In an emotional court hearing – over the phone – Spears vented her anger in late June. She launched massive allegations against her family, carers and lawyers. She is controlled by everyone and cannot determine her own life. This was abuse, said the singer of “Baby One More Time” – she called for the end of guardianship.
The 20-minute long plea for their freedom hit like a bomb, because Spears had barely commented publicly in the years of legal wrangling. Since then, events have rolled over – with another high point next Wednesday (July 14th).
Father under pressure
First her long-term manager resigned. Larry Rudolph explained that his professional services were no longer needed. He and Britney Spears hadn’t spoken in over two years. A little later, her longtime court-appointed attorney, Sam Ingham, jumped out. Ingham requested at the beginning of July that he wanted to be released from his duties as soon as a successor was found.
The family, especially father Jamie, is under pressure. In 2019, he stepped down for health reasons and now only manages his daughter’s assets. Supervisor Jodi Montgomery is responsible for their personal concerns, including medical decisions. In 2020 the company Bessemer Trust joined as a financial trustee and now wants to throw in the towel.
Spears had attacked her 68-year-old father particularly sharply at the hearing: “He loved” to exercise power over her, she was treated like a slave under the tutelage. Everyone involved belonged in jail.
He and other family members had received threats, the celebrity father said in court documents, as the US broadcaster CNN reported on Thursday. Montgomery also complained of alleged threats on the phone and on social media, but she wanted to continue her job as a co-guardian.
Spears’ divorced mother Lynne gave her daughter some protection this week. The 66-year-old appealed in a petition that Britney could finally choose a lawyer of her choice, that her daughter’s wishes would be heard and that her guardianship would end.
The dispute is about Britney Spears’ freedom, but also about profitable business with her 60 million dollar fortune. The “New York Times” calculated that Spears attorney Ingham should have earned almost three million dollars since 2008 with the guardianship dispute.
A lot of people would have made a lot of money with Britney over the years, her former attorney, Adam Streisand, recently told CNN. A guardianship is intended for people who cannot fulfill their tasks, explained the lawyer. Not for Spears, “who does so much, goes on tour and makes millions”.
She was already in the limelight at the age of eleven: She became known as a presenter on the US broadcaster Disney Channel – together with Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. In January 1999 her debut album “Baby One More Time” came out, which made her a superstar straight away. Spears was considered the highest paid singer in the world for a while.
Since the beginning of the guardianship, she has released four albums, went on world tours and was on the show stage in Las Vegas from 2013 to 2017. In 2019, she then canceled the planned Vegas show “Domination”: Because of a serious illness in her father, she was taking an indefinite career break, Spears said at the time.
The singer continues tirelessly in Instagram videos. In front of her more than 31 million followers, she appears in skimpy outfits, whirls around her house while dancing and throws her blonde mane into the camera. Occasionally she posts photos with her boyfriend, the dancer and fitness trainer Sam Asghari, less often with her two teenage sons.
Madonna turns on
Spears gets support from many celebrity friends and fans who stand up for the singer under the hashtag “#FreeBritney”. “We love you Britney !!! Stay strong,” wrote pop star Mariah Carey on Twitter after the court hearing in June. Her ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Courtney Love and rapper Iggy Azalea also sent messages.
The most obvious was Spears ‘superstar colleague Madonna: “This is a violation of human rights! Britney, we come to get you out of your prison!”, She wrote on Instagram to a photo in which she was wearing a top with Spears’ name wearing. “Slavery was abolished a long time ago!” Said the 62-year-old pop icon. “Give this woman her life back.”
The next round of judgments is now due next Wednesday. Another Spears appearance at the hearing is not expected. But there is a flurry of applications, including the exit of lawyer Ingham and the trustee firm Bessemer Trust. Or has the singer formally submitted an application to end her guardianship – and Judge Brenda Penny brings a surprising turnaround?
This is what the supporters of the “Free Britney” movement are calling for, who have been putting up signs and slogans in front of the courthouse for months. The date next Wednesday is already noted as a “rally” event in the group’s calendar, not only in Los Angeles, but also in New York, Phoenix, San Antonio, Kansas City and Birmingham, UK.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210709-99-316649 / 3