For the first time since Britney Spears’ explosive testimony about the conservatorship that rules her life, her sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, is speaking out. NBC’s Erin McLaughlin reports for TODAY from Los Angeles.
On Monday, Jamie Lynn Spears made an emotional statement in support of sister Britney Spears. It came on the heels of the pop star’s own public comment at a conservatorship hearing last week.
“Hey everybody, I just want to take a second to address a few things,” the younger Spears said, in the first of a series of Stories published to her official Instagram account. “The only reason I haven’t before is because I felt like until my sister was able to speak for herself and say what she felt she needed to say publicly, that it wasn’t my place and it wasn’t the right thing to do. But now that she’s very clearly spoken and said what she needed to say, I feel like I can follow her lead and say what I feel I need to say.”
From Jamie Lynn Spears’ perspective, “it’s extremely clear” that she has “only loved, adored and supported” her sister, since the day she was born.
“I’m so proud of her for using her voice. I am so proud of her for requesting new counsel, like I told her to do many years ago,” Spears continued. “Oh, not on a big public platform, but just in a personal conversation between two sisters.”
The former Zoey 101 star appeared to be defending herself against internet critics, suspicious of her silence, on the subject of her sister’s conservatorship. Some on social media had leveled accusations at her, via tweets and TikTok videos, suggesting that she has aimed to benefit from the conservatorship, overseen by her father Jamie Spears.
She noted, in her social media statement, that she does not “owe the public anything”—including a statement of the kind she was making. “I have made a very conscious choice in my life to only participate in [Britney’s] life as her sister, as an aunt to [her] boys,” she said.
She also dismissed claims that she’s attempted to take advantage of her sister’s legal situation. “I mean, I’ve worked to pay my own frickin’ bills since I was 10 years old,” she said. “My sister knows I love and support her, and that’s the only person I owe anything to.
“Maybe I didn’t support her the way the public would like me to, with a hashtag on a public platform, but I can assure you that I’ve supported my sister long before there was a hashtag, and I’ll support her long after,” Spears continued. “I have nothing to gain or lose [from the conservatorship] either way. This situation does not affect me either way because I am only her sister who is only concerned about her happiness.
“I am not my family. I am my own person. I am speaking for myself. If ending the conservatorship and flying to Mars—or whatever the hell else—[is what] she wants to do to be happy, I support that 100 percent because I support my sister,” she said in summation. “I love my sister — always have, always will — as long as she’s happy.”
Jamie Lynn Spears’ comments come on the heels of Britney Spears’ latest court appearance on June 23, during which she advocated for the termination of her conservatorship.
“It is my wish and dream for all of this to end. I want my life back,” the elder Spears said via telephone, to a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive … I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated. I want to petition to end the conservatorship.”
Spears was first placed in a comprehensive conservatorship in 2008, following a series of public incidents and hospitalizations. Britney fans have long scrutinized the arrangement and called for her to be let out of it, using the hastag #FreeBritney.
Pop icon Britney Spears spoke out Wednesday against the conservatorship that she’s lived under for 13 years, telling a Los Angeles probate judge that she wants her life back.
In a 24-minute statement, Spears told the judge overseeing the conservatorship that she wants it to end “without having to be evaluated.” She called the arrangement “abusive” and said she’s been “traumatized” and “in denial” despite the upbeat messages that she’s posted on Instagram during the past year, according to Reuters.
“I just want my life back,” she said. “I’m not here to be anyone’s slave.”
After the statement, the court recessed, and the audio transmission was stopped, Reuters reported. Full transcripts have been published by several news outlets, including this lightly edited version by Variety.
Spears’ statement came as a shock after years of silence about the conservatorship. Public speculation about the arrangement has resurfaced during the past year due to the #FreeBritney movement on social media, news reports of leaked court documents, and a 2021 documentary that showed she may feel trapped.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Spears spoke by phone to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny about the court-approved arrangement that began in 2008 after she had a mental health breakdown. Penny said Spears would need to submit a petition to the court to ask for the conservatorship to be terminated.
Under the terms of the conservatorship, Spears would have to demonstrate that she can take responsibility for her personal and financial affairs, Reuters reported. During the hearing, Penny supported Spears for speaking out.
“I know it took a lot of courage for you to say everything you have to say today,” she said. “I want to let you know that the court does appreciate your coming on the line and sharing how you’re feeling.”
Spears, 39, said she wanted to get married again and have a baby but that she’s not allowed to go to the doctor to get a contraceptive device removed. She spoke up about her mental health and said doctors had put her on the drug lithium, which made her less able to function. Spears also said she was forced to perform in the past and is now required to attend numerous therapy sessions each week against her will.
“I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry, it’s insane,” she said. “And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Spears last spoke with the court in May 2019, but the hearing was closed to the public and her testimony was sealed. On Wednesday, Spears said she wanted people to hear her thoughts.
“I feel ganged-up on and I feel bullied and I feel left out and alone,” she said. “I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does, by having a child, a family, any of those things, and more so.”
Britney Spears’s father has asked the court overseeing his daughter’s conservatorship to investigate her statements to a judge last week on the court’s control of her medical treatment and personal life, which she called overly restrictive and abusive.
James Spears, who goes by Jamie, said in a pair of documents filed late on Tuesday night that he has had no power over his daughter’s personal affairs for nearly two years.
His filing said the court must investigate “serious allegations regarding forced labor, forced medical treatment and therapy, improper medical care, and limitations on personal rights”. His attorneys also said that his daughter should have the “right to give informed consent for her own medical treatment”.
“Given the nature of the allegations and claims, it is critical that the court confirm whether or not Ms Spears’ testimony was accurate in order to determine what corrective actions, if any, need to be taken,” the documents said.
The filings come a week after Britney Spears spoke for the first time in open court about the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money for 13 years. She condemned those with power over her, saying she had been forced to perform live shows, compelled to use an intrauterine device for birth control, made to take lithium and other medications against her will, and prevented from getting married or having another child.
“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive,” Spears said, adding that her father enjoyed the control over her.
“Ms Montgomery has been fully in charge of Ms Spears day-to-day personal care and medical treatment.” His lawyers wrote that he was not involved in discussions of his daughter’s “self-care, marriage and reproductive desires” and “is unable to hear and address his daughter’s concerns directly because he has been cut off from communicating with her”.
Montgomery, whose appointment Britney Spears’s lawyer has supported, is serving temporarily.