Britney Spears calls end of conservatorship ‘best day ever’
LOS ANGELES, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Calling it her “best day ever,” pop star Britney Spears regained freedom over her life and finances on Friday when a Los Angeles judge ended the conservatorship that had restricted her for more than 13 years.
“Effective today, the conservatorship of the person and the estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated,” Judge Brenda Penny said after a 30-minute hearing in which no one opposed ending the court-sanctioned arrangement.
The 39-year-old “Piece of Me” singer had begged the court for months to terminate the conservatorship that has governed her personal life and $60 million estate since 2008.
She did not attend Friday’s hearing but said in an Instagram post, “I love my fans so much it’s crazy!!! I think I’m gonna cry the rest of the day !!!! Best day ever.”
Outside the courthouse, dozens of fans waving pink signs of support erupted into cheers at the decision. Some danced and sang her hit “Stronger.”
“It was a monumental day for Britney Spears,” the pop star’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart, said outside the courthouse. He thanked fans in the #FreeBritney movement who he said had been essential to ending the legal arrangement.
The conservatorship was set up and overseen by the singer’s father Jamie after she had a public breakdown in 2007 and was hospitalized for undisclosed mental health issues.
Interest in the case was propelled in the past year by documentaries and the #FreeBritney movement of fans who questioned why the singer lived under restrictions while successfully touring around the world and earning millions of dollars.
Lauriann Wright, the attorney for Jodi Montgomery, who had been entrusted with overseeing Spears’ personal life, told the judge there was “no reason this termination cannot happen and Ms. Spears cannot live a safe, happy and fulfilling life.”
Rosengart said a “safety net” had been put in place to help Spears transition back to regular life. Judge Penny added that the current conservator should continue working to settle ongoing financial issues in the case.
Since revealing years of private anguish in tearful testimony in June, Spears has received a groundswell of public support and hired Rosengart, who moved aggressively to end the restrictions.
In June, she told the court she had been traumatized and that she wanted her “life back” as soon as possible. She said she had been forced to work and take medication against her will and was prevented from marrying or even getting her hair and nails done.
“She stepped up on June 23 and really shocked the country and shocked the world with her powerful, poignant words,” Rosengart said, saying he was proud of the singer.
A key question on Friday had been whether Judge Penny might require Spears to undergo a mental health evaluation, a step often taken before ending a conservatorship. She did not do so.
The arrangement began to crumble in September when in a sudden reversal Jamie Spears said he supported ending it because it had helped her and was no longer needed.
Penny suspended Jamie Spears from the conservatorship in late September, calling his involvement “toxic” to the singer’s well-being.
Rosengart is pushing for Jamie Spears to be investigated for possible financial mismanagement of his daughter’s affairs, but he said on Friday it would be up to Britney Spears to decide how to proceed on that matter.
Jamie Spears has said through attorneys that he helped his daughter rehabilitate her career and always acted in her best interest.