Britney Spears’ father Jamie Spears has been suspended as conservator of her estate after 13 years, during the latest court hearing in the long-running dispute.
The judge in Los Angeles said it was in Spears‘ “best interests” to remove her father from the legal agreement and that the “current situation is untenable” and “reflects a toxic environment”. A temporary conservator will be appointed, before a hearing to terminate the conservatorship at a later date.
The decision is a huge victory for the star, who spoke out against her father during dramatic court hearings in June and July, claiming she had been medicated against her will and denied the right to have children.
Her lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, has pressed for an investigation into the conduct of those who have administered the conservatorship, which has been in place since 2008, after Spears, now 39, was said to have suffered a mental breakdown.
Jamie Spears had been the conservatorship’s main controller for most of that time. In 2019, he stepped aside as conservator of Spears’ person, with control over her life decisions, but remained in charge of her $60 million (about £44.7 million) estate – and her finances.
However, following his daughter’s bombshell evidence earlier in the year, he finally conceded and had asked Judge Brenda Penny to end the conservatorship before the hearing on Wednesday.
Hours before the hearing, a major street near the court was closed to vehicles, and dozens of Spears’ supporters rallied and waved placards outside. There were cheers from fans as news of the judge’s decision was conveyed.
Spears and Mr Rosengart had emphasised in court papers the importance of removing her father, calling it a necessary first step toward her freedom and “ending the Kafkaesque nightmare imposed upon her”.
Mr Rosengart claimed in another filing earlier this week that Mr Spears “crossed unfathomable lines” by engaging in illegal surveillance of his daughter, including communications with her lawyer, after the allegations were made in the new Controlling Britney Spears documentary from The New York Times and the FX network – a follow-up to Framing Britney Spears, released early in 2021.
Earlier in September, Spears announced her engagement to her long-term boyfriend, Sam Asghari – which means putting together a prenuptial agreement that her father should not be involved in, her court filings said. In her statements given to the court in the summer, she said she had not been allowed to get married and have children under the conservatorship.
Jamie Spears has always denied acting in anything other than his daughter’s best interests. He has said in court papers that he does not know of “a single medical professional nor the report of a single probate investigator” that concluded that his presence as conservator was harming his daughter or that he should be replaced.
His lawyers had argued there was no need for him to step down because all sides had agreed the contentious arrangement should end.
Despite giving evidence earlier in the year, Spears did not take part in Wednesday’s hearing but was represented by Mr Rosengart – who said it would take time to wind down the conservatorship entirely. He also said Jamie Spears wanted to avoid having to answer questions about his actions.
The fight to end the conservatorship has been a long one for Spears, who said through her legal team in November 2020 that she would not perform live again while her father was still in control.