Thursday’s court filing by Jamie Spears, 69, means that he is ready to relinquish control, and marks a huge victory for the singer as she battles to end a 13-year conservatorship – even though he did not immediately resign.
Britney’s mother Lynne on Thursday night told of her relief, stating through her lawyer that she was ‘pleased Jamie has agreed to step down.’
The lawyer added: ‘Lynne entered into this conservatorship to protect her daughter almost three years ago. She has accomplished what she set out to do.’
Britney Spears was seen on Thursday driving her car near her home in Los Angeles, hours after her father stepped down as her conservator
Britney, 39, has been fighting for over a year to remove her father as conservator. She’s seen on Thursday going for a drive alone
Britney did not seem to be accompanied by her frequent passengers, boyfriend Sam Asghari and a bodyguard, as she went for a drive in Los Angeles
Pointed: Britney Spears made a pointed remark about ‘letting go’ and ‘freedom’ on Thursday as it emerged her father Jamie would be stepping down as her conservator
Letting go: In the video, Britney mashed together various clips of her spinning around and showing off her moves in a variety of colourful crop tops
The Spears family have been torn apart by fights over the pop singer’s career and fortune – with the family resentment exploding this summer when Britney addressed a court and pleaded to end the arrangement, claiming that she had been taken advantage of by her entire family.
Jamie Spears has been paying himself $16,000 a month since 2008 to manage his daughter’s multimillion dollar fortune.
On Thursday he announced that he would stepping down, as his daughter has long demanded, provided Judge Brenda Penny asked him to and there was a plan in place for Britney’s care.
Jamie Spears, pictured with Britney in 2015, on Thursday resigned as her conservator. He said that he was stepping down because he did not feel the continued public battle was in her best interests
Britney’s parents Jamie and Lynne are seen in November 2012. They had divorced in 2002
In a parting shot, Jamie’s lawyers attacked his ex-wife Lynne – Britney’s mother – at length in the filing.
Lynne had accused Jamie last month of keeping ‘microscopic control’ over their daughter, and said Britney was ‘living in custody’.
Jamie said that Lynne did not know what was going on; said she had not been involved in their daughter’s life in 12 years; and pointed out that Britney was paying over $150,000 a year for Lynne’s Louisiana mansion.
He also revealed that Britney’s medical costs amounted to more than $10,000 a month, and said Lynne was ignorant of the extent of their daughter’s troubles.
His lawyers write that Jamie will assist with ‘an orderly transition to a new conservator,’ but said that he will not step down immediately.
Britney’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, said it was ‘a vindication for Britney’.
‘We are pleased that Mr. Spears and his lawyer have today conceded in a filing that he must be removed,’ he said. ‘It is vindication for Britney.’
In the court documents, obtained by TMZ, his lawyers write: ‘There are, in fact, no actual grounds for suspending or removing Mr. Spears as the Conservator of the Estate … and it is highly debatable whether a change in conservator at this time would be in Ms. Spears’ best interests.
‘Nevertheless, even as Mr. Spears is the unremitting target of unjustified attacks, he does not believe that a public battle with his daughter over his continuing service as her conservator would be in her best interests.’
Jamie, 69, is pictured in 2008 leaving Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse – when her conservatorship was introduced. After 13 years, it now finally seems to be coming to an end
Britney Spears is seen with her brother Bryan and her father Jamie in February 2016. She posted the image to Instagram with the caption: ‘The fam!’
Jamie, who has always insisted he was acting in the best interests of his superstar daughter, said that he will work with the legal teams to bring the complex case to an end.
‘So, even though he must contest this unjustified Petition for his removal, Mr. Spears intends to work with the Court and his daughter’s new attorney to prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator,’ his lawyers wrote.
Jamie, who is not believed to have spoken to his daughter since before Christmas, said that he will continue to look out for his daughter’s best interests.
‘Regardless of his formal title, Mr. Spears will always be Ms. Spears’ father, he will always love her unconditionally, and he will always look out for her best interests,’ the lawyers said.
‘If the public knew all the facts of Ms. Spears’ personal life, not only her highs but also her lows, all of the addiction and mental health issues that she has struggled with, and all of the challenges of the Conservatorship, they would praise Mr. Spears for the job he has done, not vilify him.’
He said that the arrangement ‘has worked as intended’ and it was not surprising that Britney had felt ‘constrained’.
The lawyers wrote: ‘The Conservatorship has provided Ms. Spears with a structure to help her navigate the daily challenges of her personal life, family matters, medical issues, and career.
‘By nature, the structure includes safeguards to protect the Conservatee from self-harm or harm from others.
‘It is not surprising that Ms. Spears has often felt constrained or subject to excessive supervision.
‘But, at least for the greater part of the past thirteen years, the Conservatorship has worked as intended.’
Britney is pictured on stage in London in August 2018, during the Piece of Me tour
The court filings come as Britney’s former bodyguard claimed she is living ‘like an inmate in a golden prison’ as the singer has her phone calls monitored and is not allowed out unsupervised
Jamie then attacked his ex-wife Lynne, who he divorced in 2002 after 30 years of marriage.
Jamie claims that Lynne has had scant involvement in Britney’s life, and pointed out that Britney refused to even see Lynne when she was at a mental health facility in 2019.
He said that Britney pays in excess of $150,000 a year for Lynne’s Louisiana mansion, despite having been largely absent for the past 12 years.
‘Unfortunately, it appears that Lynne has not accepted the full extent to which Ms. Spears has had addiction and mental health issues or the level of care and treatment she needs,’ Jamie’s team wrote.
Jamie said in the court documents that he stepped in at a dire moment, when she was ‘in crisis, desperately in need of help’ 13 years ago.
His lawyers wrote: ‘Not only was she suffering mentally and emotionally, she was also being manipulated by predators and in financial distress.
‘Mr. Spears came to his daughter’s rescue to protect her.’
He says he has never forced her to do anything, including performing.
‘Mr. Spears has not coerced Ms. Spears to do anything. By her own admission, Ms. Spears is strong and stands up for what she wants,’ the lawyers stated.
‘Mr. Spears has tried to do everything in his power to accommodate Ms. Spears’ wishes, whether regarding her personal life, family, or career, while fulfilling his duties and obligations as Conservator, protecting her from others seeking to take advantage of her, and ultimately, looking out for Ms. Spears’ bests interests.
‘Sometimes, that has meant telling Ms. Spears that, as an adult, she must follow through on agreements or promises she makes – whether it involves her medical care, career, or personal life.
‘This is not coercion – it is the type of good advice that a conservator, or a father, must give.’
Britney’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, who was appointed in July – replacing a court-appointed attorney – told TMZ: ‘We are pleased but not necessarily surprised that Mr. Spears and his lawyer finally recognize that he must be removed.
Mathew Rosengart, Britney Spears’s lawyer, was appointed on July 14 to represent her – replacing the court-appointed Sam Ingham
‘We are disappointed, however, by their ongoing shameful and reprehensible attacks on Ms. Spears and others.
‘We look forward to continuing our vigorous investigation into the conduct of Mr. Spears, and others, over the past 13 years, while he reaped millions of dollars from his daughter’s estate, and I look forward to taking Mr. Spears’s sworn deposition in the near future.
‘In the interim, rather than making false accusations and taking cheap shots at his own daughter, Mr. Spears should step aside immediately.’
What is a conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a legal concept whereby a probate court appoints a person to manage an incapacitated person or minor’s financial and personal affairs.
It is often a relative. The terminology and details vary state-by-state, but the general principals are all similar.
The conservator’s duties include overseeing finances, medical care and living arrangements.
In Britney’s case, the conservators also oversee visitation arrangements with her two teenage sons, who are under the full custody of her ex-husband, Kevin Federline. It is most frequently used for someone who is severely mentally incapacitated, or suffering from dementia.
Yet in the 13 years of Britney’s conservatorship, she has released four albums – two of them going platinum; appeared as a judge on both The X Factor and American Idol; and had a four-year residency in Las Vegas that reportedly grossed close to $138 million.
The specific details of Britney’s case have not been revealed. Unless a judge says otherwise, they still retain rights to make certain decisions, according to the California handbook.
They can control salaries they earn, spend an allowance, retain legal representation, vote in elections, get married, draft their own wills, make medical decisions for themselves and ask a judge to terminate conservatorships or replace their guardians.
‘All conservatees have the right to be treated with understanding and respect and to have their wishes considered. They have all basic human rights, as well, and the right to be well cared for by you,’ the California handbook says.
Britney says that she has not had these rights. It is unclear whether this is a violation of her case, or as agreed.
There are two types of conservators: a conservator of the person, who looks after meals, housekeeping, transport, housing and recreation, and a conservator of the estate who manages finances and protects assets. Sometimes one person can play both roles.
The conservator of the estate must file periodic activities reports by the first year after their appointment and every two years following, until the relationship is terminated.
The estate managers have to disclose asset values, gains and losses, and show receipts for all expenditures of conservatorship funds. They are also prohibited from borrowing money from the conservatee or lending out their cash. Many countries have similar systems.
In the U.K. it is called a deputyship. In Britain, however, the court will appoint an independent conservator, rather than a family member.
Less than a week ago, Jamie was arguing in court that he should not step aside.
On August 6 he claimed in a court filing that Britney is struggling so much with her mental health that court-appointed professional Jodi Montgomery, who overseas the pop star’s life decisions, recommended hospitalizing her on emergency psychiatric hold.
In court documents, Spears said Montgomery had called him, distraught, last month and sought his help with his daughter’s mental health struggles.
He claimed that Montgomery had explained that Britney was not taking her medications properly and refused to see some of her doctors and that she was ‘spiraling out of control’.
But Montgomery and her lawyer said in response that Jamie ‘misrepresented and manipulated’ the call to use it to his own advantage’.
Jamie stepped aside from the part of the conservatorship that controls his daughter’s life decisions in 2019, with Montgomery taking over, though her official status remains temporary.
Jamie said on August 6 that the call for his urgent removal was ‘ironic’, considering the call he received from Montgomery on July 9.
‘Ms. Montgomery sounded very distraught and expressed how concerned she was about my daughters’ recent behavior and overall mental health,’ Jamie said in a personal declaration included with his court filing.
‘Ms. Montgomery explained that my daughter was not timely or properly taking her medications, was not listening to the recommendations of her medical team, and refused to even see some of her doctors.
‘Ms. Montgomery said she was very worried about the direction my daughter was heading in and directly asked for my help to address these issues.’
Jamie said they discussed the possibility of hospitalizing Britney on an emergency psychiatric hold.
Montgomery acknowledged, in a statement through her attorney Lauriann Wright, having concerns about Britney Spears’ behavior and mental health, but said Jamie Spears’ stepping down would only help.
The statement said ‘having her father Jamie Spears continuing to serve as her Conservator instead of a neutral professional fiduciary is having a serious impact on Ms. Spears’ mental health.’
At no time during the phone call did Montgomery suggest Britney Spears qualifies for a psychiatric hold, the statement said.
The fighting between those involved in the conservatorship has grown increasingly heated, and increasingly public, since Britney’s dramatic testimony at a hearing on June 23, when she told a judge ‘ I just want my life back.’
She told the court that she was forced to have an IUD implanted against her wishes, and that she wanted to marry her boyfriend, Iranian actor and personal trainer Sam Asghari, and have more children – but was prevented from doing so.
She said she was forced to perform against her wishes, and denied even basic freedoms.
In July, Britney told a court in LA that she wants her father charged with conservatorship abuse.
Speaking on the phone, an emotional Britney said: ‘I would like to charge my father with conservatorship abuse. I want to press charges against my father today. I want an investigation into my dad.’
She described once again the torment of her conservatorship, in a repeat of her explosive June 23 testimony.
Britney claimed her father and others involved in the conservatorship had threatened her, and added: ‘There should be no threats to me at all, ever. I have serious abandonment issues.’
She said that her car keys, hair vitamins and coffee had been taken from her.
She tearfully told Judge Brenda Penny, according to Sky News: ‘Ma’am, that’s not abuse, that’s just f****** cruelty. Excuse my language but it’s the truth.’
Britney then told the court: ‘I thought they were trying to kill me. If this is not abuse, I don’t know what is.’
The court filings come as Britney’s former bodyguard claimed she is living ‘like an inmate in a golden prison’ as the singer has her phone calls monitored and is not allowed out unsupervised.
TIMELINE OF BRITNEY’S COMPLEX CONSERVATORSHIP AND HOW IT BEGAN
Britney with her father, brother and mother in 2006. Her parents separated
2002: Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears divorce.
Britney breaks up with Justin Timberlake around the same time.
2004: Britney marries Kevin Federline.
2007: Britney, struggling through a custody battle and split with Kevin, shaves her head and attacks a paparazzo’s car.
2008: Jamie Spears files for conservatorship of Britney, claiming she is not legally well enough to make her own decisions.
Britney in 2008 for a custody hearing as part of her split with Kevin Federline. Jamie Spears in court in 2008 getting the conservatorship
2009-2019: QUIET CONSERVATORSHIP YEARS
The conservatorship – which had been temporary – is extended every year.
In court papers, Jamie’s attorneys describe how she is making more money
JANUARY 2019: THE ARRANGEMENT STARTS TO CRUMBLE
Britney in 2019, in the grips of the conservatorship, in Las Vegas at her residency
Britney announces an ‘indefinite’ work hiatus and cancels her lucrative Las Vegas residency.
Jamie files paperwork asking for the conservatorship to be extended beyond California, to apply in Hawaii, Louisiana and Florida as well
He steps down as her primary conservator after allegations he abused one of her sons but is still listed as one of those in charge
EARLY 2020: Britney, Jamie and Jamie-Lynne are in Louisiana together for two weeks.
The #FreeBritney movement is picking up.
His attorneys claim everyone is happy together and enjoying spending time together in quarantine.
NOVEMBER 2020: Britney’s attorneys claim in papers that she’s afraid of her father and they ask for Bessemer Trust to be put in charge.
Her fans start speculating over her cryptic Instagram posts and videos that she wants a way out.
DECEMBER 2020: The conservatorship is extended until September 2021.
FEBRUARY 5, 2021: Framing Britney Spears debuts on Hulu.
The conservatorship that Britney was put under is ordinarily used in situations where older, perhaps senile people, can no longer look after their own affairs.
Fans are concerned for her well-being and have demanded that she be released from the control of her father, Jamie
It gives control over to an appointed conservator for the best interest of the recipient but in most cases, the recipient is not healthy enough to make their own money, unlike Britney who makes millions. Under the rules of the probate conservatorship, Jamie now has equal control over her estate to a third party and an attorney, Andrew Wallet.
Wallet derives a salary of $426,000 a year from Britney’s estate.
He, Jamie and the third party who was brought on recently can make deals on her behalf and restrict her visitors.
JUNE 23, 2021 – BRITNEY SPEAKS OUT IN COURT
Britney and her boyfriend Sam Asghari
In emotional testimony, Britney told the court that she had suffered psychologically for years as a result of the conservatorship which she said was so restrictive, she wasn’t allowed to remove her IUD birth control.
JUNE 30, 2021 – JUDGE DENIES BRITNEY’S REQUEST TO REMOVE JAMIE
Judge Brenda Penny, responding to Britney’s November 2020 request, refuses to remove Jamie from the agreement.
She doesn’t say why but she does invite her attorney to file paperwork to end it, which he doesn’t.
JULY 1, 2021 – BESSEMER TRUST RESIGNS AFTER BEING PUT IN CHARGE WITH JAMIE
A day after the judge’s ruling, Bessemer Trust, which had been brought on, resigned, saying they were never aware that Britney wanted to end the conservatorship.
In a court filing, the company’s attorneys said: ‘We heard her and respect her wishes.’
JULY 5, 2021 – BRITNEY’S LONG-TIME MANAGER RESIGNS
Larry Rudolph wrote a letter to Jamie and the conservatorship to say he was no longer needed since Britney wanted to retire.
He said he hadn’t spoken to her for two years but had been told by others that she wanted to step down.
JULY 6, 2021 – BRITNEY’S ATTORNEY STEPS DOWN
Sam Ingham, the attorney appointed to represent Britney in 2008, steps down after failing to file paperwork to terminate the conservatorship, despite her pleas.
JULY 14, 2021 -BRITNEY WINS RIGHT TO CHOOSE HER OWN LAWYER
A Los Angeles court granted Britney the right to choose a lawyer to help her end her conservatorship, after she told a judge the current situation was ‘allowing my dad to ruin my life’. She has chosen former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart as her new attorney.
JULY 23, 2021 – BRITNEY FLASHES HER BOOBS ON INSTAGRAM
Singer’s semi-nude post was hailed by fans including Paris Hilton as evidence of her determination to become a ‘free woman’.
JULY 27, 2021 – LYNNE SPEARS AGREES TO TESTIFY IN SUPPORT OF HER DAUGHTER
The singer’s mother’s attack on Jamie Spears gives her a powerful new ally in her bid to be freed.
AUGUST 12, 2021 – JAMIE SPEARS AGREES TO STEP DOWN AS CONSERVATOR
Jamie’s lawyers filed court documents saying that he will step down, and provide an orderly transition to another conservator.
He said that he was doing so because he felt a public argument with his daughter was not in her best interests.
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 – BRITNEY DUE BACK IN COURT
Oops – I did did it! Britney in the driving seat after her dad agrees to step down as conservator