On Wednesday, Britney Spears made an explosive, 24-minute statement during a hearing on her conservatorship, describing as “abusive” the arrangement that has awarded her father control over her life for 13 years. The details were jaw-dropping, not least because the hearing marked the first time the pop star had ever spoken openly about the situation in public. Posting an Instagram note to her fans on Thursday, the singer seemed to acknowledge that element of surprise. Below an inspirational quote — “if you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales” — she wrote:
I believe as people we all want the fairy tale life and by the way I’ve posted … my life seems to look and be pretty amazing … I think that’s what we all strive for !!!! That was one of my mother’s best traits … no matter how shitty a day was when I was younger … for the sake of me and my siblings she always pretended like everything was ok. I’m bringing this to peoples attention because I don’t want people to think my life is perfect because IT’S DEFINITELY NOT AT ALL … and if you have read anything about me in the news this week … you obviously really know now it’s not !!!!
“I apologize for pretending like I’ve been ok the past two years,” she continued. “I did it because of my pride and I was embarrassed to share what happened to me.” She went on to say that, “Believe it or not pretending that I’m ok has actually helped,” and that “Instagram has helped me have a cool outlet to share my presence … existence … and to simply feel like I matter despite what I was going through.”
For years, journalists, tabloids, and paparazzi have subjected the singer to relentless, often pointedly sexist, scrutiny; indeed, this scrutiny appears to have triggered and exacerbated the incidents that enabled her father, Jamie Spears, to enact the conservatorship in 2008. Particularly over the past two years, Britney said in her statement, the conservators she pays leveraged the arrangement to (allegedly) medicate her against her will; trap her inside her house; and bar her from having more children, among many other things. She said that Jamie, specifically, “loved the control [he had] to hurt his own daughter.” (For his part, Jamie has maintained that public speculation about the conservatorship is misguided.) She said that, when she brought her concerns about his role to the court in 2019, she left feeling “like I was dead, like I didn’t matter, like [the judge] thought I was lying.”
“I’ve … told the whole world I’m okay, and I’m happy,” she stated. “It’s a lie. I thought, just maybe if I said that enough, I might become happy, because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized.”
Yeah, if apologies are on the menu, Britney is not the one who needs to make them. Her dad, on the other hand …