldn’t have the keys to her car, and couldn’t smoke cigarettes.
“How did they get away with it, and what did I do to deserve it?” Spears claims.
She claims that the facility’s owner was forced to let her go after the #FreeBritney movement raised concerns about her well-being. Spears discusses the disparity between her fans’ support and her mother and sister’s alleged lack of action, claiming that her family liked that she was “the bad one” and “messed up.”