If you’re on the internet, there's a good chance you have heard of the hashtag “Free Britney.” To understand what began the hashtag, it's important to mention that singer Britney Spears has lived under a conservatorship for 13 years.

The California Courts’ official website states that a conservatorship is a court case where a judge designates a person or organization to care for an adult who cannot take care of themselves or manage their own finances.

The conservatorship began in 2007 when Spears had a mental breakdown. Although she has never come out and said what caused this, people have come up with theories from a multitude of reasons including the public harassment she faced over the years, possible postpartum depression, etc. The situation was publicly documented and caused the media to harmfully target Britney. The Court of California decided to place Britney under the conservatorship with her father in charge. Years later, despite releasing numerous albums and showing immense signs of recovery, Spears was still under the control of her father. This had sparked outrage from fans who believed that Britney should be free to live her life without being under the control of someone else. In the fan-based outrage sparked the #FreeBritney movement, where people would protest and post on social media in an attempt to bring attention and awareness to what was happening. The goal of the movement was to ultimately have Britney freed from her conservatorship.

Spears Speaks Out

On June 23, 2021, Britney Spears finally opened up to the Court of California about abuse she was going through under the conservatorship. Spears revealed that for the past 13 years, she has had no autonomy over her life. She had been exploited and abused by her family and the people around her. She described an incident where she claimed to say no to doing a Vegas tour. After gaining the courage to say no, Spears's therapist later sat down and told her that he was receiving phone calls about her not cooperating in rehearsals. The following day, she was taken off her normal medications and put on lithium, a much stronger medication than what she was used to. In general, being medicated with lithium for longer than five months could lead to mental disparity.

“Not only did my family not do a goddamn thing, my dad was all for it," Spears said about her family's role in the conservatorship. "Anything that happened to me had to be approved by my dad.” 

Over the 2020 Christmas holiday, Spears had to do a psychological test. The process lasted four hours a day for two weeks. She later got a phone call from her father saying she failed her test and was being sent to a rehabilitation center in Beverly Hills to do a program that she had to pay $60,000 for.

“I cried on the phone for an hour and he loved every minute of it. The control he had over someone as powerful as me — he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%. He loved it,” Spears said. 

Living in California, Spears worked seven days a week with no time off. She was monitored 24 hours a day, everyday, without any say in what she could or could not do. If she defied these rules, she would not be allowed to see her kids or boyfriend. Spears compared her situation to sex trafficking, claiming that she had been forced to work against her own will while living under the same roof as the people who control her life.

Spears said that she has tried to lie to herself that she was okay, hoping maybe it will be enough to make her happy.

"I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized," Spears said.

Lastly, Spears stated that the reason she hadn't spoken up is out of shame. She was afraid the public would laugh and make fun of her or claim she is lying.

The Family

Spears has made it abundantly clear that her father, Jamie Spears, is the main culprit behind her treatment. He controlled every aspect of her life, going as far as forcing her to have an IUD to prevent her from getting pregnant.

Spears pleaded to the judge to remove her father from the conservatorship and let her have control over her life. Her only request was that the conservatorship be lifted without her being psychologically tested. She felt as though she had done enough to prove that she didn't need testing.

Spears also said that other members of her family are just as guilty, as they sit by and profit off her money while trying to sway the public's opinion on the situation, doing news interviews and telling lies.

"Considering my family has lived off my conservatorship for 13 years, I won’t be surprised if one of them has something to say going forward."

Spears said that her family should be in jail for what they have done to her. She expressed the desire to hold a press conference to detail all the things they put her through under the conservatorship. She wants her story to be shared with the world.

Jamie Finally Steps Down

Despite her pleas in court, Spears was denied to be freed from her conservatorship. However, Jamie Spears agreed to step down, according to the Court filing stating "when the time is right."

This is a very big step in Spears's long road to freedom. While she didn't get the results she wanted from the court, it did help in her battle for freedom. This helped rally the #FreeBritney movement to speak even louder for her freedom.

While the circumstances as to why Jamie stepped down are unknown, it is no secret that the #FreeBritney movement helped. They caused the public to pay attention to what was going on and spread the message.

Britney is finally free from her father, but we should always remember what she had to do to get there and how long it took.