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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Britney Spears Posts 22-Minute Account of ‘Abusive’ Conservatorship; Mother Lynne Responds

"They literally killed me. They threw me away. That's what I felt like: My family threw me away," Spears said in the now-private clip.

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Britney Spears at Park MGM on October 18, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Britney Spears at Park MGM on October 18, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo: Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic (Getty Images)

On Sunday evening, Britney Spears jolted the collective attention of the internet when she uploaded a 22-minute clip of herself talking about her conservatorship to YouTube. Think of it as a really rough draft of her forthcoming memoir, or a podcast with some production wrinkles that hadn’t quite been ironed out (her voice was frequently muffled as a result of what sounded like various microphone obstructions). It was a VMAs pre-show like no other.

Soon after it was uploaded, the video became private and thus unavailable for listening (a mere four minutes passed between the publication of TMZ’s story on the monologue and the update regarding its unavailability). However, we were able to grab it in full and can share its details.

Spears recounted that her conservatorship began when she was 25 years old. A consistent refrain throughout her retelling was, “None of it made sense to me.” She seems yet to make much sense of it, and so the exact mechanics of her situation remain unclear. Spears said, “I literally spoke a British accent to a doctor to prescribe my medication. And three days later, there was a SWAT team in my home, three helicopters.” She described being placed on a gurney and committed. “It was all basically set up. There was no drugs in my system, no alcohol, nothing,” she said. “It was pure abuse.”

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After being hospitalized “and completely traumatized out of my mind” for two weeks, Spears plunged back into work, filming an episode of How I Met Your Mother and recording her Circus album. “I was told I was fat every day I had to go to the gym... I’d never remember feeling so demoralized,” she said. “They made me feel like nothing. And I went along with it because I was scared. I was scared and fearful.” Her Vegas residency followed, and she said she knows those performances were “horrible.”

“I was just like a robot,” she said. “Honestly, I just, I didn’t give a fuck anymore. Because I couldn’t go where I wanted to go. I couldn’t have the nannies that I wanted to have, I couldn’t have cash. And it was just demoralizing.”

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She repeatedly emphasized her father’s control over both her life and career. The story she painted of her complete lack of autonomy and mobility reminded me a lot of Ronnie Spector’s memoir, Be My Baby, in which she described not being able to leave her home while under the control of her reclusive, abusive husband, Phil Spector. Spears recalled thinking, “How am I the one working here, doing all this, but I don’t get the side things…the good stuff? You know, I want to be able to play. I want to be able to have fun. Like, none of it made sense to me.”

She reported being sent back to a facility after refusing choreography for a new Vegas show that ended up being canceled. “I kind of stopped believing in God at that time,” she said.

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“When I was in that place that my heart felt like it was frozen, like it was stuck inside,” she described, “I wanted to scream and I wanted to get out. And I think by a needle and thread, it was the breathing peacefully inward that I missed the most. I felt like I was in a state of shock. Almost like when an old person feels helpless, and they’re literally going through some sort of shock treatment and they can’t relax their body.”

She credited the Free Britney movement with facilitating her eventual release. She also said that she is “more angry” at her mother Lynne Spears than her father, Jamie, for not speaking up. Sunday night, her mother seemingly responded to these comments with an Instagram post.

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The caption reads: “Britney, your whole life I have tried my best to support your dreams and wishes! And also, I have tried my best to help you out of hardships! I have never and will never turn my back on you! Your rejections to the countless times I have flown out and calls make me feel hopeless! I have tried everything. I love you so much, but this talk is for you and me only, eye to eye, in private. ❤️🙏”

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Spears claimed that she has offers “to do interviews with Oprah and so many people—lots of lots of money, but it’s insane. I don’t want any of it. For me, it’s beyond a sit-down proper interview.” Signing off, she said: “I’m sharing this because I want people to know I’m only human. I do feel victimized after these experiences. And how can I mend this if I don’t talk about it? I have an amazing song right now with one of the most brilliant men of our time and I’m so grateful but if you’re a weird introvert oddball like me, who feels alone a lot of the time and you needed to hear a story like this today so you don’t feel alone, know this: My life has been far from easy and you’re not alone.”


And now a word from Sydney Sweeney, who posted an Instagram of a “surprise hoedown” party for her mother on Saturday—but the photos also pictured a relative in a “Blue Lives Matter” shirt and other people in MAGA-styled “Make Sixty Great Again” hats:

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Yes, happy birthday Mom, indeed. Hope you loved the gift of public outrage.

This is not to excuse Sweeney or refute her critics, but it’s hardly surprising when a white person in America is in proximity to other white people with apparently racist ideologies. What is shocking, though, is that someone (Sweeney? her social media manager?) thought she could post this stuff and not have it blow up. That is wild.

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