The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. 

Britney Spears says her father ‘should be in jail’ in court appearance: ‘I’m not here to be anyone’s slave’

‘I am not happy, I can’t sleep. I’m so angry, it’s insane. And I’m depressed,’ pop star tells court

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Thursday 24 June 2021 16:53 BST
Britney Spears says she has ‘no idea’ if she’ll perform again
Leer en Español

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Britney Spears has called for her father to “be in jail” during a rare court appearance to address her yearslong conservatorship case.

“My dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship, including my management … they should be in jail,” she said in a statement to Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny on Wednesday.

“I’ve told the world I’m happy and OK,” the 39-year-old singer continued during her statement. “I lied. I am not happy, I can’t sleep. I’m so angry, it’s insane. And I’m depressed.”

This was Spears’s first public statement regarding her conservatorship since several bombshell documentaries about her case were released to the public earlier this year – causing added scrutiny to the singer’s situation.

James “Jamie” Spears has been assigned as his daughter’s conservator since 2008, meaning he has control over her finances and affairs. This arrangement came about afterSpears experienced a public breakdown that year.

In an emotional statement for the court, Spears detailed her experience under the conservatorship and the alleged control her management and father held over her personal and professional life. This included them allegedly forcing her to perform live.

“Ma’am, I am not here to be anyone’s slave. I can say no to a dance move, Spears said when speaking to the judge.

“The last time I spoke to you (the judge) … it made me feel like I was dead,” she continued. “I am telling you again because I am not lying … so maybe you can understand the depth and the degree and the damages … I deserve changes.”

Spears was referring to the last time she appeared in front of the court regarding her conservatorship, which took place 10 May, 2019. At the time, the courtroom was sealed and none of what Ms Spears said was made public.

Amazon Music logo

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music

Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up
Amazon Music logo

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music

Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

In her statement, Spears went on to ask for an end to the “abusive” conservatorship, and she called for the judge to grant her control over her own personal and estate affairs.

“My family didn’t do a God d*mn thing,” she said. “Anything I had to do, [my dad] was the one who approved all of it. My whole family did nothing.”

She continued: “I’ve done more than enough. I don’t owe these people anything. It’s embarrassing and demoralising what I have been through. I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years.”

At the end of the singer’s statement, Judge Penny said: “I’m sensitive to everything you’ve said ... It takes a lot of courage.”

Last year, Spears’s lawyer Samuel D. Ingham III filed a petition to have her father removed as her conservator. But a report in The New York Times this week has revealed that the singer expressed as early as 2016 that the conservatorship was an “oppressive and controlling tool used against her”.

Her attorneys have previously said she lacked the capacity to testify publicly about the ostensibly voluntary conservatorship arrangement.

Her father responded to the claims, telling the court in a statement he was “sorry” to hear how she was suffering.

”He is sorry to see is daughter suffering and in so much pain,” the statement read. “Mr Spears loves his daughter very much.”

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in