Britney Spears, 39, got some positive news during her court appearance on Wednesday, September 29: her dad Jamie Spears, 69, has been suspended effectively immediately from her conservatorship. The Spears patriarch has been conservator of his daughter’s estate since 2008. HollywoodLife has reached out to Britney’s lawyer for comment.
According to reporters in the courtroom on Wednesday, Jamie will be replaced by John Zabel, a certified public accountant. The conservatorship will still remain in place for now, but another court hearing will be set sometime before the end of the year to consider terminating the conservatorship entirely.
Following the hearing on Wednesday, the pop star’s lawyer Mathew Rosengart addressed the crowd outside the courtroom, confirming that a November 12 court date has been set to determine the possible termination of the conservatorship. “It’s a great day for justice,” he said. “[Britney’s] very happy. We’re all very happy.”
BREAKING: Jamie Spears has been suspended from #BritneySpears' conservatorship, effective immediately.
Court is now in recess. Britney's attorney, Mathew Rosengart, suggested setting a termination hearing within next 45 days. Will be determined shortly. https://t.co/mRjfbGvKGB
— Elizabeth Wagmeister (@EWagmeister) September 29, 2021
Jamie’s lawyer, Vivian L. Thoreen, later issued a statement on behalf of Jamie about the conservatorship development. She said, “Mr. Spears loves his daughter Britney unconditionally. For thirteen years, he has tried to do what is in her best interests, whether as a conservator or her father. This started with agreeing to serve as her conservator when she voluntarily entered into the conservatorship. This included helping her revive her career and re-establish a relationship with her children. For anyone who has tried to help a family member dealing with mental health issues, they can appreciate the tremendous amount of daily worry and work this required. For Mr. Spears, this also meant biting his tongue and not responding to all the false, speculative, and unsubstantiated attacks on him by certain members of the public, media, or more recently, Britney’s own attorney.”
Vivian added, “These facts make the outcome of yesterday’s hearing all the more disappointing, and frankly, a loss for Britney. Respectfully, the court was wrong to suspend Mr. Spears, put a stranger in his place to manage Britney’s estate, and extend the very conservatorship that Britney begged the court to terminate earlier this summer. Again, it was Mr. Spears who took the initiative to file the petition to terminate the conservatorship when neither Britney’s former court-appointed counsel nor her new privately-retained attorney would do so. It was Mr. Spears who asked the court at yesterday’s hearing to immediately terminate the conservatorship while Britney’s own attorney argued against it. Despite the suspension, Mr. Spears will continue to look out for the best interests of his daughter and work in good faith towards a positive resolution of all matters.”
Difference between termination and suspension: If it’s terminated, Team Con doesn’t have to turn over docs. If Jamie is suspended as conservator, all documents over the last 13 years have to be handed over. #FreeBritney
— #FreeBritney Live (@FreeBritneyLive) September 29, 2021
Ahead of Wednesday’s court hearing, Jamie made the unexpected move of filling papers to step down from his role as Britney’s conservator on September 7, after spending years defending the arrangement. Brit and her lawyer had filed legal docs to terminate the 13-year conservatorship that she’s been in since 2008, and named Zabel as the ideal candidate to temporarily replace Jamie. Britney’s personal conservator is Jodi Montgomery, who has also been supportive of dissolving the conservatorship.
Britney first made it clear that she wanted to end her conservatorship during an emotional testimony in court on June 23. In her bone-chilling statement, Britney recounted all the ways that the conservatorship had stripped her of her basic autonomy, asserting that her family has harmed her both mentally and emotionally and that her therapist and doctors had put her on lithium, among other medications, that she didn’t want to be on. The singer, who recently got engaged to longtime boyfriend Sam Asghari, also alleged that under the conservatorship, she’s not allowed to get married or remove the IUD that’s stopping her from having more children. “I just want my life back,” she said. “And it’s been 13 years. And it’s enough.”
The “…Baby One More Time” crooner later returned to court on July 14, where she doubled down on her request to remove Jamie from the arrangement completely — and said she wanted him charged with conservatorship abuse. “I am petitioning the court because I want my dad out as conservator,” she said. “I want to press charges on my dad today.” Britney later added, “My lawyer didn’t fight for me one time. No, I am not perfect. I am not crazy. My family never cared.” At that hearing, Britney was granted permission to hire Rosengart as her personal lawyer.
Britney’s conservatorship was enacted in 2008 after she was placed under a 5150 hold, which allows a person experiencing a mental health crisis to be involuntarily held for a 72-hour psychiatric hospitalization. The hold came after a highly-publicized breakdown, in which the star publicly shaved her head. The superstar had a legion of die-hard supporters that sparked the #FreeBritneyMovement; her controversial situation was notably thrust into the spotlight thanks to the FX/Hulu documentary Framing Britney. The follow-up doc, Controlling Britney Spears, was released on Sept. 24.