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Britney Spears' conservatorship has finally ended

Britney Spears at the Billboard Music Awards in 2016 in Las Vegas.
Lester Cohen
Getty Images
Britney Spears at the Billboard Music Awards in 2016 in Las Vegas.

#FreeBritney is no longer an activist rallying cry: It's now a fact. The conservatorship that had controlled Britney Spears' finances, personal life and medical decisions since 2008, and which for many years was controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, was terminated Friday afternoon in a Los Angeles courtroom. Judge Brenda Penny said the conservatorship of Spears' person and her estate is "no longer required, effective immediately."

For most of the time she was under the conservatorship, the singer has said, she masked her true feelings about the situation, but she began speaking out publicly this summer, asking for the legal arrangement to be terminated.

The conservatorship was split into two parts: the conservatorship of Spears' estate, which controlled all her income and financial decisions, and the conservatorship of Spears' person, which was in charge of her well-being and health. Jamie Spears had been suspended as conservator of her estate in late September, after the singer accused her father of exploiting her. Since then, the conservatorship of her estate had been placed with a certified public accountant named John Zabel, who will stay on briefly to transfer her assets into her trust. Since 2019, the conservator of Britney Spears' person was a licensed personal fiduciary and care professional named Jodi Montgomery.

The singer and her lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, had asked the court to end the conservatorship with no further medical or psychological evaluations of Spears, which was granted.

On Friday in court, Montgomery said she hoped Spears would live a "safe, happy and fulfilling life."

Afterward, Spears, who was not present at the hearing and did not call in to the proceeding, posted to Twitter: "I think I'm gonna cry the rest of the day !!!! Best day ever."

Supporters of pop star Britney Spears rally in front of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles on Friday, ahead of her conservatorship hearing.
Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images
Supporters of pop star Britney Spears rally in front of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles on Friday, ahead of her conservatorship hearing.

Still, the battle between the singer and her father is far from over. In a court filing last week, Rosengart requested to depose Jamie Spears and asked for materials related to the alleged surveillance of Britney Spears, which The New York Times reported in a September documentary. Rosengart has also hired forensic accountants to look into how the elder Spears used his daughter's money over the course of the conservatorship.

Spears' case has thrown a spotlight on thorny issues around conservatorship — which is generally used for elderly people and individuals with significant disabilities. Activists argue that such legal constrictions are ripe for abuse or that they limit conservatees' civil rights. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have used the attention around Britney Spears to champion reforms.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.

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