Britney Spears is set to address a Los Angeles judge on Wednesday amid her ongoing battle over the controversial conservatorship that has governed her life for 13 years.
The pop star, 39, is not expected to appear in court in person, but will talk to the judge by audio link. The last time Spears addressed a judge in the case was in May 2019, but the court was closed to the public and her testimony was sealed.
Spears has been subject to the conservatorship, or guardianship, since 2008 when she suffered a breakdown. Her father, Jamie, was appointed her conservator, but Spears last year began the legal process to remove him from the role.
Her father has been responsible for handling her personal affairs, ranging from her medical care to who visits her secluded villa outside Los Angeles. He is also a joint conservator of the singer’s finances, and oversees her estimated $60 million (£43.8 million) estate alongside private wealth management firm Bessemer Trust.
Spears’ lawyer previously told the court she was scared of her father and would not be returning to the stage while he remained in control of her life.
The singer rarely participates in the court proceedings, but her lawyer requested a hearing on an “expedited basis” this year, telling the judge that she wanted to speak out. It remains unclear what she intends to tell the court.
The hearing comes a day after the New York Times reported it had obtained confidential court documents that show Spears has been chafing against the restrictions since 2014.
The newspaper said that a court investigator wrote in a 2016 report: “She articulated she feels the conservatorship has become an oppressive and controlling tool against her”. The investigator added that Spears said the system had “too much control”.
The New York Times added that Spears told the court in 2019 that she had felt forced by the conservatorship into a stay at a mental health facility and to perform against her will.
A lawyer for Jamie Spears did not respond to a request for comment on the New York Times report.
His lawyers told reporters in February: “Jamie Spears has diligently and professionally carried out his duties as one of Britney’s conservators, and his love for his daughter and dedication to protecting her is clearly apparent to the court.”
The #FreeBritney fan movement is planning a rally on Wednesday near the courthouse to highlight its concerns over the conservatorship. Spears appeared to endorse the movement in a statement from her lawyers last year, which stated: “Britney welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her fans”.
Spears also indicated to her fans last week that she had no idea whether she will ever perform again. “I’m having fun right now, I’m in a transition in my life and I’m enjoying myself,” she said on Instagram.