Britney Spears has secured her freedom after a judge granted approval to terminate the conservatorship that has largely controlled the American pop superstar’s medical, financial, and personal decisions for nearly 14 years.
At a hearing in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on Friday, Judge Brenda Penny dissolved the legal arrangement in a widely expected move.
“As of today, the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated,” Penny said, five months since Spears publicly demanded the end of the conservatorship.
Spears did not attend the hearing. Fans outside the court cheered at the decision, chanted “Britney! Britney! Britney!” and broke into singing Spears’s hit song “Stronger.”
Penny did not require Spears to undergo a mental health evaluation, which is often taken before ending a conservatorship.
Jamie Spears, Britney Spears’s father, put in place the conservatorship in 2008 after his daughter suffered a mental breakdown and underwent treatment for undisclosed mental health issues in 2007.
According to California law, a conservatorship is justified for a “person who is unable to provide properly for his or her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter,” or for someone who is “substantially unable to manage his or her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence.”
In tearful testimony in June, the 39-year-old singer-songwriter told the court: “I want my life back. I’m not here to be anyone’s slave.” She called the conservatorship “abusive,” adding that it does her “way more harm than good.”
Among the many complaints, Spears shared that she was blocked from removing her birth control, and that she was forced into a mental health facility that cost her $60,000 a month after canceling her planned Las Vegas shows in early 2019. She also said that she wasn’t aware she could file a petition to end the conservatorship.
A judge in July allowed Spears to hire an attorney of her choice, Mathew Rosengart. At the July hearing, Spears again expressed her wish to end the conservatorship.
Spears successfully removed her father from the legal arrangement in late September. Her father had partly controlled the conservatorship. Penny, in siding with Spears and Rosengart, said that the “toxic environment” made the move necessary.
Jamie Spears in 2019 had stepped down as conservator over his daughter’s personal affairs, which included control over the pop star’s life decisions. The role was given to Jodi Montgomery, a court-appointed professional.
Montgomery has developed a care plan with Spears’s therapists and doctors to guide her through the end of the conservatorship. Montgomery will also work to settle ongoing financial issues in the case.
Meanwhile, Rosengart has further vowed to pursue an investigation of James Spears’s role in the conservatorship even after it ends. The attorney said he and his team have found mismanagement of Britney Spears’s finances, suggesting she could pursue further legal action. Court records put her net worth at about $60 million.
Rosengart also said that law enforcement should investigate revelations in a New York Times documentary about a listening device placed in Britney Spears’s bedroom. Jamie Spears’s attorneys said Rosengart’s allegations ranged from unsubstantiated to impossible, and that he only ever acted in his daughter’s best interest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.