Britney Spears will no longer have to deal with her father handling her business affairs. An L.A. judge on Wednesday granted the artist’s petition to suspend him from his role as conservator of her estate immediately, finding the arrangement was no longer in her best interest.
Spears’ conservatorship was established in 2008, after she was hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation. The oversight is split into two parts, conservator of the person and conservator of the estate. Her father, Jamie Spears, did both until September 2019, when a woman named Jodi Montgomery took over the personal side.
After more than a decade of general stagnation, in the past three months the circumstances have rapidly changed: Britney is now working with a lawyer of her choosing; Jamie petitioned to end the conservatorship; and Britney petitioned to have him immediately removed from his role while her team set its sights on winding down the conservatorship this coming fall.
Those dueling petitions and a host of other issues were on a packed agenda for a Wednesday afternoon hearing before L.A. County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny.
The proceeding was poised to be the most pivotal moment yet in Britney’s 13-year conservatorship battle and it felt that way with a crowd gathered outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown L.A., including dozens of media outlets and a sea of vocal #FreeBritney supporters, many toting homemade signs, chanting for her freedom and rallying support through media appearances. Inside the courtroom, it was a capacity crowd of masked media with several seats reserved for the public. Journalists, approved in advance of attending the hearing, were given seat assignments and ordered to line up one hour before the 1:30 p.m. start time. At that time, the air was thick with tension and anticipation as L.A. County Sheriff deputies worked in tandem with court officials to manage the flow and keep those in line from taking photographs or recording the proceedings.
While sources close to Britney had indicated she was unhappy with the conservatorship, it wasn’t until she addressed the court in June that the world truly learned her perspective, which she called abusive. “I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized,” she said on June 23, expressing her desire for the arrangement to end. “I just want my life back.”
Britney’s nearly 30-minute testimony in front of Penny sent shockwaves throughout the world. In another stunning development, a month later Judge Penny granted Britney the ability to hire her own counsel in Mathew Rosengart, a Hollywood Power Lawyer and former prosecutor. Rosengart acted swiftly in petitioning the court to suspend or remove Jamie from his role as conservator of her estate and has indicated he’s investigating alleged abuses of that power.
More to come.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.