Britney Spears has been freed from her longstanding conservatorship.
On Friday, an L.A. judge granted a petition to terminate the 13-year arrangement during a hearing that lasted less than 30 minutes.
Despite the rise of the #FreeBritney movement, and years of speculation from fans that the singer was unhappy in the conservatorship, nothing changed until this summer — when everything did. On June 23, Spears gave emotional testimony via live video where she stated publicly for the first time that she felt the conservatorship was abusive and that it was “my wish and my dream for this to end.” Barely two weeks later, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny allowed Spears, for the first time, to hire the attorney of her choosing: prosecutor-turned-litigator Mathew Rosengart. While an outsider to the probate law realm, Rosengart — dubbed “RosenGod” by fans — quickly went on the offensive, having Jamie Spears suspended as conservator of Britney Spears’ estate and launching a full-scale investigation into the alleged conservatorship abuse.
While it was Jamie Spears who on Sept. 7 filed the petition to end the conservatorship, Rosengart has argued it was a last-ditch attempt to leverage a settlement and avoid accountability. With a new conservator of the estate in place, Rosengart argues, Jamie no longer holds attorney-client privilege on behalf of the conservatorship — opening up decades of financial records and communications to Britney’s new team. Through his attorneys, Jamie Spears has vehemently denied any wrongdoing or ulterior motives and, in a Nov. 1 filing, said he has nothing to hide and will “unconditionally cooperate in transferring all files regarding the estate to Britney’s counsel without delay.”
On Friday afternoon, court staff informed press and fans that no one who entered the courtroom would be permitted to leave until either the hearing was over or there was a recess. This comes after a Sept. 29 hearing that saw many public attendees dart out after rulings to tweet the updates, which a court deputy described as “very disrespectful.” While this development angered fans who were anxiously awaiting updates via social media, in lieu of any kind of live feed of the hearing, it’s not entirely surprising. People getting out of their seats to leave the courtroom, even relatively quietly, can be disruptive to proceedings — especially if it happens continually.
Those eagerly awaiting a decision got an answer just after 2 p.m., with Penny ruling, “Effective today the conservatorship of Ms. Britney Jean Spears is no longer required.”
The hearing began with Penny asking Rosengart for his take on where things stood. He responded by quoting Britney’s prior testimony, “I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough.” Britney herself did not attend, but her parents appeared virtually. (There were no objections by any of the parties.)
Rosengart told the court a “personal and financial” safety net has been put in place for his client, and John Zabel — who had been appointed temporary conservator of Spears’ estate — will stay on in a limited capacity for a short period of time.
After her conservatorship was terminated, Spears took to social media to express her thanks to fans for their support. “Good God I love my fans so much it’s crazy!!! I think I’m gonna cry the rest of the day!!!! Best day ever… praise the Lord… can I get an Amen????” the pop star wrote in an Instagram caption alongside a video of fans celebrating outside the L.A. courthouse.
Ahead of the Nov. 12 hearing, Spears’ fiancé, Sam Asghari, riled up her already energized fan base even further by posting photos of the two of them wearing #FreeBritney shirts on social media. The rallying cry was trending on Twitter Friday as well, making the top 10 topics in the U.S. Outside the courthouse, Britney fans wrote their holiday wishes for her on a bright pink “Merry Britmas” tree.
The next hearing is now set for Jan. 19 to address the pending accounting and other lingering issues. Outside the courtroom Friday, amid the sound of cheering fans, Rosengart said: “What’s next for Britney — and this is the first time that this can be said for about a decade — is up to one person: Britney.”
Rafael adds: “We love her. She’s family.” For the countless #FreeBritney supporters, the celebrations continue this weekend in LA. I’m told that there’s an event tonight at Naughty Pig on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood at 7 pm. Tomorrow is brunch at 12-2 pm in West Hollywood. pic.twitter.com/n54exvvl20
— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) November 12, 2021