A new audio message posted to YouTube on Sunday evening gave an in-depth look at Britney Spears’ side of her conservatorship in a 22-minute video that makes bombshell claims against her family.
The video only has sound, but no picture, and does not show the singer’s face talking on-camera. The video, which was quickly made private and no longer available for the public to see, was initially posted onto YouTube with a link shared on the pop star’s Twitter account. (Spears’ Instagram was recently deactivated, and over the past few days, she has been posting more regularly on her Twitter.)
Variety has reached out to a representative for Spears to verify the authenticity of the YouTube message.
“I woke up this morning and I realized there’s a lot going on in my head that I haven’t shared with anyone,” Spears says in the video.
In the audio message, Spears says she has been offered other interview opportunities, from the likes of Oprah and others, but decided it is best to share her story herself. “I’ve had tons of opportunities…but I’m here to open myself to others and shed a light on it,” Spears says. “I get nothing out of sharing this…I have offers [for] lots and lots of money…to me, it’s beyond a sit-down, proper interview.”
The star — who recently released a single with Elton John, “Hold Me Closer,” marking the first music after her conservatorship was terminated — explains she’s been too scared of judgment to share her side of the story candidly, but now believes it’s crucial to share her thoughts, in hopes of helping others. She then chronologically timelines the conservatorship from her point of view.
“Honestly to this day, I don’t know really what I did,” she says. “But the punishment of my father, I wasn’t able to see anyone or say anything…none of it made sense to me,” Spears says, referencing her father, Jamie Spears, who was her conservator for the majority of the 13-year court-ordered arrangement. (Spears’ father was suspended from her conservatorship in Sept. 2021, and roughly one month later, the conservatorship was ultimately terminated.)
Spears explains that the beginning of the conservatorship was very confusing to her, but claims that both her mother and father were involved in the creation of the conservatorship, and believes it was all “pre-meditated.” She alleges that “a woman introduced the idea to my dad, and my mom actually helped him follow through and made it all happen.” Recalling the night it all started, she says that all of a sudden “there were over 200 paparazzi outside my house videotaping me through a window of an ambulance holding me down on a gurney.”
“It was all basically set up. There were no drugs in my system. No alcohol. No nothing. It was pure abuse,” Spears says. “And I haven’t even really shared even half of it.”
Spears says she clearly remembers “my dad’s control.” She says, “He loved to control everything I did.”
Spears’ new audio message echoes much of the claims she has previously made to the court about her father and the conservatorship, telling a judge that she was controlled, sent to a facility, forced to work and go on tour, was not allowed to drive her own car or socialize with her friends, and was monitored by people in her home who forced her to give blood and watched her change naked. (Spears first gave bombshell testimony in June 2021, and then again testified about “conservatorship abuse” in July 2021.) Spears also says in the new message that her phone was tapped, so she didn’t feel comfortable or safe to ask for help.
“I was told I was fat every day,” Spears says. “They made me feel like nothing, and I went along with it.”
Talking about her 2009 “Circus” tour, Spears discusses what it felt like to be alienated from her friends and dancers who were able to go out to drink and socialize after shows, while she claims her father prohibited her from doing the same. She says she knew “my performances were horrible,” but she couldn’t do anything about it because “I was a robot, honestly. I didn’t give a fuck anymore.”
“It was demoralizing,” Spears says. “You also have to understand, it was like 15 years of touring and doing shows. And I’m 30 years old, living under my dad’s rules. And while all of this is going on, my mom’s witnessing this, my brother, my friends — they all go along with it.”
Spears speaks often about her family, and at one point, says she is more angry at her mother, Lynne Spears, than her father, because she felt her mother could have helped her get a lawyer, but instead would hide when reporters called to inquire about the singer.
“How did they get away with it? And what the fuck did I do to deserve it?” Spears says.
Spears addresses the #FreeBritney movement, her fans who fought for her throughout the 13 years, and said early on that they believed the singer was being held against her own will. The movement has put on continuous rallies and supported the star outside the courthouse throughout her legal battle.
“The whole thing that made it really confusing for me is these people are on the street fighting for me, but my sister and my mother aren’t doing anything,” Spears says. “To me, it was like they secretly honestly liked me being the bad one — like I was messed up, and they kind of just liked it that way. Otherwise, why weren’t they outside my doorstep, saying, ‘Baby girl, get in the car. Let’s go.’”
She adds, “I think that’s the main thing that hurt me. I couldn’t process how my family went along with it for so long…their only response was, ‘We didn’t know.’”
“How the fuck did they get away with it? How is there a god? Is there a god?” an emotional Spears says in the message. “I was so so weak…I was scared, broken. I’m sharing this because I want people to know I’m only human…how can I mend this, if I don’t talk about this?”
Over the years, through lawyers, Spears father and mother have both denied any wrongdoing, stating that they love their daughter.
Spears talks about the moment things started to change for her, ultimately leading to the end of the conservatorship, explaining that she had a friend who introduced her to a lawyer, Mathew Rosengart (who she does not mention by name, but speaks very highly of her attorney). “I finally got a lawyer,” Spears says. “And he really helped me through it.”
Spears says that much of her “trauma” has come from her working so hard, and feeling that in return, her family didn’t care about her. She referenced a claim that she previously testified about, stating that she was punished for speaking up once about a dance move she didn’t like in rehearsal. She also says that she was forced to go to AA meetings, even though she wasn’t an alcoholic, and was forced to go through hours upon hours of therapy.
“How much effort and work and heart I put in to what I did when I did work, even down to the details of how many rhinestones are going to be in my costumes. I care so much. And they literally killed me,” Spears said. “They threw me away. That’s what I felt — I felt like my family threw me away.”
She continues, “I was performing for thousands of people at night in Vegas, the rush of being a performer, and after the joy, the respect, I was shaking over 40 people hands a night before a show, training weekly, three sessions a week, AA meetings, therapy sessions…I was a machine. I was a fucking machine. Not even human almost. It was insane how hard I worked. And then one time I speak up and say ‘no’ in a rehearsal to a fucking dance move, they got pissed.”
Spears says that she hopes people listening do not feel alone. And she shares her excitement over her new song with John (which has topped the charts worldwide, since it’s release last Friday.)
“I have an amazing song right now with one of the most brilliant men of our time, and I am so grateful,” Spears says. “But if you are a weird, introvert oddball like me, who feels alone…and you needed to hear a story like this so you don’t feel alone, know this: My life has been far from easy and you’re not alone.”
Spears was put under a court-ordered conservatorship in 2008 by her father, who acted as her sole conservator for most of the 13 years. The conservatorship was terminated in November 2021. Despite the singer’s newfound freedom, her legal team’s battle has remained messy with no resolution from either side, with the most recent hearing occurring this past week.
On Sunday night, Spears’ mother Lynne Spears posted an old photo of the two laughing together with the caption addressing Britney.
“Britney, your whole life I have tried my best to support your dreams and wishes!,” she wrote. “And also, I have tried my best to help you out of hardships! I have never and will never turn my back on you! Your rejections to the countless times I have flown out and calls make me feel hopeless! I have tried everything. I love you so much, but this talk is for you and me only, eye to eye, in private.”