And Now, All the Britney Spears Sources Speak

Illustration for article titled And Now, All the Britney Spears Sources Speak
Image: VALERIE MACON/AFP (Getty Images)

Since The New York Times/FX/Hulu documentary Framing Britney Spears premiered on Friday, the pop culture world has been abuzz with #FreeBritney conversation. How serious are the parameters of her conservatorship? Does Spears have any autonomy? Does she need saving, or is this the public once again projecting their beliefs onto her? It is clear that there are many villains in her story, and now, everyone wants to take the opportunity to say their piece.

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First up: Britney’s current boyfriend, Sam Asghari. He spoke to People
on Monday, offering the blanket statement: “I have always wanted nothing but the best for my better half, and will continue to support her following her dreams and creating the future she wants and deserves. I am thankful for all of the love and support she is receiving from her fans all over the world, and I am looking forward to a normal, amazing future together.”

Next, an Us Weekly “source” close to Jamie Spears, Britney’s father and co-conservator of her estate—who Britney has wanted removed from his position since the beginning of her conservatorship—said this: “Jamie wants to remain as her conservator because he has served in the role for the last 13 years. He doesn’t need the money and could be exploiting her for millions of dollars but he has never done that.” They added that Framing Britney Spears “conveniently omitted” specifics of the agreement, including that “Jamie’s expenses are submitted every year and reviewed by the court.”

“Every staple, pen, storage rental, is accounted for. The idea that he is living this grand lifestyle at the expense of Britney’s health is laughable,” they continued. “Jamie cannot comment and wouldn’t because of Britney’s health.”

“Laughable” isn’t the description I would use in a case this serious, but I suppose anonymity makes you brave. I’d also say this “source” conveniently omitted some information that was made clear in the doc: conservators are paid for their guardianship. According to The New York Times, Jamie Spears earns a $130,000 salary for the title, and is entitled to 1.5 percent of Britney’s gross revenue from her Las Vegas residency. So, yeah, he’s benefitting from his position.

And lastly, on Tuesday, a Page Six “source” close to Spears said, “As of Sunday, Britney hadn’t watched the documentary, but she’s aware of it. She had not seen any of it.” They continued, “She’s chosen not to watch it because she’s fed up with the conservatorship. She feels there is a hole missing in her life because of the conservatorship and that she won’t be able to live a normal life until that’s over. She knows it’s a battle for her whole life.”

If I were a tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracist, I’d point out the repetition of “normal life” in Asghari’s statement and the comments from the Page Six source. I am not, but I do agree with the sentiment. Spears shouldn’t be bound by an unlawful agreement that violates her most basic rights. And until something changes, the “sources” and “insiders” will continue to make their voices heard. I wish I could say the same for Spears.

URL: Senior Writer, Jezebel. IRL: Author of the very good book 'LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS,' out now.

DISCUSSION

I’m late to the rodeo but I do have a couple thoughts/questions. First, why was she put under a conservatorship? I mean she is not the first celebrity to have a full on public meltdown or behave erratically. (Kanye?) She is bipolar I gather but so are millions of other people in the world. Shouldn’t she have a choice NOT to take meds or to fuck up her financial and personal life if she so chooses? I mean ordinary people without celebrity status make these decisions all day every day. Did she self harm? Well, again this is not an atypical event when people suffer from mental illness. Should anyone who attempts suicide be put under an extreme guardianship? I guess I’m trying to figure out how bad it had to be for a 13 year, and what feels like, prison term for a grown woman. I mean, ok, maybe a couple years for her to sort herself out, which is great when your only focus would be healing and building proper relationships with your family. But 13 years of being told what you can and can’t do with your life seems pretty extreme. This isn’t 1919. Am I missing something here?