Britney Spears didn’t want to get paid for a tell-all interview after the end of her conservatorship. She’s telling the story on her own.
The pop star, who recently deactivated her Instagram account but moved over to updating fans via Twitter, without comment tweeted the link to an unfiltered, 22-minute oral account of her experience being put under a conservatorship by her family. To this day, Spears wonders, “How the f— did they get away with it?”
Spears entered into a conservatorship with her father, Jamie Spears, in February 2008, which gave him control over his daughter’s life and career for 13 years. The arrangement was officially terminated by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge in November 2021.
“I’ve had tons of opportunities — Oprah, interviews — to go on a platform and share the hardships and just really anything that’s going on in my mind,” Spears explains in the beginning of the audio recording, which was uploaded to YouTube Sunday evening (Aug. 28) but has now been set to private; her original tweet has also now been deleted. “I really don’t think any of that is relevant, getting paid to tell your story. I feel like it’s kind of silly.”
“I haven’t honestly shared this openly too, as well, because I’ve always been scared of the judgement and definitely the embarrassment of the whole thing, period, and the skepticism and the cynical people and their opinions of what people would actually think,” she admitted before saying that she’s “in a place now where I’m a little bit more confident that I can be willing to share openly my thoughts and what I’ve been through.”
“I was 25 when it started,” Spears recalled. “I was extremely young. I remember a lot of my friends texting me and calling me, extremely close, and they wanted to see me.”
“I honestly still to this day don’t know what really I did, but the punishment of my father … I wasn’t able to, you know, see anyone or anything. You have to imagine none of it made sense to me,” said Spears, speaking of her perspective at the time.
The singer described her recollection of where it all began: “There was a SWAT team in my home, three helicopters. I remember my mom’s best friend, and my two girlfriends, we had a sleepover the night before. They held me down on a gurney. Again, none of it made sense. Literally the extent of my ‘madness’ was playing chase with paparazzi, which is still to this day one of the most fun things I ever did about being famous. I don’t know what was so harmful about that. I remember my mom was sitting on the couch, and she said, ‘We heard people are coming here today to talk to you. We should probably go to a hotel or something.’ I never really understood what she meant. I didn’t believe her. Like, is a lawyer coming here? Who is coming here? Four hours later, there were over 200 paparazzi outside my house video-taping me through a window of an ambulance, holding me down on a gurney.”
“I know now it was all premeditated,” said Spears. “A woman introduced the idea [of a conservatorship] to my dad, and my mom actually helped him follow through and made it all happen. It was all basically set up. There was no drugs in my system, no alcohol, nothing. It was pure abuse. And I haven’t even really shared half of it.”
Spears went on to allege that her father had always “loved to control everything I did” and that he “was really, really hard on [her brother] when he was younger, really abusive.”
The star said that after the first “two weeks of being hospitalized and completely traumatized out of my mind, I did a TV show called How I Met Your Mother, and then I started working on album called Circus. I started working right away. All I do remember is I had to do what I was told. I was told I was fat every day. I had to go to the gym, I had to just … I never remember feeling so demoralized. They made me feel like nothing. And I went along with it because I was scared. I was scared and fearful. I didn’t even really do anything, and I had like a SWAT team [show up] — none of it made sense to me.”
Spears said that throughout the conservatorship she went on to do “probably four-and-a-half tours” and to record the albums Circus, Femme Fatale, Britney Jean and Glory, as well as taking on her Piece of Me residency in Las Vegas “for four-and-a-half years.”
“My performances I know were horrible,” Spears said of her time on the Vegas stage. “I even wore wigs. All the dancers were doing all these nice, sexy head-flip turns and I had conditioner treatment in my hair and these little caps over my head … because I was just a robot. I didn’t give a f— anymore because I couldn’t go where I wanted to go, I couldn’t have the nannies that I wanted to have, I couldn’t have cash. It was just demoralizing. I was kind of like in this conspiracy thing of people claiming and treating me like a superstar, but yet they treated me like nothing.”
Spears stated that it was making her Glory album that started to give her hope again.
“For some reason, I started to get a spark back,” she said. “I remember recording Glory, and for some reason I think producing and making music … I got the fire back in my eyes for some reason. I was at the end of recording Glory — my son named it — and things start of kind of taking a turn because I started getting more confidence just for myself.”
“But it was really tricky because I had to just play this role that everything was OK all the time,” Spears added, “and I had to go along with it because I knew they could hurt me.”
“You also have to understand, it was 15 years of touring and doing shows, and I’m 30 years old under my dad’s rules. All of this is going on and my mom’s witnessing this, and my brother is witnessing and my friends are witnessing, and they all go along with it,” the singer explained before describing the small moment after her Vegas residency closed in 2017 that she said led to her being sent away to a facility again.
“I was supposed to do a new show … I went to the rehearsals and I said ‘no’ to a dancer. It was like, ‘No, can we do that? I don’t want to do this.’ I just remember everything got really weird … The next day, I was told that I had to be sent away to a facility and that I was supposed to say on my Instagram the reason why is because my dad is sick and I need treatment … I was crying, and I was like, ‘Why are you guys doing this?'” she recalled, saying that her dad threatened that if she didn’t go, she’d be taken to court for a big trial “you’re gonna lose.”
At the facility, Spears said she had no privacy at all and that “my heart felt like it was frozen, like it was stuck inside. I wanted to scream and I wanted to get out. I think, by a needle and thread, it was the breathing peacefully inward that I missed the most. I felt like I was in a state of shock.”
“They monitored what at ate,” she said. “From 8 to 6 I’d work. Sometimes at 9 o’clock I’d be able to watch a movie.”
Spears credits the #FreeBritney movement for getting her out of there. “The whole thing that made it really confusing for me is these people were on the street were fighting for me,” she said, “but my sister and my mother aren’t doing anything. To me, it was like they secretly, honestly liked me being the bad one, like I was messed up, and they kind of just liked it that way. Otherwise why weren’t they outside my doorstep saying, ‘Baby girl, get in the car, let’s go.’ I think that’s the main thing that hurt me. I couldn’t process how my family went along with it for so long.”
She remembered “how much effort and work and heart I put into what I did when I did work, even down the details of how many rhinestones are going to be in my costume, and I cared so much. And they literally killed me. They threw me away. I felt like my family threw me away.”
“I was a machine. I was a f—ing machine,” Spears declared. “Not even human, almost. It was insane how hard I worked. And the one time I speak up and say no in the rehearsals, to a f—ing dance move, they got pissed.”
“They put me in an ignorant, scared state of mind to make me feel like I needed them, and if you don’t do what we say, we’re gonna show you who’s boss,” Spears said.
“I didn’t play their game anymore,” she said. “I got on my knees every day and I prayed. I held on like a needle and thread to some sort of existence because they had made me feel like nothing for so long. I knew in the deepest, deepest part of my core, I knew I’d done nothing wrong and I didn’t deserve the way I’d been treated.”
Spears spoke candidly of how deeply her mother, Lynne Spears, hurt her for not speaking out against the conservatorship or helping her daughter get out of it.
“I’m honestly more angry at my mom because I heard when reporters would call her at the time, and ask questions of what was going on, she would go innocently hide in the house and she wouldn’t speak up. There was always like, ‘I don’t know what to say. I just don’t want to say the wrong thing. We’re praying for her.’ I feel like she could’ve gotten me a lawyer in literally two seconds … Every time I made contact with a firm, my phone was tapped and they would take my phone away from me.”
“And again, I get nothing out of sharing all of this,” Spears insisted. “I have offers to interview with Oprah and so many people, lots and lots of money, but it’s insane. I don’t want any of it. For me, it’s beyond a sitdown, proper interview.”
“I had no contact in that place for so long,” she said as she wrapped up her emotional account. “My heart would just want to stand up in my family’s faces and scream and cry and throw a tantrum and go back in time and do exactly what I wanted to do at those times.”
“Yeah, I might even spit in their f—ing faces,” said Spears. “Why? Because the pain my family gave me, sitting there all day and not being able to use my feet, as they watched their grandchildren run bases to base in a family neighborhood, as if I’m dead or I don’t exist, honestly makes me look up and say, ‘How the f— did they get away with it? How is there a God? Is there a God?”
“I’m sharing this because I want people to know I’m only human. I do feel victimized after these experiences and how can I mend this if I don’t talk about it?” Spears told her fans.
She then turned her talk to something positive, “Hold Me Closer” — “I have an amazing song right now with one of the most brilliant men of our time and I’m so grateful” — but explained why she decided to post the voice memo now: “If you’re a weird introvert oddball like me, who feels alone a lot of the time, and you needed to hear a story like this today so you don’t feel alone, know this: My life has been far from easy, and you’re not alone.”