She no longer trusts them to put her best interests above their own.
In Elite Daily’s It’s Complicated series, we dissect the biggest celebrity drama to find out what happened in front of the camera, behind the scenes, and everywhere in between. In this piece, we look at the status of Britney Spears’ relationships with her family members amid her legal battle to end her conservatorship.
Britney Spears’ June 23 testimony about her 13-year conservatorship was the speech heard across the world. Britney’s impassioned words begging for her conservatorship to end broke fans’ hearts and propelled the #FreeBritney movement to new heights. Britney’s fans are now more vocal than ever about fighting for the pop star’s freedom. Her family, on the other hand, has largely remained silent, as the conservatorship has driven a wedge between Britney and them. So, where does Britney Spears stand with her family now? Here’s what we know as the singer’s legal battle continues.
Britney’s conservatorship began in 2008, and it placed her father, Jamie Spears, in control of her financial affairs and personal life decisions. The conservatorship has been ongoing for 13 years. Over that time, Britney claims she was overworked, forcibly medicated, and prevented from removing her IUD birth control to have more children. Elite Daily previously reached out to Britney’s team for comments on the allegations made in her testimony, but did not hear back.
To say the conservatorship has made things contentious within the Spears family would be an understatement. While fans speculated that something was off for some time, Britney revealed just how toxic her relationship with her family had turned during her shocking court testimony. “I am traumatized,” the singer said at one point during the 24-minute call in remote court, part of which was taped and leaked online. At one point, she made it clear she no longer trusts them to put her best interests ahead of their own financial interests.“Considering my family has lived off my conservatorship for 13 years, I won’t be surprised if one of them has something to say going forward and say, ‘We don’t think this [conservatorship] should end. We have to help her,’” she said.
As Britney continues to plead with courts to end her conservatorship, here’s where she currently stands with key members of her family.
While Britney seems to be on shaky ground with most of her family members, her criticism was largely directed at her father, the main conservator of her estate. Britney took direct aim at him several times throughout her testimony. According to Britney, her father should be in jail for placing her in an “abusive” situation, including her claims that he made her work when she was sick and allowed her to be put on an impairing dose of lithium “out of nowhere.”
Britney’s father made a short statement about Britney’s testimony via his lawyer following the hearing: "He is sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain. Mr. Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much."
“My dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship and my management who played a huge role in punishing me when I said no — ma’am, they should be in jail,” Britney told the judge in her testimony. “Not only did my family not do a goddamn thing [about the medication], my dad was all for it. Anything that happened to me had to be approved by my dad.”
Jamie later shared a longer statement expressing his support for his daughter’s concerns about the conservatorship to be looked into. “Mr. Spears believes it is important for the integrity of the conservatorship proceedings and in the best interests of Ms. Spears for the Court to order an investigation into the issues and claims raised by [Britney] at the June 23, 2021 status hearing,” Jamie’s lawyers wrote in a petition. “Either the allegations will be shown to be true, in which case corrective action must be taken, or they will be shown to be false, in which case the conservatorship can continue its course… It is not acceptable for Conservators or the Court to do nothing in response to Ms. Spears’ testimony.”
Britney’s younger sister wasn’t specifically mentioned during Britney’s testimony, but she didn’t exactly say anything exonerating about her either. Fans have long criticized Jamie-Lynn for staying silent about Britney’s apparent mistreatment within her conservatorship, and Britney’s testimony seemed to echo that sentiment. “My whole family did nothing,” she said at one point. A week after the testimony — and following backlash on social media from Britney’s fans — Jamie-Lynn defended herself.
“I wanted to take a second to address a few things,” she began in a June 28 Instagram Story. “I felt like until my sister could speak for herself and say what she felt she needed to say publicly, it wasn’t my place, and it wasn’t the right thing to do. But now that she’s very clearly spoken and said what she needed to say, I feel like I can follow her lead and say what I feel I need to say.”
“I think it’s extremely clear that since the day I was born that I’ve only loved, adored, and supported my sister. This is my freakin’ big sister before any of this bullsh*t. I don’t care if she wants to run away to the rainforest and have a zillion babies in the middle of nowhere, or if she wants to come back and dominate the world the way she has so many times before,” she continued. “I have nothing to gain or lose either way. This situation does not affect me either way because I am only her sister who is only concerned about her happiness.”
The statement didn’t sit well with fans since her message seemingly contained a few gaps. Namely, Jamie-Lynn does reportedly have some involvement with her sister’s conservatorship. In August 2020, she was reportedly designated as the trustee of her multi-million dollar trust.
However, according to a New Yorker exposé about Britney’s conservatorship published on July 3, Jamie-Lynn is reportedly not on the pop star’s payroll. “Jamie, Lynne, and Spears’s brother, Bryan, have all spent years on Spears’s payroll, and, as friends who spoke with her at the time recalled, she was increasingly resentful of their efforts to influence her,” Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino wrote. Jamie-Lynn reacted to the story in a now-expired July 6 Instagram Story, writing, “Facts….now leave my broke-ass alone,” over a screenshot of the piece.
Lynne, Britney’s mother, isn’t one of Britney’s conservators, and her name wasn’t specifically brought up by Britney during the court hearing. In fact, Lynne has been the sole Spears family member to seemingly support the #FreeBritney movement publicly after liking social media posts supporting the hashtag in 2019. Still, Britney’s testimony revealed her mom had seen the worst of what she’s gone through, and still nothing’s changed. In one part of her testimony, Britney reflected on a time she was medicated and could barely have a conversation with Lynne.
“I felt drunk,” Britney said. “I really couldn’t even take up for myself. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad really about anything.” It wasn’t the only part of Britney’s testimony that took aim at her entire family. At one point, she said “all of them” have benefited from her conservatorship.
“I would honestly like to sue my family, to be totally honest with you,” Britney said. “I also would like to be able to share my story with the world, and what they did to me, instead of it being a hush-hush secret to benefit all of them.”
Most recently, Lynne seems to support Britney’s bid for more freedom. In a July 1 court filing obtained by CNN, she reportedly petitioned the court to allow Britney to choose her own conservatorship attorney. “Now, and for the past many years, Conservatee is able to care for her person and in fact has, within the parameters of this conservatorship, earned literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celebrity," Lynne stated via her lawyers.
Kevin Federline and Britney were married from 2004 to 2007 and have two kids together, Sean Preston and Jayden Federline. Following his ex’s court hearing, Federline released a statement via his lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, to People on June 29.
“The best thing would be for their mom to be healthy and happy,” Kaplan told People. “If either of those things aren’t true, it doesn’t provide for the best setting for custody to be exercised. [Kevin] certainly respects Britney and only hopes the best for her because when the best for her is achieved, it’s the best for their kids. The kids love their mother, and he wants there to be a healthy and strong relationship.”
Federline made his opposition to the conservatorship crystal clear. “Britney has not been served well by the conservatorship, and it’s not consistent with what she wants,” Kaplan added. “I think that she should be able to challenge that. And if it’s what’s best for her, Kevin supports it... If she’s strong and healthy and wants to be in control of her own life, and can do that in a reasonable, responsible fashion, then more power to her.”
Sean Preston & Jayden Federline
Britney didn’t say much about her children during her testimony. However, there were several times she alluded to the conservatorship having a detrimental impact on her relationship with them. For starters, she accused her father of controlling her schedule to the point of not being able to see them.
“If I didn’t do any of my meetings and work from eight to six at night, which is 10 hours a day, seven days a week, no days off, I wouldn’t be able to see my kids or my boyfriend,” Britney said. “I never had a say in my schedule.”
She also said she was forced to spend time without her kids during the holidays. “I was told I had to be tested over the Christmas holidays before they sent me away when my kids went home to Louisiana. He was the one who approved all of it,” Britney said, referring to her dad. Currently, Britney reportedly has 30% custody of Sean Preston and Jayden.
On June 30, Britney’s months-old request to have her father immediately removed from her conservatorship was denied (the request and denial was not in response to Britney’s testimony; the judge can’t use her testimony to make a ruling until she files a petition to terminate her entire conservatorship). It seems Britney’s battle is far from over. But as the legal fight continues, it’s becoming increasingly evident who is (and isn’t) in her corner.