"She's been surrounded by a team of people since she was 15, so at what level does everyone just walk away or get reduced?" Britney Spears' brother wondered in a recent interview.
The drama surrounding Britney Spears' life continues to unfold.
Over the past year, the 38-year-old singer has been going through personal turmoil, more than a decade after she famously suffered a public breakdown. In January 2019, she canceled a planned Las Vegas residency following a health emergency suffered by her father Jamie Spears, who was given almost full control of her financial and medical affairs via a court conservatorship 12 years ago. In April 2019, Britney completed a month-long stint at a mental health treatment facility.
For years, many of Britney's fans have called for an end to the conservatorship, and in recent months, the "#FreeBritney" movement emerged.
"She's on an indefinite work hiatus, that's been the same since January 4," a source told E! News in 2019. "She's just focusing on her health and getting better, that's her priority. She's at a place where she's able to go out and she's working on herself. Britney and [boyfriend] Sam [Asghari] are totally fine and he's very supportive of her. Her parents are working together and are very supportive of her too. They take this very seriously and want the best for her."
Currently, Britney's conservatorship will remain in effect through February 2021, however she and her father are in disagreement over who exactly should permanently fulfill the role of conservator. The singer's care manager, Jodi Montgomery, is temporarily serving as said conservator.
Her older brother, Bryan Spears, recently shared in a rare interview that the Spears family is "hoping for the best," but expressed his concern over what would happen if the conservatorship ended. He questioned, "She's been surrounded by a team of people since she was 15, so at what level does everyone just walk away or get reduced?"
But he also admitted Britney "always wanted to get out of" the conservatorship, which she's abided by since 2008, following a public breakdown the year prior.
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See a full timeline of Britney's turmoil in recent years:
January 4, 2019: To the dismay of her loyal followers, Britney reveals that she is taking an indefinite work hiatus and canceling her Domination residency in Las Vegas amid her father's health struggles. In an apologetic Instagram post, the star writes, "I've been looking forward to this show and seeing all of you this year, so doing this breaks my heart. However, it's important to always put your family first… and that's the decision I had to make." According to an insider, Jamie's colon spontaneously ruptured, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
March 4, 2019: For reasons that remain unclear, Britney's co-conservator Andrew Wallet resigns from his position, leaving Jamie as the sole conservator over the 37-year-old's life. According to Us Weekly, the lawyer was responsible for monitoring the singer's financial assets. Because of the importance of his position, he requested that his resignation be accepted "immediately and without delay" so as not to disrupt any ongoing business activities. While he is no longer the conservator or attorney for Spears, he continues to practice law.
April 3, 2019: The star later reemerges on social media with an Instagram post advocating for self-care, which is swiftly followed by reports that she entered a mental health facility. A source tells E! News at the time, "Britney's father's health has been weighing on her, and affecting her emotional well-being." The source emphasizes that "Britney decided to do this on her own" so that she can be allowed to "rejuvenate and rest."
April 11, 2019: The singer takes a break from her stay at the wellness facility when she went to a Los Angeles-area salon for a root touch-up. An eyewitness tells E! News, "She seemed fine and content… [She] was definitely excited to her hair done." Britney later enjoys a relaxing day with her boyfriend Sam Asghari at the Beverly Hills Montage for a low-key Easter celebration.
April 16, 2019: The #FreeBritney movement kicks off officially, when the Britney's Gram hosts Tess Barker and Barbara Gray reveal a voicemail they allegedly received as "an anonymous tip from a credible source." This supposed tipster claims to be a paralegal who formerly worked with an attorney connected to the conservatorship. In the revealing voicemail, he alleges that Britney is essentially being controlled by Jamie.
"What is happening is disturbing, to say the least. Basically, Britney was in rehearsals for Domination. It came to Jamie's attention that Britney was not taking her medication as prescribed. She was missing a lot of doses and just full-on not taking them," the unidentified voice claims. "So they got her to the doctor and the doctor said, 'OK, if you don't want these medications, let's get you on a new one.' She refused to take the new one. Jamie said, 'Either you take this medication or the show's off, and I'm pulling my support and you can't do it.' Britney did not follow Jamie's instructions, so he was true to his word—he pulled the show, he verbatim said, 'Blame it on my illness.' He even claimed that Britney did not willingly enter the wellness facility."
April 16-17, 2019: Britney's mom, Lynne Spears, appears to weigh in on the drama when she began to like posts supporting the #FreeBritney movement. One such tweet reads: "I really hope you are supporting Britney in trying to end [her] conservatorship. I really hope your ailing ex husband isn't keeping your daughter somewhere against her will." These comments are in response to a particularly cryptic Instagram post depicting one of "God's warriors" on their knees.
April 22, 2019: As speculation continues to mount, fans gather in West Hollywood, Calif. to demand action from lawmakers regarding Britney's ongoing conservatorship.
April 23, 2019: Britney addresses the rumors surrounding her conservatorship in an enthusiastic Instagram video.
"I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There's rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said," the star says. "I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that's happening is just making it harder for me."
She adds that "fake emails" being created by Sam Lutfi are being circulated, but that she wants her fans to not "believe everything you read and hear."
Lutfi tweets, "Britney's Instagram post has accused me of fabricating e-mails of hers that have been circulating recently. I can unequivocally state that I never wrote nor had access to her e-mail. Her team's desperate attempt to deflect negative attention onto me (yet again) is a rather ineffective way to overshadow the FreeBritney movement. In addition to making certain people in her camp look bad, the e-mails in question show a woman capable of running her own life, a narrative they apparently want to hide."
April 25, 2019: A source confirms to E! News that the singer checked out of the treatment facility and is "very happy to be home." The source adds, "She's feeling more stable and a little bit better, but it's a work in progress."
As for her father, whose health is said to be a cause of Britney's stress, he is "doing better," which has helped to relieve some of the "anxiety surrounding that." Now that the star is home, the source says she is slowly easing back into her "old routine, working out and being with her kids." Her boyfriend Sam will help to make sure she doesn't "overdo" it.
"They are trying to keep her stress level as low as possible and to just have her relax and take small steps…Britney's feeling happier and healthier, but there's a ways to go," the insider shares.
May 6, 2019: According to court documents obtained by E! News, Britney's mom filed a request asking to be informed of all matters pertaining to the singer and her conservatorship. Sources close to Britney's conservatorship told The Blast that Lynne spoke with Jamie before filing her documents. The outlet reports that Lynne wants all the information as it officially comes in from the court. Britney's team has been supportive of Lynne being involved with the ongoing situation and at this time, she has not made a move to become an actual conservator.
May 7, 2019: "Lynne and Jamie Lynne flew out to LA to try and figure out what's really going on," a source tells E! News. "They are staying with Britney and trying to make heads or tails of the situation."
The insider adds that Lynne is "extremely upset to see Britney in the condition she is and [feels] that she can't help her" and the singer's mom "wants to know what's really going on so that she can sleep at night. The anxiety and worry is taking its toll. She wants to see Britney get better and to be healthy and happy and right now that's not happening."
May 8, 2019: Britney is granted a temporary restraining order against Lufti after he allegedly sent threatening and harassing texts to her family. He is ordered to stay 200 yards away from her, her parents and her sons Sean, 13, and Jayden, 12.
Her lawyers' court filing against Lufti alleges that "shortly after Ms. Spears checked herself into a mental health facility, Lutfi began a new campaign of harassment against Ms. Spears and her family" and had recently "made dozens of disparaging and threatening comments on social media and in interviews" and "sent threatening texts to Ms. Spears' family, he has leaked confidential information, and is considering leaking more of Ms. Spears' (actual and fabricated) private information."
May 10, 2019: Britney and her mom and dad, as well as her court-appointed lawyer, appear together at a Los Angeles court at her own request to speak to a judge who oversees her conservatorship. Britney's attorney wants the session to address issues with medical care, minor children and trade secrets. The judge later orders an expert evaluation of the Britney's situation.
While media was not allowed inside the courtroom during proceedings, photographers spot the singer leaving the courthouse without shoes on.
Meanwhile, her sister Jamie Lynn Spears fires back at a troll who commented on a support post she penned for Britney, accusing her of fearing "losing her allowance."
May 14, 2019: The judge orders a court investigator's report on Britney's conservatorship, due on the date of the next hearing, Sept. 18. The singer is not required to attend. Such investigators typically review personal records and conduct interviews with the people involved in a conservatorship case.
May 15, 2019: Britney's longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, talks to TMZ about the singer's condition and the cancellation of her Domination residency show in Las Vegas, saying it had to be pulled "because her meds stopped working and she was distraught over her dad's illness."
"Last summer, when she wanted to tour, she called me every day. She was excited. She hasn't called me in months. Crickets," he says. "She clearly doesn't want to perform now."
"I don't want her to work again 'till she's ready, physically, mentally and passionately," he adds. "If that time never comes again it will never come again. I have no desire or ability to make her work again. I am only here for her when she wants to work. And, if she ever does want to work again, I'm here to tell her if it's a good idea or a bad idea."
May 22, 2019: According to documents obtained by E! News, Britney's dad has requested to expand her conservatorship outside of California. Jamie intends for his legal control to be acknowledged in Florida, her home state of Louisiana and Hawaii, where she often vacations.
September 3, 2019: Spears and ex-husband Kevin Federline reach a new agreement regarding the custody of their sons. Federline is awarded 70 percent custody, while Spears receives 30 percent. Hours after news of the stipulation breaks, it's revealed that Federline has filed a police report against Britney's father over alleged physical altercation that took place between Jamie and his and Britney's eldest son, Sean. Additionally, Sean and Jayden are granted a restraining order against their grandfather.
Authorities ultimately decide against charging Jamie, citing "insufficient proof that a criminal offense was committed."
July 10, 2020: Britney addresses critics on her Instagram after she starts sharing more videos and pictures from her day-to-day life. She explains that she understands "how some might not like my posts or even understand them, but this is Me being happy." The mother of two continues, "This is Me being authentic and as real as it gets !!!!! I want to inspire people to do the same and just be themselves without pleasing others… That's the key to happiness."
September 9, 2019: Jamie is temporarily stepping down as Britney's conservator, according to documents obtained by E! News. Britney's care manager, Jodi Montgomery, is now approved to fill in for Jamie as conservator until January 31, 2020. As the temporary conservator, Jodi maintains all the same powers that were granted to Jamie.
July 23, 2020: Bryan Spears confirms Britney's desire to have the conservatorship lifted. He explains the perceived limitations her legal status imposes on her, explaining, "It's very frustrating to have. Whether someone's coming in peace to help or coming in with an attitude, having someone constantly tell you to do something has got to be frustrating."
On the same day of this interview, a routine virtual hearing is conducted regarding the conservatorship. Per the minutes, another hearing is scheduled for a later date to determine whether the conservatorship will be extended beyond August 22.
August 1, 2020: In an unprecedented interview with The New York Post, Jamie condemns the #FreeBritney movement as a "joke." He adds, "All these conspiracy theorists don't know anything. The world don't have a clue. It's up to the court of California to decide what's best for my daughter. It's no one else's business."
August 18, 2020: Instead of her father, a court filing obtained by E! News suggests Britney wants Jodi Montgomery to be named her permanent, sole conservator. "Britney is strongly opposed to having James return as conservator of her person. Rather, she strongly prefers to have Ms. Montgomery continue in that role as has done for nearly a year," the court documents state.
August 19, 2020: Jason Alexander, who was married to Britney for a very brief 55 hours in 2004, attends a #FreeBritney protest in Los Angeles. "I wanna see Britney get what she rightly deserves, and from personal conversations, she doesn't want to be under the conservatorship obviously and it's affecting her life still to this day in a negative way," he says in an interview. "And it's time for it to be over."
August 21, 2020: A Los Angeles judge rules that Britney's conservatorship is extended until February 2021.
August 31, 2020: Britney's legal team files new court documents, this time requesting that Bessemer Trust Company be appointed conservator of her estate. E! News confirmed through court documents that Britney's mom also nominated the company. Meanwhile, Jamie files a petition to appoint Andrew Wallet co-conservator of Britney's estate. Wallet previously served as co-conservator of the estate from January 2009 to March 2019.
September 3, 2020: Britney's attorney fights back against Jamie's request to seal the case, writing in a court filing, "Britney strongly believes it is consistent not only with her personal best interests but also with good public policy generally that the decision to appoint a new conservator of her estate be made in as open and transparent a manner as possible," the documents stated. "The sealing motion is supposedly being brought by her father to 'protect' Britney's interests, but she is adamantly opposed to it."
October 5, 2020: According to documents obtained by E! News, Jamie withdraws his petition requesting Wallet be appointed co-conservator of Britney's estate. That same day, Wallet breaks his silence in an interview with The Daily Mail, during which he states, "It is not in Britney's best interests to be outside the conservatorship but there's a lot of politics involved… Protecting her assets is very important and for that the conservatorship has to stay in place because she is susceptible to undue influences."
(This story was originally published on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 4:33 p.m. PST.)
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