Britney Spears’ father’s attorney spoke out on Thursday to deny claims he is controlling her against her will and said he actually ‘saved’ her life and finances after watching her be exploited by others.
For the last eight years, Britney, 39,has been under the legal conservatorship of her father Jamie. He controls her business decisions and her personal decisions.
In recent court documents, she claimed through her attorneys that she was afraid of him and wanted a court-appointed professional to take over from him. He is fighting it, saying he should stay on because he loves her and wants to protect her.
The legal fight along with Britney’s cryptic social media posts and lack of public appearances have triggered a fan movement called #FreeBritney that was bolstered by Framing Britney Spears, a recent New York Times documentary about the singer.
After months of silence, Jamie Spears finally hit back at the claims against him through his lawyer on Thursday morning.
The attorney Vivian Thoreen appeared on Good Morning America to dispel the allegations and to insist that in the past year, Britney has never asked Jamie directly to step down – even though she has in court documents.
For the last eight years, Britney, 39,has been under the legal conservatorship of her father Jamie. He controls her business decisions and her personal decisions
Jamie’s attorney, Vivian Thoreen, appeared on Good Morning America on Thursday to deny allegations he is abusing the conservatorship
‘I understand that every story needs a villain but people have it so wrong here. This is a story about a fiercely loving dedicated and loyal father who rescued his daughter from a life threatening situation.
‘People were harming her and exploiting her. Jamie saved Britney’s life,’ she said.
She claimed that when Jamie took control of his daughter’s finances, she had just $2.8million in the bank despite having earned tens of millions every year for more than a decade.
Thoreen says that under Jamie’s guidance, Britney’s earnings have grown so she now has $60million in assets, and that it was all because her money was being ‘mismanaged’ in the past.
‘Britney’s assets were clearly being mismanaged. She was being taken advantage of by some of those around her,’ Thoreen said.
Jamie’s lawyer shared never-before-seen videos of the family in Louisiana, at the start of 2020, when they were ‘hunkering down’ together at the beginning of the pandemic. Britney is shown with her sister, Jamie Lynne
Jamie is shown with a young relative, thought to be Jamie Lynne’s daughter. He has not been seen in public for months
Britney and her niece riding bicycles in the family driveway. The attorney says she was happy and made no request for her father to step down as her conservator
Britney, her father and her two sons – Sean and Jayden. The photo is undated
Since her father took control of her career, Britney has worked as a judge on The X Factor, released several albums and has held a residency in Las Vegas.
Jamie is shown at court in 2008
Her fans say that Jamie is using her as a workhorse to profit off of her earnings himself.
They say the fact she is well enough to work means she needs no conservator at all.
Thoreen did not address that on Thursday morning.
Instead, she said: ‘He has collaborated with her… when she is up for performing, she performs.
‘When she wants to record an album, she records an album and when she wants to live her life like a normal person he has collaborated with her on that.’
She also shared never-before-seen videos of the pair in Louisiana, at the start of 2020, when she says the pair ‘hunkered down’ with the rest of the family in the early days of the pandemic.
Jamie is shown in the video playing with a small child. Britney is shown riding a bicycle with her niece and doing gymnastics with her younger sister, Jamie Lynne.
‘Throughout 2020, Britney and her father had any conversations. Early on in the pandemic, they spent two weeks with other family members in Louisiana.
‘Britney and Jamie went on long drives together… they played in the family garden. Every night, Jamie cooked southern comfort food.
‘In that time, Britney never expressed those words to her father. She’s never asked him to step aside,’ she said.
Fans are concerned for her well-being and want her to be released from the control of her father, Jamie, who can still legally make decisions on her behalf
Britney with her father, brother and mother in 2006. Her parents separated
TIMELINE AND EXPLANATION OF BRITNEY’S CONSERVATORSHIP
2002: Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears divorce. Britney breaks up with Justin Timberlake around the same time
2004: Britney marries Kevin Federline
2007: Britney, struggling through a custody battle and split with Kevin, shaves her head and attacks a paparazzo’s car
2008: Jamie Spears files for conservatorship of Britney, claiming she is not legally well enough to make her own decisions
2009-2019: The conservatorship – which had been temporary – is extended every year. In court papers, Jamie’s attorneys describe how she is making more money
January 2019: Britney announces an ‘indefinite’ work hiatus and cancels her lucrative Las Vegas residency
Jamie files paperwork asking for the conservatorship to be extended beyond California, to apply in Hawaii, Louisiana and Florida as well
He steps down as her primary conservator after allegations he abused one of her sons but is still listed as one of those in charge
Early 2020: Britney, Jamie and Jamie-Lynne are in Louisiana together for two weeks. The #FreeBritney movement is picking up
November 2020: Britney’s attorneys claim in papers that she’s afraid of her dad
December 2020: The conservatorship is extended until September 2021
February 5 2021: Framing Britney Spears debuts on Hulu
The conservatorship that Britney was put under is ordinarily used in situations where older, perhaps senile people, can no longer look after their own affairs.
It gives control over to an appointed conservator for the best interest of the recipient but in most cases, the recipient is not healthy enough to make their own money, unlike Britney who makes millions.
Under the rules of the probate conservatorship, Jamie now has equal control over her estate to a third party and an attorney, Andrew Wallet.
Wallet derives a salary of $426,000 a year from Britney’s estate.
He, Jamie and the third party who was brought on recently can make deals on her behalf and restrict her visitors.
‘Jamie loves his daughter. Like any other family, issues come up but this in no way takes away from the love and support they have from each other. Britney knows her daddy loves her and she can call on him, conservatorship or not.
‘Jamie serves as her conservator because he loves her. He wants the best for Britney.
‘We have to remember how the conservatorship was started. Britney needed help and that’s why it was put in place.’
The conservatorship was put in place in 2008 after Britney suffered mental health problems following the breakdown of her marriage to Kevin Federline.
At around the same time, her parents brought a restraining order against Sam Lufti, who they said had inserted himself in Britney’s life to take advantage of her.
He has always denied their allegations.
Britney’s father and mother separated in 2002. When she was growing up, it was her mother who accompanied her to most of her jobs.
In Framing Britney Spears, the New York Times documentary about the singer, former agents and friends suggested that Lynne cared for Britney’s well-being while Jamie was more concerned about her earning ability.
Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, Britney – who had found a start on the Mickey Mouse Club – became an international sensation.
She was in her late teens and early twenties but was easily the most famous pop star in the world.
She started dating Justin Timberlake, then a member of the boy band N Sync, and they became a Hollywood golden couple.
Timberlake and Spears dated from 1998 until 2002 and were an iconic star duo. After their break-up, she suffered mental health episodes and had control of her life taken by her father. He gave her a groveling apology earlier this month after being portrayed as one of those who exploited her in the Hulu documentary
IS BRITNEY SENDING MESSAGES THROUGH INSTAGRAM?
Throughout the entire legal battle, Britney has not made a single public statement.
Many fans speculated that it’s because she is forbidden from physically seeing members of the media without her father’s say-so.
They turned to her social media, where she is active, and questioned whether she was sending coded messages through her Instagram posts.
Whether or not she retains full control of it is also under uncertainty.
In April last year, she shared a video to reassure fans that she was standing up for herself but she was vague on details.
‘I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s … may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want!’ she said
But Britney started facing backlash from critics who complained she was too sexy and setting a bad example for young girls around the world but particularly in America.
When she and Justin broke up, the narrative that he allowed to be spread was that she’d cheated on him and broken his heart.
His career soared. Albums and songs were promoted under the narrative that Spears broke his heart. In the music video for his 2002 hit Cry Me A River, he even used a Britney lookalike. Britney was vilified for their break-up.
In a 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer, Sawyer asked her: ‘He’s gone on television and pretty much said you broke his heart,you did something that caused him so much pain. What did you do?’
Britney, then 21, replied: ‘We’re both really young. It was kind of waiting to happen. I will always love him.
‘Everyone has a side of their story and to make them feel a certain way, make them feel, you know… I’m not saying he’s wrong and I’m not saying he’s right either.’
Timberlake didn’t shy away from speaking about their interview. In one example, he was asked: ‘I have to ask, did you f**k Britney Spears?’
He laughed, sighed, then said: ‘Oh man, OK I did it’.
In an interview with The Telegraph in 2002, he also said: ‘The break-up was absolutely heartbreaking for me.
‘I can’t just have meaningless relationships with women. I have to find Miss Right in order to have a relationship. There’s got to be that big moment when she comes along.’
He also jokingly boasted in interviews about having had sex with her.
Earlier this month, he issued a groveling apology to her and to Janet Jackson, whose breast he exposed at the 2004 Super Bowl.
After splitting with Justin, Britney carried on working but her mental health started to deteriorate.
She married Keven Federline, a back-up dancer, in 2004 and the pair quickly had two children.
After the birth of her first child, she started socializing with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. The trio were considered party girls and were regularly seen clubbing.
Britney’s good-girl image had started to crumble.
The pinnacle of her troubles came in 2007 when, after growing tired of being followed relentlessly by the paparazzi, she shaved her head in front of them and then attacked a photographer’s car with an umbrella.
Not long afterwards her father filed for the conservatorship, claiming she was not of sound enough mind to make her own decisions.