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Judge Rules Against Britney Spears' Father In Conservatorship Dispute

Singer Britney Spears at an appearance in Hollywood in July 2019.
Valerie Macon
AFP via Getty Images
Singer Britney Spears at an appearance in Hollywood in July 2019.

It has been 13 years since singer Britney Spears, now 39, was placed under a legal conservatorship that removed her control over her own finances, career and well-being. In a hearing Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Brenda Penny continued that arrangement — but overruled her father's objections to a third party, Bessemer Trust, having been established as co-conservator of her estate.

The singer lost autonomy in 2008, when she was placed into a legal conservatorship controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, in an arrangement more typically made for an elderly person or someone with cognitive impairment.

Spears has never voiced — in court or on social media, in the court of public opinion — a desire for the conservatorship to be removed completely. Last year, her lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham III, stated in a filing that she "strongly opposed" her father as conservator and that she refused to perform if he were in charge of her career. While Jamie Spears was not removed as the conservator of the singer's estate, Penny agreed in November to allow a third party, Bessemer Trust, to be added as co-conservator.

Spears' situation has drawn renewed attention in the wake of The New York Times documentary "Framing Britney Spears," which debuted last week on the FX channel and is streaming on Hulu. It includes interviews with #FreeBritney activists and revisits the way that the media, comedians and the music industry characterized Spears during her rise to superstardom and during her very public struggles around the time of her divorce from former husband Kevin Federline and their battles over the custody of their two children.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas
Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.