Britney Spears's father suspended from the 'Toxic' singer's conservatorship

Los Angeles judge plans November hearing on whether to permanently terminate the conservatorship

Jamie Spears and Britney Spears have been in a legal battle over the rights of the singer to control her own life and assets. AP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Britney Spears's father, Jamie Spears, on Wednesday was immediately suspended from controlling the famed performer's finances after 13 years as a conservator.

“The current situation is not tenable. It reflects a toxic environment which requires the suspension of Jamie Spears effective today,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny said during a court hearing.

The Spears case returned to court on Wednesday after a summer of surprise turns, shocking allegations, an engagement and mounting speculation that the legal arrangement controlling the singer's life would soon end.

"Mr Spears is ordered to turn over all the conservatorship assets," Ms Penny said.

Spears will be replaced with an accountant, John Zabel, on a temporary basis, Ms Penny announced.

The judge had not decided whether to terminate entirely the conservatorship that also controls the singer's personal life. A court hearing will be held in November to decide the future of the conservatorship.

Spears' lawyer Mathew Rosengart described her father as a "cruel, toxic and abusive man," CNN reported.

The performer did not take part in Wednesday's hearing but was represented by her attorney.

"Britney deserves to wake up tomorrow without her father as her conservator," Mr Rosengart said. "It is what my client wants; it is what my client needs; it is what my client deserves."

Spears's fiance Sam Asghari reacted to the ruling on Instagram, posting "FREE BRITNEY! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!" along with a photo of what appears to be him handing the singer a rose.

After years of controlling his daughter, the Circus singer's father, Mr Spears, made a sudden request for his conservatorship to end in early September.

A new documentary claiming that the singer's phone and bedroom had been bugged by her father may have fuelled this decision.

Mr Rosengart demanded that her father be suspended as the guardian of the singer's $60 million estate. And if things couldn't get any more dramatic, Spears, 39, got engaged to her long-term boyfriend.

He has insisted in court filings that Mr Spears be removed immediately as conservator and that a transition period is agreed upon so that the increasingly contentious conservatorship can be terminated before the year ends.

Mr Spears has controlled his daughter's business affairs since 2008 when he placed her under a conservatorship following an alleged mental breakdown. The court-approved conservatorship dictates her personal, medical and financial affairs, but the nature of her mental condition has never been revealed.

In court documents before Wednesday's hearing, Mr Rosengart said Mr Spears had “crossed unfathomable lines” by reportedly monitoring his daughter's calls, emails and texts, including messages to her previous lawyer, and having a listening device placed in her bedroom.

Supporters of singer Britney Spears during the #FreeBritney Rally in London. Getty Images

The claims were made in the New York Times documentary Controlling Britney Spears, which was released last week.

Spears appeared perplexed by the film.

“I must say I scratched my head a couple of times! I really try to dissociate myself from the drama!” she commented in an Instagram post on Monday. “Number one, that's the past! Number two, can the dialogue get any classier?”

Mr Spears has said his actions were within his authority as a conservator. He has rejected calls to step aside, saying an experienced hand is needed during a transition period from the conservatorship to a regular business manager.

The singer stepped up her efforts in June to break free of the conservatorship, telling the judge in her first public comments that she found the situation abusive and humiliating.

Public support for her has swelled and some restrictions placed on Spears have been loosened. She can now drive her own car and said she had bought her first iPad.

Two weeks ago, she announced her engagement to Sam Asghari, 27, her personal trainer boyfriend of more than four years. In the past, her father controlled who could be in the singer's life, going as far as to fire her cleaner after the two became close.

Updated: September 30, 2021, 12:30 AM