Britney Spears

Sorry this is a book but I needed to get it off my chest.

So I try to stay away from all of this (as much as possible) because as much as I love Britney (I'm a huge stan as my handle suggests), I don't feel like it's any of my business and speculation always makes me uncomfortable. That being said, I don't know if it's confirmed that Britney is actually bipolar or not (again not my business) but I have three very close friends that are diagnosed bipolar and the struggle for them and their families (it obviously affects them too) to find medication that works and doesn't simultaneously make them feel like a "robot" is a real one. Because of this it's also hard for many to stay on their meds and hard for the families to help keep them on their meds. If you have anyone in your life that is bipolar it's almost always obvious when they are off their meds because it manifests in manic episodes. During a manic episode it can be very easy for people to take advantage. For instance one of my friends was diagnosed in college and when she was manic she would go on shopping sprees that she couldn't afford and take her "friends" and buy them things because she was chasing a high of being liked and being able to provide "happiness" for others and then later she would crash and the depression would keep her confined to her room for days and her real friends like myself would step in and ask the other's to return what she'd bought them and explain that it wasn't ok to take advantage and let her buy them things and keep her family aware when these situations occurred. Even though her whole family cares deeply for her, they showed their love and support in different ways... father and mom were strict, her sister who is only 2 yrs older sometimes unintentionally enabled her desire to skip on her meds. She would favor this sister over her sister who is 5yrs older and keep the older sister at a distance because this sister acted more like mom and dad and tried to be strict or show "tough love". It was a scary learning process for everyone in her life when she was diagnosed and for many yrs that followed while we all together figured it out. Her college years were her worst and she's found medications that mostly work and has had many stable years without many manic moments, but there have been tough time too that have at times lasted for months although they have become less frequent as she's gotten older. I'm not saying any of this to imply or assume anything about Britney's circumstance or family! I'm saying this to illustrate that if indeed Britney is bipolar that it is a very complicated and intricate issue that is not always black/white. One that deserves privacy and understanding, free of assumptions and conjecture which are never going to be correct or fair to the truly intricate nature of such circumstances. I truly hope Jaime and her team have her best interest at heart, and that if this isn't the case that anyone that doesn't is removed from having the control or influence that they do over her life and care, but beyond that regardless of the headlines I don't feel comfortable making assumptions about Jaime or Lynn because I've seen first hand how hard it is for families to navigate these waters. One thing I am confident in and don't mind assuming is that Britney is an incredibly strong woman who has a vast amount of joy and love for performing and for many things in her life and that she will make it through this and continue to find joy in her life and bring joy to her fans.
 
This isn't to invalidate the mental health issues and dilemmas that Britney and her family may or may not be dealing with.

But I think many here have established that they are... besides the point when it's being used as a machine to manage one of the most bankable pop stars of all time. I'd like to believe Jamie has her best intentions at heart as well, but Britney is in the center of a still very profitable brand and there are many people whispering in his ear to do this and that.

Is taking away a grown functioning adult's autonomy both financially and personally really the best solution to deal with it? From my own experience, I have friends and family with mental illnesses too and I do understand the feeling of wanting to "control" them to make sure they never go astray... but then, what kind of life would that be?

It may be the easier way (I emphasize easier because there is obviously no easy solution), that's for sure when you can decide for someone else to make sure they make all the "right" decisions. But I hope those who are involved with Britney and her personal affairs at this point can be honest with themselves: Are they doing things right for Britney or are they doing it for themselves?
 
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The whole speculation on her mental health makes me uncomfortable (not shading anyone here, everyone is being very respectful), but even if she was bipolar that shouldn't justify the conservatorship just because she is "too big of a star". Mariah announcing that she is bipolar is proof that it is possible to be an autonomous person with rights and control over her life and be a huge star.
 
The whole speculation on her mental health makes me uncomfortable (not shading anyone here, everyone is being very respectful), but even if she was bipolar that shouldn't justify the conservatorship just because she is "too big of a star". Mariah announcing that she is bipolar is proof that it is possible to be an autonomous person with rights and control over her life and be a huge star.

No, it's not proof because people are different. There are different types of bipolar disorder. Just because one person can handle theirs, doesn't mean another can. I think some of you forget that when Britney was in control of her life she lost custody of her children, had to do court ordered drug testing, and was hauled out of her home on a gurney after locking herself in a bathroom with her infant son, and then was placed on a 5150 hold. That first 5150 had nothing do with her parents or the conservatorship. None of those things happened to Mariah Carey.

I'm not diagnosing Britney, I'm not trying to shut down conversation, I'm not saying anyones wrong for being suspicious. But I do feel like there's been some brushing under the rug of her problems to support theories, when it's clear something was wrong.
 
From my own experience, I have friends and family with mental illnesses too and I do understand the feeling of wanting to "control" them to make sure they never go astray... but then, what kind of life would that be?
I don't think there's really a fair way to evaluate the "give" and "take" that's involved here. It's truly different for each person's situation. For instance my closest bipolar friend has been doing great on meds for over 6 years and is happy and has a great support system and another bipolar friend of my mother's was doing great for over 10 years and then her meds stopped working and because she didn't have enough support from her husband and friends to keep trying new med combinations, she gave up and spiraled into some unhealthy behaviors and ended up getting a divorce, doesn't have joint custody of her kids and moved back in with her parents. We do not know Britney's situation, but we do know she is strong and has been through tons and always preserves. Don't get me wrong you are 100% correct in wanting any abuse or greed over the situation that may be taking place on Jaime's part to end immediately. He could truly be good at caring for her health and also greedily be taking advantage of the business side, or bad at both or neither. We really don't know the truth and other than wanting what's best for her it's really not our place to assume anything and also speculation doesn't really get us anywhere.
 
No, it's not proof because people are different. There are different types of bipolar disorder. Just because one person can handle theirs, doesn't mean another can. I think some of you forget that when Britney was in control of her life she lost custody of her children, had to do court ordered drug testing, and was hauled out of her home on a gurney after locking herself in a bathroom with her infant son, and then was placed on a 5150 hold. That first 5150 had nothing do with her parents or the conservatorship. None of those things happened to Mariah Carey.

I'm not diagnosing Britney, I'm not trying to shut down conversation, I'm not saying anyones wrong for being suspicious. But I do feel like there's been some brushing under the rug of her problems to support theories, when it's clear something was wrong.
I never said something wasn't wrong, but that was 11 years ago and things have drastically improved since then. I mean, they even admitted it was a hybrid business model and there quite a few shady people involved. If her diagnosis was truly dire then the conservatorship should be protecting her mental health at all costs and she should not be releasing albums, touring the world, doing promo, etc. That is not what a conservatorship was designed for.
 
I don't think there's really a fair way to evaluate the "give" and "take" that's involved here. It's truly different for each person's situation. For instance my closest bipolar friend has been doing great on meds for over 6 years and is happy and has a great support system and another bipolar friend of my mother's was doing great for over 10 years and then her meds stopped working and because she didn't have enough support from her husband and friends to keep trying new med combinations, she gave up and spiraled into some unhealthy behaviors and ended up getting a divorce, doesn't have joint custody of her kids and moved back in with her parents. We do not know Britney's situation, but we do know she is strong and has been through tons and always preserves. Don't get me wrong you are 100% correct in wanting any abuse or greed over the situation that may be taking place on Jaime's part to end immediately. He could truly be good at caring for her health and also greedily be taking advantage of the business side, or bad at both or neither. We really don't know the truth and other than wanting what's best for her it's really not our place to assume anything and also speculation doesn't really get us anywhere.

First of all, I do wish the best for you and your friend, and I sympathize that it is difficult for the friends and family.

This is by no means a shade to you and I'm not saying this is what happens in your situation, but I usually have to keep people around me and even myself in check from reducing friends/family to their mental illness. My issue with the whole conversation around mental health is until now, I see this... dehumanization (maybe too strong a word) to varying degrees of people with these issues. And this is why I feel especially disgusted at Team Britney for feeding the "She needs the meds and she needs to be controlled or else, she will DIE!!!" narratives so sensationally because they know this is how people think.

If the person is acting "behaved", people will say it's because of the meds or it's the controls placed around him/her. If the person is "misbehaving", it's because he/she herself has a problem. It's never the person's decision to take medication in an effort to get better. It's never the person's own efforts and autonomy that they are doing well... people always attribute some external force that allows them to function properly.

In Britney's case, I feel like they've reduced all her progress and efforts all these years to a conservatorship and credited it to the men managing her affairs. People with mental health problems aren't meant to be seen as walking time bombs. They should be given space and respect, like the rest of us.
 
No, it's not proof because people are different. There are different types of bipolar disorder. Just because one person can handle theirs, doesn't mean another can. I think some of you forget that when Britney was in control of her life she lost custody of her children, had to do court ordered drug testing, and was hauled out of her home on a gurney after locking herself in a bathroom with her infant son, and then was placed on a 5150 hold. That first 5150 had nothing do with her parents or the conservatorship. None of those things happened to Mariah Carey.

I'm not diagnosing Britney, I'm not trying to shut down conversation, I'm not saying anyones wrong for being suspicious. But I do feel like there's been some brushing under the rug of her problems to support theories, when it's clear something was wrong.

You don't know what actually happened to Mariah though.

And like @La Toya says, people have done way, way, WAY worse and they're roaming free, raising kids and living their best free lives.
 
First of all... the publication is called Bops & Bangers? @Bangers&Bops sue ha!

This wreaks of someone on Larry's team trying to get ahead of a potential firing.
I'm on the phone with my attorneys as we speak.

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No, it's not proof because people are different. There are different types of bipolar disorder. Just because one person can handle theirs, doesn't mean another can. I think some of you forget that when Britney was in control of her life she lost custody of her children, had to do court ordered drug testing, and was hauled out of her home on a gurney after locking herself in a bathroom with her infant son, and then was placed on a 5150 hold. That first 5150 had nothing do with her parents or the conservatorship. None of those things happened to Mariah Carey.

I'm not diagnosing Britney, I'm not trying to shut down conversation, I'm not saying anyones wrong for being suspicious. But I do feel like there's been some brushing under the rug of her problems to support theories, when it's clear something was wrong.
Yeah, her first 5150 happened because she locked herself in the bathroom with her baby who was less than 18 months old. A mother not wanting to let go of her baby. Let’s section her and punish her forever. It truly does not prove anything of her being a danger, and after the first 5150 she was released in less than 24 hours after being deemed not a risk to herself or anybody else

I get that you want to believe that maybe there really is a good reason that this conservatorship could be place, but at this point there really is no need or help in playing devil’s advocate. We have one of her conservators saying on record that the conservatorship is a “hybrid business model”. What the hell else has to happen to show how unethical this all is?
 
Yeah, her first 5150 happened because she locked herself in the bathroom with her baby who was less than 18 months old. A mother not wanting to let go of her baby. Let’s section her and punish her forever. It truly does not prove anything of her being a danger, and after the first 5150 she was released in less than 24 hours after being deemed not a risk to herself or anybody else

I get that you want to believe that maybe there really is a good reason that this conservatorship could be place, but at this point there really is no need or help in playing devil’s advocate. We have one of her conservators saying on record that the conservatorship is a “hybrid business model”. What the hell else has to happen to show how unethical this all is?

We really don't know what was going on in the house that night.
 
A new piece from The Telegraph:



Its behind a paywall, so here's the text:
Inside the Free Britney movement: is Britney Spears trapped by her family or her fans?
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Circus: Britney Spears

  • Alim Kheraj
23 MAY 2019 • 5:00 PM


“People can take anything away from you. But they can never take away your truth”. When Britney Spears whispered those words on the opening of her 2004 cover of Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative, little did she know how eerily prophetic they would be.

Only four years later, Spears would be dubbed legally incompetent and placed under a court approved conservatorship, restricting everything she could do from how she manages her personal and business affairs to whether she can buy a packet of gum from a 7/11. Those decisions, a judge decided, would be in the hands of her father, Jamie Spears, and a court approved co-conservator, Andrew Wallet.



The events leading up to this decision are well trodden and well documented. Spears, then a 26-year-old mother of two children aged two and three, experienced some personal difficulties, including the collapse of her marriage with her former backing dancer Kevin Federline and the death of her aunt, both hard situations that was exacerbated by intense and intrusive media hounding, and a cabal of paparazzi that stalked her every move. Spears had also fired her old management team, was dating a paparazzo, Adnan Ghalib, and had hired new management in the shape of Sam Lufti.

It all came to a head in late January 2008 when Spears was admitted to a psychiatric unit and held under Section 5150 of California’s Welfare and Institution Codes, a demand for a psychiatric evaluation, where a trained psychiatrist must determine if the patient is a danger to him or herself, or others.

It came after erratic behaviour that saw the singer shave her heard, vandalise a papparazi's car and speak in a British accent. She'd also recently been admitted into a psychiatric hospital after refusing to hand over her two children to their father Federline once she lost custody. She allegedly took one hostage, causing a standoff in her Hollywood Hills hideaway. Her house was surrounded by 10 police cruisers, two ambulances, a fire truck and six helicopters buzzing over head, before she was carried out on a stretcher from her house and placed in an ambulance.

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Britney Spears was taken from house to hospital in ambulance
Just a few days later, a Los Angeles court placed Spears under an emergency conservatorship, usually reserved for people who cannot look after themselves such as the elderly and infirm, putting her estate, now worth an estimated $215 million, under the control of her father, giving him control over her assets. Putting him in control seemed at odds with the relationship that Spears herself had signalled as strained.

According to a 2007 Page Six report, Spears said that the pair “have never had a good relationship”. Still, in October 2008 Spears’s father petitioned that the conservatorship be made permanent. Spears’s father was named the conservator of her person, putting him in control of her personal and medical decisions, while Wallet was appointed conservator of her estate.

At the time, TMZ reported that a permanent conservatorship would increase the singer’s chance of regaining custody of her children, with Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner at the time, Riva Goetz, saying: “The conservatorship is necessary and appropriate for the complexity of financial and business entities and her being susceptible to undue influence.”

Said “influence” was the interference of Lufti, who Spears’s mother, Lynnne, alleged had threatened and drugged her daughter, and “essentially moved into Britney's home and has purported to take control of her life, home and finances”. Restraining orders were obtained against Lufti in 2008 and 2009. He has always denied the allegations.


The past five months have seen Spears’s conservatorship back in the spotlight. Following a string of events that, at times, feel like they’ve been lifted from an Oliver Stone movie, a fan-lead movement dubbed #FreeBritney has put fresh scrutiny on the moral, ethical and legal considerations surrounding Spears’s conservatorship.

It all started when, in early January, Spears cancelled her upcoming Vegas residency, Domination. In an Instagram post, Spears – or someone posting on her behalf – announced she would be taking an “indefinite work hiatus” and cancelling the residency after it was revealed that her father had recently been hospitalised after his colon ruptured and had almost died.

“We’re all so grateful that he came out of it alive, but he still has a long road ahead of him,” the post on Instagram read. “I had to make the difficult decision to put my full focus and energy on my family at this time. I hope you all can understand.” Spears was spotted one more time following that post driving through and In-N-Out Burger with her boyfriend, model Sam Asghari, whom she has been dating since 2016, before she dropped off the face of the earth: no Instagram posts. No paparazzi pictures. Nothing.

“Basically, Britney was in rehearsals for [her upcoming residency] Domination. It came to Jamie's attention that Britney was not taking her medication as prescribed. She was missing a lot of doses and just full-on not taking them,” the tipster claimed. “So they got her to the doctor and the doctor said, 'OK, if you don't want these medications, let's get you on a new one.' She refused to take the new one. So Jamie said, 'Either you take this medication or the show's off, and I'm pulling my support and you can't do it.' Britney did not follow Jamie's instructions and so he was true to his word—he pulled the show. He verbatim said, 'Blame it on my illness.'”

The tipster, who claimed he used to be a paralegal for an attorney involved with Britney’s conservatorship, then alleged that Britney, who supposedly is not allowed to drive without supervision, broke the rules by heading to the drive-thru with her boyfriend. “Britney has been in the mental facility since mid-January,” the source continued. “Of course, the statement [on April 3] said she entered last week, which is not true… She did not want to go, and from what I understand this was not a decision that she made at all.

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Britney Spears kisses Madonna as they opened the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, August 28, 2003 CREDIT: REUTERS

Barker and Gray say that they have corroborated that the source worked as a paralegal at the law firm involved with Britney’s conservatorship, although, over the phone from LA, Barker says that she “can't really disclose the steps I took” to verify the source’s place of work. What she does say, however, is that she’s unsurprised by what happened next.

Immediately following the episode, the hashtag #FreeBritney began trending on social media. Fans started dragging up receipts from legal documents, sources and rumours that, for the last 10 years, have dogged Spears and her conservatorship. The movement spawned a protest. Fans started sending death threats and attacking Spears’s management team and even her family.

Her sister, Jamie-Lynn, responded by telling fans to “GTFOH with all the comments about what you don’t understand”. Spears’s mother, Lynne, added gasoline by liking Instagram comments with the tag #FreeBritney. Soon, media reports, speculation and online fan drama saw Spears make a video saying that “just needed some time to deal”, matched with a caption that told fans:

“I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said. I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me. Don’t believe everything you read and hear. These fake emails everywhere were crafted by Sam Lutfi years ago... I did not write them. He was pretending to be me and communicating with my team with a fake email address. My situation is unique, but I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment.”

(A further restraining order was taken out against Lufti in May this year. Lutfi denied the claims, and said her team’s “desperate attempt to deflect [sic] negative attention on to me (yet again) is a rather ineffective way to overshadow the FreeBritney movement … the emails in question show a woman capable of running her own life, a narrative they apparently want to hide.”)


Indeed, Jaclyn says that those in attendance kept the protest silent and there were requests that, if Britney were to appear publicly, that people kept the phones and cameras away. “There were efforts made to show solidarity with her and not to intrude on her life further,” she added.

One fan who attended the protest, Junior Olivas, said he did so because he doesn’t believe that she meets the criteria for the conservatorship. “We also know that she wants out of this conservatorship, but nobody listens to her,” he says. “Nobody hears her! She’s been stuck in this for so long and now it’s time for her to fight for her freedom and we are here with her. If Britney decides she wants to retire for good then we are okay with that. If Britney decides she wants to continue working then we are okay with that, too. But it has to be what Britney wants.”

“A conservatorship is a tool,” says Elaine Renoire, the president of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse, an advocacy group that aims to protect the human and civil rights of those placed in unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships.

Renoire explains that, whilst in Britney’s case there is no suggestion of financial exploitation, conservatorships have been used for financial gain and can be a tool for control.“So if Britney was put in the corner [regarding her children],” she adds, “she probably agreed to it thinking that it wouldn't be as bad as it is. But she gets in there and then can't even control her own money? That's crazy.”


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Britney arrives at the Los Angeles County Superior courthouse in January 2008 for a hearing regarding visitation rights for her two sons that she has with ex-husband Kevin Federline CREDIT: AFP

While no Californian legal experts replied for comment regarding conservatorships, Tess of Britney’s Gram did say that, despite Britney’s status as legally incompetent, she did now have joint custody of her children with her ex-husband Kevin Federline. “That's another area where there's a disconnect,” she adds. “It happens often that there are people who are placed in conservatorships like hers and they do lose custody of their kids. But nothing like that happened with Britney. She's not considered a legal adult, but she's also the guardian of two children.”

It’s another incongruity that Renoire suggests signals that Britney’s conservatorship has hung around longer than necessary. “There was no reason for them to close it because she was making all this money,” she adds.

“What would happen if she was let out of the conservatorship today?” adds Miller. “I suspect a lot of the people who are currently working with her may not be anymore.” Elaine Renoire described conservatorships as: “A lifetime sentence. Once they've got you, you don't get out.”

There might be a schism in the Britney fandom about how far fans should go when it comes to advocating for their favourite popstar. But everyone is on the same page, it seems, when it comes to the status of the conservatorship. Regardless of whether you believe that Britney was held against her will or whether it’s just outlasted its welcome, the situation surrounding the conservatorship stinks. As Miller asks, “If she didn't have millions and millions of dollars, would this still be happening to her?”

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Britney performing in Vegas, 2016
Of course, we don’t know Britney’s status medically and we won’t; it’s not our business. But, as was the case during a taping of an episode of The Jonathan Ross Show in 2016 that Grace Medford attended, when Britney has spoken up about the conservatorship, she has either been shut down or silenced, the line of questioning either dropped or edited out. And so is it any wonder that fans are going to question the situation when, as Miller says, there’s such a lack of transparency?

There could be an exit strategy for Spears. Following a hearing on May 10 – it’s unclear if the hearing was requested by Britney or her mother – a judge has ruled an evaluation of the conservatorship. Another status hearing is scheduled for September. In the meantime, so as to avoid another 2007-style catastrophe, fans, Spears's entourage and the media will need to tread carefully; headlines speculating about Britney’s mental health, sources or members of her team releasing personal information regarding her medical status, or, as People magazine recently did, reports about how her two children are only fuel to the fire.

“I think fans should express appreciation for the 20 years of iconic songs and videos from her career that we’ve grown up with,” suggests Miller. “Ultimately, she’s a person. And fighting against her family and her managers and each other doesn’t feel productive. Be there for her in a way that will inspire her to want to be a better person, because I know she inspires her fans.”

Ultimately, it’s time to deconstruct the popstar veneer that surrounds her and to put Britney Spears the person – her wants, needs and her desire for autonomy – first. “I just think if she was able to live a life as she saw fit, whether she was performing and touring or making albums or not, that is ultimately what fans want for her,” Miller says. “They want her to find happiness and feel fulfilled and feel grateful and appreciative of her life.”
 

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