Pop icon Britney Spears spoke out Wednesday against the conservatorship that she’s lived under for 13 years, telling a Los Angeles probate judge that she wants her life back.
In a 24-minute statement, Spears told the judge overseeing the conservatorship that she wants it to end “without having to be evaluated.” She called the arrangement “abusive” and said she’s been “traumatized” and “in denial” despite the upbeat messages that she’s posted on Instagram during the past year, according to Reuters.
“I just want my life back,” she said. “I’m not here to be anyone’s slave.”
After the statement, the court recessed, and the audio transmission was stopped, Reuters reported. Full transcripts have been published by several news outlets, including this lightly edited version by Variety.
Spears’ statement came as a shock after years of silence about the conservatorship. Public speculation about the arrangement has resurfaced during the past year due to the #FreeBritney movement on social media, news reports of leaked court documents, and a 2021 documentary that showed she may feel trapped.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Spears spoke by phone to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny about the court-approved arrangement that began in 2008 after she had a mental health breakdown. Penny said Spears would need to submit a petition to the court to ask for the conservatorship to be terminated.
Under the terms of the conservatorship, Spears would have to demonstrate that she can take responsibility for her personal and financial affairs, Reuters reported. During the hearing, Penny supported Spears for speaking out.
“I know it took a lot of courage for you to say everything you have to say today,” she said. “I want to let you know that the court does appreciate your coming on the line and sharing how you’re feeling.”
Spears, 39, said she wanted to get married again and have a baby but that she’s not allowed to go to the doctor to get a contraceptive device removed. She spoke up about her mental health and said doctors had put her on the drug lithium, which made her less able to function. Spears also said she was forced to perform in the past and is now required to attend numerous therapy sessions each week against her will.
“I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry, it’s insane,” she said. “And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Spears last spoke with the court in May 2019, but the hearing was closed to the public and her testimony was sealed. On Wednesday, Spears said she wanted people to hear her thoughts.
“I feel ganged-up on and I feel bullied and I feel left out and alone,” she said. “I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does, by having a child, a family, any of those things, and more so.”
Reuters: “Angry and traumatized, Britney Spears calls conservatorship abusive.”
Variety: “Read Britney Spears’ Full Statement Against Conservatorship: ‘I Am Traumatized.'”