Britney Spears has appeared at a Los Angeles court to address the conservatorship she has been under for the past 11 years. Media has been barred from the proceedings, but reports from witnesses on the ground report that the 37-year-old singer is spoke in front of a judge and was accompanied by her mother Lynne Spears. A report on TMZ shows a photo of Spears leaving the courtroom barefoot. According to a report on the site, an expert evaluation by a third party was ordered. The next court date is set for Sept. 18.
Outside the courtroom, protesters from the #FreeBritney movement picketed with signs and chants to end the conservatorship.
Earlier today, Courtney Love tweeted her support for Spears, writing, “Britney, you are so brave!”
While the specific reason for today’s status update hearing was not cited and there have been multiple routine checks since her conservatorship began in 2008, recent events in the singer’s life have made this one take on more import.
Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, has been her conservator since 2008, and he became sole conservator this year after attorney Andrew Wallet resigned from his co-conservatorship in March. Jamie Spears suffered a ruptured colon last November and his recovery evidently has not been smooth; in January Britney postponed her “Britney: Domination” show at Park Theater at the Park MGM resort in Las Vegas as well as a new album, and later checked herself into a health facility for a month-long stay, suffering from stress due to his illness.
She left the facility for several hours multiple times during her treatment, including an Easter Sunday visit to the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills with her longtime boyfriend, Sam Asghari.
Some unconfirmed media reports, citing an unidentified tipster, claimed the singer was refusing to take medication that had been prescribed in the wake of her erratic behavior in 2007 and 2008. The tipster reportedly claimed that Jamie had insisted the residency be postponed, and that Britney cite his illness as the cause.
Further media reports said that she was being held against her will and some fans held a widely reported public protest in West Hollywood, holding “Free Britney” signs. Probably not coincidentally, the singer spoke to fans in an Instagram video the following day, saying “Hi guys, just checking in with all of you who have been concerned about me. All is well. My family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety lately so I just needed time to deal. But don’t worry, I will be back very soon.”
Since she left treatment late last month, she has shared several Instagram posts, including one of her dancing to Cardi B’s summer hit “I Like It.” “Who knew stress would be a great 5 pound weight loss. Yay for me,” she wrote, adding winking emojis.
However, the drama amped up last week when Britney’s mother Lynne, who divorced from Jamie in 2002, filed court documents asking permission for an attorney to appear on her behalf at today’s hearing. In the documents, her attorneys wrote that it was in the singer’s “best interest to allow Lynne Spears to have a voice at the Status Hearing,” according to CNN.
As conservator, Jamie Spears, along with a court-appointed lawyer, will decide the parameters of the expert evaluation.