I almost crossed paths with Britney Spears on my honeymoon.
My husband and I were hiking up the volcano on Nevis in the Caribbean, a hike that required a machete-wielding guide to break the path. As our guide happily slashed through the vegetation without cutting off any body parts, he regaled us with tales of all of the celebrities he had led up the volcano, including, the day before, Britney Spears.
Britney was an integral part of the soundtrack to my high school and college years, her music played at every high school dance and college mixer. (You Drive Me) Crazy still makes every one of my long training run playlists.
Like the rest of the world, I listened as Britney finally spoke up about her conservatorship last week.
Forced to work against her will. Drugged whenever she disobeyed. Not allowed to hire her own attorney. Not allowed to change clothes in private. Ordered to keep an IUD in place.
I’m actually not shocked by any of these claims. No, I don’t have the inside scoop on Britney’s day-to-day life. Only those in her inside circle know the truth.
These claims aren’t shocking because that’s exactly what a conservatorship is, a court giving someone total and absolute control over another person’s life. Every decision, major or minor. Permission to drive a car. Permission to make incidental purchases. Permission to even vote.
Conservatorship is the most drastic legal remedy in our system as it takes away a person’s ability to make any decisions for themselves.
The usual conservatee is someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or a developmentally disabled adult.
Not someone who is capable of releasing multiple chart-topping albums, going on tours, and performing a four-year concert residency in Las Vegas grossing $137 million.
Britney has done all of that and more during the 13 years her father has had complete control over her.
So why is she still under a conservatorship? She’s capable of making millions of dollars, but can’t be trusted to spend a minute fraction of her earnings? She can be trusted to be a judge on The X Factor, but not to vote in a local election?
I don’t know the answer to that question, though I do know conservatorships, especially one like Britney’s where there are many, many people (attorneys, caretakers, doctors, family members, etc.) earning salaries from the conservatorship, are difficult (if not impossible) to challenge and unwind.
I’ll continue to follow her case with interest and wish her the best.
What’s your take on the Britney Spears case? Leave a comment.
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