Everybody loves a good conspiracy theory, but not all conspiracies are just theories. If you’re a Twitter user, you might have noted the hashtag #FREEBRITNEY trending on the social media platform multiple times in recent years. The cause behind the hashtag is that fans of the iconic pop singer believe that her life is being controlled by her father, who has total authority over her finances, her schedule, and even who she’s allowed to spend time with, and Britney wants to be free of his influence. It sounds too far-fetched to be true, but this is a rare instance of a conspiracy theory being rooted in truth.
Both of the central facts that drive the “Free Britney” movement are true. Her father genuinely does have control of virtually every important aspect of her life, and Britney genuinely does want to be free of him. The matter ended up in court in the United States of America a little over a week ago, where the singer was told that she wasn’t fit to look after her own affairs, and that her dad Jamie would remain listed as her ‘conservator’ – a role that gives him full and free access to the star’s bank accounts and schedule. He’s held that role for twelve years and based on the court’s ruling, it now appears that he’ll continue to do so indefinitely.
Spears, now 38-years-old and far removed from the public meltdowns of 2007 and 2008 that prompted the conservatorship being imposed on her in the first instance, recognizes that she needs assistance with the organization of her life due to the condition of her mental health, but according to papers filed with the court she doesn’t believe that her father is the best person for the job. She would rather see Jodi Montgomery, her care manager, replace Jamie as conservator. The reasons for the court rejecting that suggestion are unknown as the hearing took place behind closed doors in Los Angeles, but the answer was a firm ‘no,’ and the matter now cannot be looked at again – at least not through a request by Britney – until February 2021. A new complication has appeared on the horizon though – one that comes from another member of the battling Spears family.
Last week, just a few days after her father was given clearance to stay in his role as Britney’s effective supervisor, Jamie Lynn Spears made an application to the court for more control over Britney’s money. Jamie Lynn is Britney’s younger sister and is already a trustee of Britney’s estate – albeit one who has no autonomous control over the money that’s in it. Documents that have been seen by the Los Angeles Times and subsequently distributed to the media at large confirm that Jamie Lynn specifically wants control over a trust fund that was set up to provide for Britney’s children, and that she wants the money moved from the account it’s held in currently to an account that she would be the sole custodian of.
There are two reasons why Jamie Lynn might consider doing this. The first would be self-interest, as clearly if her move were successful, she would take ownership of tens of millions of dollars in funds. That wouldn’t necessarily benefit her, though, as no money could be taken from the account without a judge’s prior authorization. Therefore, it’s more likely that she’s asking either in her sister’s interests or possibly even on her sister’s instructions, with the intention of moving as much of Britney’s money as possible away from her father’s control. The trust fund is understood to be of the utmost importance to Britney, as she set it up in 2004 to provide for her sons and has funneled cash into it ever since.
Fans may be curious to know where, at this point, Britney’s money comes from. She hasn’t released any new music in years, and nor has she performed live since 2018 when she cut short a residency in Las Vegas to seek treatment for her mental health condition. Based on documents submitted to the courts, it’s understood that she’s not expected to resume making money or performing at any point in the near future, or perhaps ever at all. That means she’s not getting paid for concerts, and she’s not earning anything for making music. That doesn’t mean she’s not making any cash at all, though. Even in a state of semi-hibernation, Britney Spears is a money-making brand.
Her back catalog is still popular and still attracts significant royalties every year. Britney also has a clothing and perfume range, which doesn’t make as much money as it used to, but still provides a steady income. On top of that, her image has been licensed to a variety of companies for a variety of products and purposes. As an example, a company called Aristocrat released an official Britney Spears-themed online slots game in July 2018, this game is as popular as Rainbow cash pots slot. It comes with features based on some of her biggest hits, including ‘Toxic’ and ‘Baby One More Time,’ and has been proven to be popular with players on the online slots websites it appears at. The family wins every time the players win, because every time someone spends money on that online slots game, the Britney Spears estate takes a small cut. The only person in the arrangement who appears to be losing constantly, other than those the online slots game doesn’t pay out for, is Britney Spears herself. She’s consistently fought against her father’s control ever since it was legally asserted over more than a decade ago and continues to get nowhere.
The crux of the argument appears to be that Jamie Spears believes that Britney isn’t competent enough to manage her own finances or resist what he calls ‘fraudulent or undue influences’ in her life, and that he’s the person best served to protect her interests. Britney accepts that she isn’t fit and well enough to manage everything, but would prefer someone else to be in charge of her purse strings. This unexpected and forceful entry of her sister into the fray could change everything. Only Jamie-Lynn Spears knows what her true motives are, but she’s about to make things uncomfortable either for her father, or for her sister. Inevitably, this will lead to further drama. Prepare to see that hashtag even more frequently than you’ve seen it recently.