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The Father Of Britney Spears Files A Petition To End Her Conservatorship


Britney Spears could be free soon from a legal arrangement that has dictated her life since 2008. Her dad, Jamie Spears, petitioned a court to end what's known as a conservatorship. NPR culture correspondent Anastasia Tsioulcas has been following this story. Hi, Anastasia.


KING: Jamie Spears was his daughter's conservator, and he defended that position for years and years. So what has changed?

TSIOULCAS: Well, Noel, there's been a lot of very public pressure recently to give Britney Spears back at least some measure of her personal autonomy, and a lot of that has come from the pop singer herself. That includes her statements in court earlier this summer in which she repeatedly accused her father of financial abuse. And you may remember the audio from that leaked online and went viral instantly. And since then, Britney Spears also said she refuses to perform as long as he retains any control over her and her finances.

KING: And so here we are, and her dad has filed to end the conservatorship.

TSIOULCAS: Right. For a long time, Jamie Spears has asserted that he's acted out of love for his daughter, and he couched this move yesterday in those terms as well. In yesterday's filing, his lawyer wrote, quote, "As Mr. Spears has said again and again, all he wants is what's best for his daughter. If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance."

KING: OK. So love is involved, Mr. Spears says - also, though, money. Under this conservatorship, he controls all of Britney Spears' money, doesn't he?

TSIOULCAS: He does. And there's been a lot of investigative reporting this year, in particular from The New York Times and The New Yorker, that's really shined a light on her financial situation. We've learned details of how he has managed her finances. For example, we learned that Jamie Spears has been doing things like paying himself a percentage of all her live show earnings, even though he doesn't do any of the work of a traditional manager or agent. I should also say there's a co-conservator of Britney Spears' person named Jodi Montgomery. Since 2019, she's looked after Spears' health decisions and personal life. And as of now, she's remaining in place.

KING: And so we can't really say that Britney Spears has won and gotten out from under this arrangement.

TSIOULCAS: No, not yet. Britney Spears recently hired an attorney named Mathew Rosengart. He told us in a statement late yesterday that in some ways, it's a vindication and a massive victory. But he also pointed out that he has been investigating Jamie Spears' handling of his daughter's money. He's hired a forensic accountant for that purpose. And Rosengart's promising to continue that effort no matter what. In the statement he gave NPR, Rosengart said that Jamie Spears is trying, quote, "to avoid accountability and justice."

KING: Do we have a sense of what happens next or how quickly it will happen?

TSIOULCAS: Not really, Noel. The judge who's overseeing the case, Brenda Penny, was supposed to hold a hearing at the end of September. So unless Judge Penny expedites this next hearing, I think we're going to be in a holding pattern until at least then. And of course, it will ultimately be up to Judge Penny to approve Jamie Spears' removal and, of course, it will be up to Judge Penny to decide if Britney Spears needs to remain in a conservatorship at all.

KING: OK. NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas. Thank you.

TSIOULCAS: Thanks for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF TYCHO'S "WEATHER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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.
Noel King is a host of Morning Edition and Up First.