Britney Spears conservatorship formally ends after 13 years

The pop star's father led the guardianship that controlled her life and money

In a highly anticipated move, a Los Angeles judge on Friday moved to formally end the guardianship that has controlled pop star Britney Spears's life for the past 13 years.

The ruling, greeted with raucous cheers by Spears's fans outside the courthouse, brings an end to a conservatorship long overseen by her father, and which the Toxic singer has described as "abusive".

"Effective today ... the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated. And that is the order of the court," said Judge Brenda Penny.

The hashtag #FreeBritney was trending on Twitter throughout the day before #FreedBritney began to be used by many.

Spears herself posted an Instagram with the #FreedBritney hashtag shortly after the court decision.

"Good God, I love my fans so much it's crazy," she said.

"I think I'm gonna cry the rest of the day! Best day ever ... praise the Lord ... can I get an 'amen'?"

Fiance Sam Asghari posted another text-only Instagram post that read "FREEDOM" in white text over a pink background, with a caption that read: "History was made today. Britney is Free!"

Both sides in the court reiterated their support for swiftly ending the guardianship at the start of Friday's brief hearing.

While denying he abused his position controlling his daughter's life and career, Jamie Spears has recently acknowledged that his daughter "believes that she can handle her own life".

In dissolving the conservatorship, Judge Penny agreed to a caveat by which John Zabel — the accountant chosen by Spears's lawyers to replace her father — is granted by the court additional powers to manage her estate on her behalf.

The professional conservator Jodie Montgomery was declared no longer responsible for decisions concerning Spears's person, although her lawyer told the judge she would continue to "be there" for "anything Miss Spears needs".

Spears did not address the court Friday via telephone as she did this summer, although her mother and father both dialled in.

Earlier on Friday, the performer was seen wearing a "Free Britney" shirt hours before the court hearing in an Instagram post by Mr Asghari.

"This week is gonna be very interesting for me! I haven't prayed for something more in my life," Spears wrote in a now-deleted Instagram caption on another post this week.

The singer last month successfully had her father removed from the conservatorship that controlled her life and money and a temporary replacement of her choosing was appointed.

Another hearing is scheduled for December to settle outstanding financial issues, including legal fees.

'Free Britney'

Friday's hearing caps a years-long campaign by Spears and her legion of global fans to end a conservatorship that began after her highly public 2007 breakdown, when the shaven-headed star attacked a paparazzo's car at a gas station.

Now 39, Britney has said through her lawyers that her father was "never fit to serve", citing in one petition allegations of his "reported alcoholism" and "trauma he caused his daughter since her childhood".

As momentum has mounted, Spears said in a September filing that she wanted to end the guardianship as soon as possible so that she can marry her fiance, Mr Asghari, with a prenuptial agreement.

Spears has two children with former husband rapper Kevin Federline and had a brief Las Vegas marriage to childhood friend Jason Alexander that was annulled after only 55 hours.

She has previously alleged in court that she had been prevented by her father from having a contraceptive IUD removed, despite wanting more children. Her father denied the allegation.

He was removed from the guardianship with immediate effect at last month's hearing, with Mr Zabel installed to care for her finances.

A raucous army of fans bearing "Free Britney" signs have been a regular fixture outside the Los Angeles courthouse during hearings.

Supporters organised a "Termination Rally" Friday, with a so-called "Freedom Party" to follow across town in West Hollywood.

Updated: November 14th 2021, 7:21 AM
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