On June 22nd, Britney Spears’s management team started getting nervous. Spears, who is thirty-nine, has spent the past thirteen years living under a conservatorship, a legal structure in which a person’s personal, economic, and legal decision-making power is ceded to others. Called a guardianship in most states, the arrangement is intended for people who cannot take care of themselves. Since the establishment of Spears’s conservatorship, she has released four albums, headlined a global tour that grossed a hundred and thirty-one million dollars, and performed for four years in a hit Las Vegas residency. Yet her conservators, who include her father, Jamie Spears, have controlled her spending, communications, and personal decisions.
In April, Spears had requested a hearing, in open court, to discuss the terms of the arrangement. It was scheduled for June 23rd. Members of Spears’s team, most of whom have had little or no direct contact with her for years, didn’t expect drastic changes to result. Two years earlier, in the midst of health struggles and pressure from Spears, Jamie had stepped down from his duties overseeing her personal life, and now the team thought that perhaps she wanted to remove him as the conservator of her financial affairs. Some of the team told reporters that they believed Spears liked the conservatorship arrangement, as long as her father wasn’t involved.