Pop star Britney Spears is expected to speak before a judge at LA County probate court on Wednesday — for the first time in her 13-year conservatorship. She will likely appear via Zoom, but that won’t stop her fans from swarming the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown LA. Spears’ life has been controlled by her father and a cast of lawyers following a public mental health crisis in 2007 and 2008. On Wednesday, her followers hope to hear her side of the story.
“It's expected that Britney Spears will be requesting that her father, Jamie Spears, who's been directing her affairs for all of this time, be removed from the conservatorship,” says Rex Weiner, an investigative reporter and contributing writer for Los Angeles Magazine.
Spears is arguably the most famous among thousands of Californians in the custody of court-appointed guardians. A conservatorship is a legal arrangement where someone, typically due to a mental or physical infirmity, becomes a ward of the state. Their financial, personal, and medical lives are controlled by people appointed by the probate court.
“She's had some personal conflicts with her father. We don't know if he's the only problem in the situation,” says Weiner.
In 2019, Weiner helped break the story about the grassroots campaign to #FreeBritney, prompting a New York Times documentary released earlier this year called “Framing Britney Spears” and renewed conversation around the case.
“Her fans, many of whom got to know her when they were kids, are very passionate about their idol,” he says. “Most of these fans are now in their 30s. They have serious jobs, and they've been organized to demonstrate at the court to protest what they see is an unjust and perhaps illegal situation.”
Spears’ fans are waiting anxiously to hear her speak. She has not been interviewed in-person by a journalist in more than a decade, and many supporters doubt she has full control over her social media.
“We don't know what it is she wants,” says Weiner. “We won't know until tomorrow what she has to say about her situation.”
The hearing is scheduled for June 23 at 1:30 p.m. local time. A Remote Audio Attendance program is available to listen, and the hearing will become public record.