Judge dissolves Britney Spears guardianship

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Britney Spears
Britney Spears
Photo: Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic/Getty Images
  • A judge in Los Angeles on Friday ended the conservatorship set up by the 39-year-old singer's father in 2008 with immediate effect.
  • The conservatorship had power over her finances and career decisions plus major personal matters.
  • "I think I'm gonna cry for the rest of the day," she told her 35 million Instagram followers.

A Los Angeles judge Friday terminated the controversial guardianship that has controlled pop star Britney Spears' life for the past 13 years, handing back her freedom along with control of a multi-million-dollar estate.

The ruling, greeted with raucous cheers by Spears' fans outside the downtown courthouse, ends a conservatorship long overseen by her father, and which the "Toxic" singer has described as abusive.

"Effective today... the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated. And that is the order of the court," said Judge Brenda Penny.

The formal end to the guardianship comes after the pop princess's father Jamie Spears was removed from his position in charge of her finances and estate at a hearing in September.

Both sides reiterated their support for swiftly ending the guardianship at the start of Friday's brief hearing.

While denying he abused his position in control of his daughter's life and career, Jamie Spears recently acknowledged that Britney Spears "believes that she can handle her own life."

In dissolving the conservatorship, Judge Penny agreed to a caveat by which John Zabel - the accountant chosen by Spears' lawyers to replace her father -  is granted by the court additional powers to manage her estate on her behalf.

Spears' estate is estimated to be worth $60 million, according to US media.

The professional conservator Jodie Montgomery was declared no longer responsible for decisions concerning Spears' person, although her lawyer told the judge she would continue to "be there" for "anything Miss Spears needs."

- 'Trauma' -

Friday's hearing capped a years-long campaign by Spears and her legion of global fans to end a conservatorship that began after her highly public 2007 breakdown, when the star attacked a paparazzo's car at a gas station.

Judge Penny agreed with Spears' request for the arrangement to end without need for a mental evaluation - on the basis that "this was a voluntary conservatorship" and that "all parties agree."

"The court finds and determines that the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is no longer required," she ruled.

Spears had said through her lawyers that her father was "never fit to serve," citing in one petition allegations of his "reported alcoholism" and "trauma he caused his daughter since her childhood."

As momentum mounted, Spears said in a September filing that she wanted to end the guardianship as soon as possible so that she can marry her fiance Sam Asghari with a prenuptial agreement.

Spears, who has two children with her former husband, the rapper Kevin Federline, has previously alleged in court that she was prevented by her father from having a contraceptive IUD removed, despite wanting more children. Jamie Spears denied the allegation.

- 'Free Britney' -

Spears did not address the court Friday via telephone as she did earlier this summer, although her mother and father both dialled in.

Supporters organized a "Termination Rally" Friday, with a so-called "Freedom Party" to follow across town in West Hollywood.

Stoking excitement further, Asghari posted an Instagram video late Thursday with himself and Spears wearing matching "Free Britney" T-shirts.

"It's a human rights movement," reads the slogan on Spears' top, referring to the alleged abused of the conservatorship system.

"It sucks that it had to come to this point, that she has to be the face of all of this," said supporter Sandra Hernandez, 30, outside the courthouse.

"She is going to be the change on a grand scale - it happens every day behind closed doors, and nobody even knows."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24