In an emotional plea on Wednesday, June 23, Britney Spears says she wants out of “abusive” 13-year conservatorship.(Image source: Eduardo Munoz via ABC)
By Rylee Cooper (@RyleeCooper5)
Britney Spears has broken her 13-year silence on Wednesday, telling a judge and court of journalists that her happy-go-lucky persona on Instagram is a lie.
During a 24-minute statement to Los Angeles probate judge Brenda Penny, the 39-year old says that the conservatorship placed on her in 2008 is “traumatising” and has impeded on many of her human rights.
“I have an [IUD] inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant,” Spears says. “I wanted to take the [IUD] out so I could start trying to have another baby.
“But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children – any more children.
“I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does, by having a child, a family.”
Similarly, Spears says that she was forced to take lithium, a drug usually used to treat bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia.
Spears says that she “felt drunk” while on the drug and unable to partake in everyday tasks.
“Lithium is very, very strong and completely different medication compared to what I was used too…I felt drunk. I really couldn’t even take up for myself. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mum or dad really about anything.”
Spears also says that, under the conservatorship, she is not able to make many of her own decisions, including visiting her kids or friends.
“I’m not able to see my friends that live eight minutes away from me,” she says.
“If I didn’t do any of my meetings and work from eight to six at night, which is 10 hours a day, seven days a week, no days off, I wouldn’t be able to see my kids or my boyfriend.”
Spears admitted that her recent posts on social media were a lie because she was “in denial” about how she was feeling.
“I’ve lied and told the whole world ‘I’m OK and I’m happy’. It’s a lie…I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Her confession solidified members of the #FreeBritney movement, who had long suspected the star wanted out of her conservatorship.
#FreeBritney advocate Adrian B says that the statement was “awful but validating”.
“It’s just very validating to know that something we thought was going on for so long was actually happening…and has now been confirmed for the rest of the world to hear.
“There’s a chance it could end now, which would be so great for her,” he says.
During her statement, Spears says she wants out of the conservatorship without having to go through an evaluation.
However, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at UniSA, Rick Sarre, says that she will have some difficulties doing this.
“You can’t lift a court-ordered one [conservatorship] without going through the processes of actually satisfying the court that you’re now in capacity to take your life back,” he says.
Spears says she has previously not been able to select her own attorneys or therapists, they were all selected by her father.
She pushed the point several times throughout her statement that she didn’t want to be evaluated.
However, Sarre says the court should issue her a psychiatrist to conduct an evaluation so that she can be freed from the conservatorship.
“If you want to get this lifted, you have to play by the rules,” he says.
Spears’ story of “abuse” and “trauma” has spread far beyond her own platform of 30.7 million followers on Instagram, adding to the rising number of celebrities who suffer with mental illness.
Doctor Fiona Gregory from Monash University says that Spears’ story adds to a “continuum of responses to female performers who’ve had experiences of mental illnesses.”
However, Dr Gregory says that Spears speaking out about her treatment is something that can fuel the better treatment of celebrities with these struggles in the future.
“What’s notable about the Britney Spears case is that it is a rare instance of a performer in these circumstances having the opportunity to speak,” she says.
“So often, what we can ‘see’ becomes the story, making access to the voice powerful and important, yet this is something women in her position have rarely been afforded.”