Britney Spears conservatorship: Jamie Spears rep calls removal 'a loss for Britney'
LOS ANGELES - Britney Spears’ father Jamie Spears spoke out through his attorney after a judge on Wednesday suspended him from the conservatorship that has controlled his pop star daughter’s life and finances for more than a decade.
Jamie Spears issued a statement via his attorney Vivian L. Thoreen, saying, "Mr. Spears loves his daughter Britney unconditionally" hours after being removed from control over his daughter's finances and affairs.
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"For thirteen years, he has tried to do what is in her best interests, whether as a conservator or her father. This started with agreeing to serve as her conservator when she voluntarily entered into the conservatorship. This included helping her revive her career and re-establish a relationship with her children. For anyone who has tried to help a family member dealing with mental health issues, they can appreciate the tremendous amount of daily worry and work this required," the statement read.
The statement continued: "For Mr. Spears, this also meant biting his tongue and not responding to all the false, speculative, and unsubstantiated attacks on him by certain members of the public, media, or more recently, Britney’s own attorney. These facts make the outcome of yesterday’s hearing all the more disappointing, and frankly, a loss for Britney."
Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny agreed with a petition from Britney Spears and her attorney, Mathew Rosengart, that Jamie Spears needed to give up his role as conservator, saying the arrangement "reflects a toxic environment."
The move came as a major victory for the singer, who pleaded in dramatic hearings in June and July that her father needed to be out. But Jamie Spears’ attorney disagreed in the statement, calling the judge’s decision to suspend the father from control of his daughter’s conservatorship "wrong."
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"Respectfully, the court was wrong to suspend Mr. Spears, put a stranger in his place to manage Britney’s estate, and extend the very conservatorship that Britney begged the court to terminate earlier this summer," the statement read. "Again, it was Mr. Spears who took the initiative to file the petition to terminate the conservatorship when neither Britney’s former court-appointed counsel nor her new privately-retained attorney would do so. It was Mr. Spears who asked the court at yesterday’s hearing to immediately terminate the conservatorship while Britney’s own attorney argued against it.
Despite the suspension, Mr. Spears will continue to look out for the best interests of his daughter and work in good faith towards a positive resolution of all matters."
The singer’s father sought the conservatorship in 2008 and had been the primary controller of her money for her estate. He reversed course in recent weeks, asking the judge to end the conservatorship.
Her father in 2019 stepped aside as the so-called conservator of his daughter's person, with control over her life decisions, maintaining only his role as conservator of her estate, with control over her finances. He and his attorneys have said that renders many of his daughter's complaints about his control over her life meaningless.
His official termination from his daughter’s conservatorship will take place on Nov. 12, according to Rosengart.
The 39-year-old singer gave rare and candid remarks in June to the judge, saying, "I’m not lying, I just want my life back" in a virtual court hearing.
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Spears called the conservatorship "abusive" and said she wanted to petition to end the arrangement.
"After I’ve told the whole world I’m OK, it’s a lie. I’m not happy, I can’t sleep, I’m depressed, I cry every day," Spears said. The singer blamed her ignorance for not understanding how to end the conservatorship herself.
"I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. There are thousands of abusive conservatorships," Spears said. "I shouldn’t be in a conservatorship if I can work for myself and pay other people."
The case has drawn interest from fans all over the world, many of whom have helped spawn the so-called #FreeBritney movement in protest of the unusual legal arrangement. Those in the movement feel Spears is being controlled unfairly against her will and have gathered outside the courthouse in large numbers during hearings related to the case.
A conservatorship is established when a person is considered to have a severely diminished mental capacity, and the court can step in and grant someone the power to make financial decisions and major life choices for them.
California law says a conservatorship, called a guardianship in some states, 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."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.