Drew Barrymore knows a few things about the feeling of being a child star in the white-hot spotlight and in a new interview with Entertainment Tonight the actress-turned-syndicated-daytime-talk-show-host said she’s done holding her tongue about Britney Spears‘ battle to be freed from a 13-year conservatorship.
Barrymore, 46, told ET‘s Kevin Frazier, that she had purposely avoided comment on Spears’ push to be emancipated from the controls over her personal and professional life, but has recently changed her mind. “I feel that there’s a human being at the core of this. But since she put herself out there more … she’s the key to her freedom,” Barrymore said. “This is about her and her life and everybody deserves the freedom to make mistakes or a success of their life and everything in between. That is what a life is. So whether it’s about her or anyone else, I want people to have their civil liberties; to have the freedom to live their lives.”
Because she doesn’t have a personal relationship with Spears, Barrymore said she didn’t feel right discussing the issue in public, deciding that the best way to respect Spears’ wishes was to not post about it on social media. “This is too big for that,” she said. “But I also think on the other side of the coin, the noise had to be made in order to start to have change here. Social media is a very tricky animal. It can lead to great outcry and people listening, and it can also be a place that has a little bit of empty calories.”
In the midst of what was described as a mental health crisis, Spears was placed into a strict conservatorship overseen by her father, Jamies Spears, in February 2008, giving him control over his daughter’s life and career for the past 13 years. A fan-led #FreeBritney movement started years ago when the singer’s biggest supporters speculated she was performing and having medical decisions made against her own will.
That movement gained serious momentum this year when Spears began to speak out about wanting to end what she called the “abusive” conservatorship in a rare, bombshell court appearance in June. Spears vehemently requested that her estranged father step down from his position, which Jamie Spears recently agreed to do. Spears was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold twice in January 2008, a month before the beginning of the conservatorship.
Barrymore — who was placed in a psychiatric hospital for 18 months by her mother when she was 13 — told SiriusXM’s Howard Stern in February that she was locked down for being “out of control” and that she had “so much empathy” for Britney. “It’s hard to grow up in front of people. It’s just hard,” she said. Spears’ case has gotten backing from fellow stars who’ve spoken out in support of her efforts to be emancipated from the conservatorship, including kind words from Selena Gomez and Dolly Parton, as well as Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and former boyfriend Justin Timberlake.