In 2008, after his daughter’s public mental health crisis, Britney Spears’ father Jamie Spears took legal control over her welfare. The iconic pop star, however, has been trying to wrest it back, with her army of fans launching a movement on social media under the hashtag #FreeBritney.
Lance Bass, an American singer, dancer, actor, and producer, has added his weight to the ‘Free Britney’ movement.
Bass, who shot to fame in the late Nineties as part of the boy-band NSYNC, gave an interview to Australia’s Today Extra, saying he supported the fan-launched campaign fighting for the Baby One More Time hitmaker to gain independence from legal conservatorship.
“I definitely feel for her. We should definitely listen to her, and if she wants out of this conservatorship with her Dad controlling it, then we should listen to her,” the 41-year-old Bass said in the interview, quoted by the Daily Mail.
Although he acknowledged he isn’t familiar with “the specifics of her situation and if she should be out of a conservatorship,” Lance, who is married to actor Michael Turchin, said he had trust in the singer’s 29-year-old sister, Jamie Lynn.
He drew comparisons with his own experience as part of a boy-band, conceding that for Britney Spears it must have been much more difficult, as she was a solo act.
“Being a female is definitely different. Being at such a young age. Also I had my best friends in [NSYNC], so it was easier to deal with. She was just a solo act,” said Bass, adding:
“She had everything riding on her shoulders; the whole world was either against her or for her and that’s a lot to take in.”
From Shaved Head to Psychiatric Ward
Britney Spears, 39, who was dubbed “Princess of Pop” during the late Nineties and early Noughties and sold more than 100 million records worldwide, grabbed media attention in 2007 after a series of breakdowns.
As she was embroiled in a custody battle over her two children with ex-husband Kevin Federline, Spears became notorious for shaving her head in public after a return from rehab and lunging at paparazzi with an umbrella. Eventually Spears lost custody of her children to Federline, whom she married in 2004 but divorced two years later.
It was after Spears was placed in a psychiatric ward in January 2008 that a Los Angeles court appointed her father Jamie Spears her legal personal and financial conservator. In 2019 Jamie Spears stepped down following colon surgery, and nominated Jodi Montgomery as his daughter’s temporary conservator.
The singer has continued performing and touring, raking in millions, with the earnings so far remaining in her family’s control.
Britney Spears has been “strongly opposed to her father continuing as sole conservator of her estate”, with the famous pop singer moving to nominate a trust company instead, according to court documents cited by Entertainment Tonight (ET).
The pop star’s lawyers said in a statement published by TMZ in September that she was “vehemently opposed to this effort by her father to keep her legal struggle hidden away in the closet as a family secret.”
Britney Spears’ legal team maintains that the father and daughter have no “viable working relationship”.
According to her lawyer, Samuel Ingham, the performer informed him that “she is afraid of her father”.
“She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career,” Ingham told the court.
Fans have also long since maintained that it was time to “free Britney” from her “chains”. Over the summer, they launched a viral #FreeBritney hashtag.
Reminder: We are fighting to have this conservatorship completely dissolved.
We will not settle for anything less #FreeBritney
— Junior Olivas (@juniorolivas) December 22, 2020
Dear Britney, I wish you a Merry Christmas and I hope ALL your wishes come true in 2021. That’s my only wish this year! I miss you & seeing you happy with your boys so much. You deserve nothing but happiness, true love, kindness and freedom. We’re gonna #FreeBritney this year! ❤ pic.twitter.com/uED7iK3bgq
— freebritney ★ (@britneysupport2) December 25, 2020
— freebritney ★ (@britneysupport2) December 26, 2020
However, in early November a Los Angeles judge refused to rule on the request filed by Spears and her legal team, citing lack of adequate documentation, leaving the $60 million fortune in the hands of Jamie Spears.
Britney Spears’ former make-up artist said that her father, Jamie Spears, controls her as a dictator and that she may not even have access to a cell phone. pic.twitter.com/3fWZgv3B1X
— Britney Press ✨ (@BritneyPress) October 13, 2020
Jamie Spears has continued to dismiss the Free Britney Spears movement as a “joke”.
“All these conspiracy theorists don’t know anything. The world don’t have a clue. It’s up to the court of California to decide what’s best for my daughter. It’s no one else’s business,” he was quoted as saying by PageSix.
Jamie Spears’ lawyer argues that his record as a conservator has been irreproachable.
According to the team, the idol was able to shake off debt and augment her fortune by millions over the past 12 years.