Since 2008, after a string of public meltdowns, Spears has lived under a unique conservatorship, sometimes known as a guardianship, a complex legal arrangement typically reserved for the old, ill or infirm. For more than a decade, the pop singer went along quietly with the setup, which controlled her finances, as well as aspects of her day-to-day life, like her mental health care, and where and how she could travel.
Spears, 38, who has not released an album since 2016 and has slowed down substantially since her early 2000s peak, announced an “indefinite work hiatus” in January 2019, at the time citing the health of her father, who had suffered a ruptured colon. But in August, she moved for the first time to make substantial changes to the conservatorship in court “to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and her stated wishes,” according to her lawyer. She also kept open the possibility that she would seek to get rid of the arrangement altogether.
Representatives for Jamie Spears have said that his stewardship of her career protected her from financial ruin, turning her estate into a nearly $60 million business, and likely saved her life. In court filings, Jamie said that his “sole motivation has been his unconditional love for his daughter and a fierce desire to protect her from those trying to take advantage of her.”
On Wednesday, Jamie Spears’s lawyer, Vivian Lee Thoreen, said in court that Ingham’s comments about the father-daughter relationship were merely hearsay and should not be admissible.
Complicating the family and financial drama has been the ongoing presence of an especially vocal, activist wing of fans calling themselves the #FreeBritney movement, who have sought to portray the conservatorship as a money-hungry means of total control over Spears. For years, the Spears family largely ignored those accusations, but recently, the singer has signaled her appreciation for their support, which many have taken as implicit encouragement.