While many associate Britney Spears with the image of the schoolgirl with fluffy pigtails from her debut Hit Me Baby (One More Time) music video, that was a long time ago – 22 years to be exact…
The pop star turns 40 next year, yet in many respects she still appears to be treated like a child by those closest to her.
Under the strict constraints of the conservatorship which has been in place since 2008, Britney is not allowed to make any important life decisions without her appointed guardian – father Jamie Spears’ -permission. This covers anything to do with her career, how she spends her own money, being able to get married, have children and more.
Originally the court ruling was put in place following a string of very public breakdowns including Britney infamously shaving her head and photos showing her being taken away from her home in an ambulance for medical intervention. So at one time, a helping hand with her life could be seen as validated and even essential.
However, is it really still needed 12 years on?
Not according to her fans who have been the driving force behind the #FreeBritney movement. From online petitions to regularly trending hashtags and even in-person demonstrations; they believe that Britney is being controlled and manipulated.
Even celebrities like Cher and Paris Hilton have voiced concern over who exactly is looking out for the star’s best interests with many benefitting financially from her under the current agreement.
In America a conservatorship is reserved for people who are old, or suffering from serious mental health issues. Despite reportedly being admitted to a psychiatric hospital last year involuntarily for a week, Britney has by and large seemed to thrive over the past decade.
Professionally she has built up an estate estimated to be worth around £42.5 million, released several albums and toured extensively including her own Las Vegas residency.
Personally, she has found love with model boyfriend of four years, Sam Asghari, with whom she is said to want to start a family – conservatorship allowing.
So, at what point will Britney be deemed capable of choosing her own destiny?
Some are convinced that the singer has been attempting to do so by using Instagram to send secret messages asking for help calling her posts “off”.
Addressing the concern for his daughter’s welfare, Jamie Spears told Page Six: “All these conspiracy theorists don’t know anything. The world don’t have a clue.”
Publicly, Britney – as you would expect – has shot down any discontent, writing on social media: “You may not know this about me but I am strong, and stand up for what I want!”
However behind the scenes a different story looks to be playing out with her lawyers petitioning to have her dad removed as custodian, citing Britney is “strongly opposed to her father continuing as sole conservator of her estate.”
Despite calling the conservatorship a ‘voluntary’ arrangement, the filing called for the current terms to “be changed substantially in order to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and stated wishes.”
Another one of these wishes is a “desire not to perform at this time”.
Her requests are set to be reviewed by a judge next February.
Britney, like anyone, deserves happiness and a say in what that looks like for her. Here’s hoping that her appeal will bring the result that she wants along with an end to the unrelenting speculation and scrutiny.
Photo credit: Instagram/Britney Spears