Britney Spears has sported a #FreeBritney T-shirt ahead of a potentially life-changing court hearing which could see her 13-year conservatorship brought to an end.
The star’s fiance Sam Asghari shared a video clip on social media showing the couple in the matching tops, which also featured the statement: “It’s a human rights movement.”
In just a few hours, the latest in a series of high-profile court hearings on Spears‘ conservatorship is set to take place in Los Angeles, with the judge widely expected to terminate the legal arrangement that has controlled the star’s life for the past 13 years, or at least start the process.
The star spoke publicly in open court for the first time in June, delivering a bombshell statement in which she described the conservatorship as abusive and condemned her father Jamie Spears and others who have been in charge of it. At a follow-up hearing in September, her father – who has strenuously denied any wrongdoing – was removed by the judge from his role.
Now there is no significant opposition from anyone involved, it appears likely Judge Brenda Penny will dissolve the legal arrangement. Spears’ attorney, her parents, and the court appointees who control the conservatorship all publicly support termination.
Alternatively, the judge could also end part of the arrangement, or say more time is needed.
Many fans of the singer have been questioning the conservatorship for years and the #FreeBritney movement really took hold early in 2019, with growing protests outside court as hearings took place.
While Spears has thanked fans in the past, wearing the T-shirt is a very public backing of the campaign. The star’s plight has attracted worldwide attention, raising questions not only about her situation but about other conservatorships, also known as guardianships, across the US.
At the height of her fame, the singer was one of the most famous pop stars in the world, best known for hits including Baby One More Time, Oops!… I Did It Again, I’m A Slave 4 U, Toxic, and Womanizer.
The conservatorship was put in place in 2008 after the star was said to have suffered from mental health problems.
Her father had been largely in charge since then – he gave up control of his daughter’s personal affairs in 2019 but stayed in control of her finances – until he was removed in September. He has always said he has only ever acted in his daughter’s best interests.
He has been replaced by John Zabel, an accountant chosen by Spears – who is estimated to have a fortune of around $50m-$60m (about £37m-£45m) – and her lawyer, while court-appointed professional Jodi Montgomery has looked after her personal affairs since 2019.
When the star spoke out for the first time earlier in 2021, she said she was being forced to take birth control against her will to stop her getting pregnant with Asghari, and claimed she was forced to take lithium after rehearsals broke down for a planned Las Vegas residency in 2019.
The termination of the agreement, if it does come today, would by no means be the end of the story, as Spears’ legal team have called for further investigations and it is likely the star will need help with sorting out her finances.
However, it could mark the start of #FreeBritney becoming a reality.