Britney Spears shared her unfiltered feelings about her conservatorship and her family in a 22-minute video she posted on YouTube then deleted Sunday night. She also tweeted the YouTube link, but removed that post too.
The pop star detailed what the beginning of her conservatorship was like for her, how she continued to work through the legal arrangement, and how she felt wronged by her family. “I’m sharing this ’cause I want people to know I’m only human. I do feel victimized after these experiences,” she said. “And how can I mend this if I don’t talk about it?”
In the YouTube post, which does not include a visual but features Spears speaking in the audio, the singer also revealed that she was offered money to discuss her story in interviews, but she wasn’t interested in getting paid. “I really don’t think any of that is relevant to getting paid to tell your story. I feel like it’s kind of silly,” she explained. Later, she reiterated that her story is “beyond a sit-down proper interview.”
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Spears said that she hadn’t discussed the conservatorship so openly before because she has “always been scared of the judgment and definitely the embarrassment of just of the whole thing, period, and the skepticism and the cynical people and their opinions of what people would actually think.” But she feels she’s “in a place now where I’m a little bit more confident that I can be willing to share openly my thoughts and what I’ve been through.”
Spears was put under a conservatorship in 2008 that put her father, Jamie Spears, in control of her personal life and finances. The legal arrangement remained in place for nearly 14 years until a judge ruled to end the conservatorship last November, per The New York Times. The ruling came after the Free Britney movement, a campaign run by fans calling for the end of the Spears’ conservatorship, gained public momentum.
In her since-deleted video Sunday night, Spears recalled working after “being hospitalized and completely traumatized out of my mind,” appearing on the TV sitcom How I Met Your Mother and recording her album Circus. “I’d never remember feeling so demoralized and just, they made me feel like nothing,” she said. “And I went along with it because I was scared. I was scared and fearful.” She added that she continued to hold a residency in Las Vegas as well. “I was a fucking machine. Not even human almost, it was insane how hard I worked,” she said.
She later added, “I knew in the deepest deepest part of my core, I knew I’d done nothing wrong and I didn’t deserve the way I’d been treated. I do think the hardest thing for me was I wanted to use my feet and leave and run or go somewhere.”
While Jamie Spears and the rest of the Spears family have not yet publicly addressed the video at the time of writing, he did release a statement via an attorney in September 2021, saying it was “disappointing” and “a loss for Britney” that he was removed as her conservator. In November, he also filed for the conservatorship to be terminated immediately.
Spears concluded her since-deleted video with an uplifting message to her fans, or anyone listening who might be in a similar situation. “If you’re a weird introvert oddball like me who feels alone a lot of the time and you needed to hear a story like this today, so you don’t feel alone,” she said.“You know, this, my life has been far from easy and you’re not alone.”
Hours later, Spears posted a Twitter thread about individuality and self-love.
“You can lose your individuality on a fake tale of how other people may [perceive] you and some idiots like me fall into the trap cause unfortunately I do care…but at the end of the day…,” she wrote, “I have to honor myself and realize it’s not about pleasing others or driving yourself crazy on what other think … to honor myself … and value myself is the only way to something we all seek … Self love … value of self , and passing that on to every person I encounter !!!”
Update: Britney’s mother, Lynne Spears, responded to her daughter’s post with a message on Instagram late Sunday night. She wrote that she “tried my best” to help the singer “out of hardships,” following Britney’s comments saying “I’m honestly more angry at my mom” for how she handled the conservatorship.
“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. ❤️🙏”
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.