Britney Spears’s father has won a court fight for control of the pop star’s affairs, following a hearing Thursday that determined the conservatorship could be lifted, according to a Los Angeles Superior Court spokeswoman.
In a news release, the singer’s family, which has been involved in the conservatorship since 2008, said it was “incredibly gratified” with the judge’s decision, which also allows Spears’s father, Jamie Spears, to continue to oversee her affairs.
“This will allow Ms. Spears to enjoy the safety and security of an estate in which her father can safely and responsibly supervise,” according to the family statement.
Jamie Spears will continue as Britney Spears’s conservator to protect the singer and her family’s assets.
“He will continue to faithfully serve as the executor and guardian in hopes of protecting his daughter and their family’s well-being,” the statement continued.
Under a conservatorship, a person’s finances and personal affairs are overseen by a court-appointed person, typically a parent or relative.
Britney Spears, 35, was a child star whose hits included “Baby One More Time” and “Womanizer,” and became a more prominent star as a teen. In the late 2000s, she garnered renewed attention for a series of headline-grabbing events that included a 2007 meltdown and public rehab stay. In the end, after spending time in and out of rehab and behind bars for traffic violations, she was eventually committed into a long-term mental health care facility and signed over control of her affairs to her father in January 2008.
Spears’s conservatorship has its roots in a much-publicized legal battle over whether the pop star was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when she almost killed herself with a head-on collision in 2007. An ex-neighbor of Spears’s, Sam Lutfi, had sued her in January 2007, claiming that the singer, in effect, had been placed under his control. The neighbor said Lutfi convinced Spears to end her long-term relationship with Jason Alexander and came between her and her father, threatening to expose her relationship with the producer.
Jamie Spears was subpoenaed to testify in the case, but opted to agree to be placed in conservatorship, an arrangement that was made permanent in January 2008.
At the time, Britney Spears attorney Andrew Wallet told The Washington Post that conservatorship was being put in place for Britney Spears’s benefit and “to help her so that she can regain her health and life back.”
Britney Spears married Kevin Federline in 2004, and their marriage lasted only three years. On June 15, 2007, the pop star and Lutfi got into a heated argument in which Britney Spears choked and slammed her head against a wall. Under her father’s leadership, Britney Spears’s mental health plummeted, and the singer voluntarily checked herself into an Arizona psychiatric hospital on Jan. 3, 2008. That same day, she crashed her car into a tree in the driveway of her parents’ home.
By January 2008, Spears had been hospitalized three more times, in Arizona, Connecticut and California. She was released from the Cirque Lodge clinic on Dec. 3, and the following month, her father placed her under a conservatorship.
Spears, who has never disclosed her motive for the conservatorship, has admitted to mental health issues in the past. In an interview with Barbara Walters in 2008, she said “everything happens for a reason.”
Her father said in court documents that Britney Spears suffers from bipolar disorder, chronic sleep deprivation, alcohol abuse and related physical and psychiatric health issues.