Britney Spears: ‘I just want my life back’
June 24: Britney Spears told a Los Angeles judge on Wednesday that she has been drugged, compelled to work against her will and prevented from removing her birth control device over the past 13 years as she pleaded with the court to end her father's legal control of her life.
"I've been in denial. I've been in shock. I am traumatised," Spears, 39, said in an emotional 23-minute address by phone that was broadcast in the courtroom and, as she insisted, to the public. "I just want my life back."
It was the first time that the world had heard Spears address in detail her struggles with the conservatorship granted to her father, James P Spears, in 2008, when concerns about her mental health and potential substance abuse led him to petition the court for legal authority over his adult daughter.
Spears called for the arrangement to end without her "having to be evaluated."
"I shouldn't be in a conservatorship if I can work. The laws need to change," she added. "I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I don't feel like I can live a full life."
The struggle between one of the world's biggest pop stars and her father, known as Jamie, has become a long-running saga that has spawned a "Free Britney" movement around the world among her fans and fellow celebrities.
Outside the courtroom, Spears' voice silenced a crowd of roughly 120 supporters who had rallied on her behalf but paused to listen to her words on their phones.
The striking development came after Spears' court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, asked at her request in April that she be allowed - on an expedited basis - to address the judge directly. Confidential court records obtained recently by The New York Times revealed that Spears had raised issues with her father's role in the conservatorship as early as 2014, and had repeatedly asked about terminating it altogether, although Ingham had not filed to do so.
"It's embarrassing and demoralising what I've been through, and that's the main reason I didn't say it openly," Spears said. "I didn't think anybody would believe me." Spears said she had been previously unaware that she could petition to end the arrangement. "I'm sorry for my ignorance," she said, "but I didn't know that."
Working off prepared remarks, the singer spoke so quickly and so passionately that the judge was forced more than once to ask her to slow down for the sake of the court stenographer.
"Now I'm telling you the truth, OK?" Spears said. "I'm not happy. I can't sleep. I'm so angry it's insane."
The singer has lived under a two-pronged conservatorship in California - covering her person and her estate - since 2008, when concerns about her mental health and potential substance abuse led Jamie Spears to petition the court for authority over his daughter. -Agencies