Popstar Britney Spears is expected to address the court today in the ongoing battle over her conservatorship with father James Spears.
The New York Times obtained confidential court records in which the singer expressed serious opposition to the conservatorship that gave her father control over her finances and personal life.
The 39-year-old singer's conservatorship has come under renewed scrutiny in recent months following the release of the New York Times documentary "Framing Britney Spears" and by the #FreeBritney movement.
Why is Britney Spears addressing the court in her conservatorship case?
In April, Britney Spears' attorney Samuel Ingham III said that the singer wants to address a Los Angeles court to hear her plea against the conservatorship. Judge Brenda Penny agreed to hear them on a June 23 date, reports Associated Press.
Today will mark the first time since May 10, 2019, that the singer will speak out in court. Last time, the courtroom was sealed and none of what she said became public.
It is not a given that the judge will make a decision at the hearing Wednesday regarding Britney Spears' desire to remove her father from his conservator role.
The judge's decision may depend on input from medical and mental health professionals assigned to assess the singer. Such assessments are not made public, therefore it's not clear whether or when those assessments have been made. Under Californian law, the person who is under conservatorship has to be regularly assessed by a doctor, reports USA Today.
New York Times confidential court recordings
According to the New York Times article, Britney Spears has repeatedly objected to her father's authority in courts for years.
The documents were revealed one day before the singer was due to publicly address the court in a hearing about the conservatorship, a significant moment in a years-long battle in which she has almost never directly commented.
"She articulated she feels the conservatorship has become an oppressive and controlling tool against her," a court investigator wrote in a 2016 report. The system had "too much control," Ms. Spears said, according to the investigator's account of the conversation. "Too, too much!"
Ms. Spears informed the investigator that she wanted the conservatorship to end as soon as possible. "She is 'sick of being taken advantage of' and she said she is the one working and earning her money but everyone around her is on her payroll," the investigator wrote.
In 2019, the singer told the judge that the conservatorship had forced her to stay at a mental health facility and to perform against her will, according to the paper.
While she was earning millions from her Las Vegas residency, the singer was also only given a $2,000 weekly allowance, the records further revealed.
The newly obtained court records show that Spears questions his ability to take on such a role. As early as 2014, in a hearing closed to the public, Spears's court-appointed lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham III, said she wanted to explore removing her father as conservator, citing his drinking, among other objections on a "shopping list" of grievances.
Last year, Mr. Ingham told the judge that Spears was "afraid of her father."
On Wednesday, Britney Spears is scheduled to address the Los Angeles court directly — a rare move she requested on an expedited basis. It is unclear whether her remarks will be made in public, but her relationship with her father is expected to be a central topic.
Britney Spears and her father share a complicated relationship according to the court records and interviews with many people who know the family.
Their relationship turned for worse when James Spears- a recovering alcoholic who has faced accusations of physical and verbal abuse was given the sole power to control her asset.
Ms. Spears said her father was "obsessed" with her and wanted to control everything about her, according to the investigator's report. She could not make friends without his approval.