stunned the public on Wednesday with a series of revelations about the terms of her conservatorship
, telling the judge
overseeing the legal arrangement that it is "abusive" and has left her "traumatized."
Spears, 39, testified before Judge Brenda Penny after requesting the opportunity to address the court in her own words. Her testimony, delivered by phone, lasted about 20 minutes, and it was the first time she appeared before the court regarding her conservatorship in two years.
“They’ve done a good job at exploiting my life,” she said of her conservators, who include her father, Jamie Spears
, a woman named Jodi Montgomery, and the organization Bessemer Trust. She has been under conservatorship since 2008, when she was hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation.
“I’ve lied and told the entire world I’m OK and happy,” Spears said, referring to messages she’s shared on social media
in recent months. “If I said that enough times, maybe I’d become happy.”
Here are some of the most disturbing statements she made in court on Wednesday.
Despite her desire for a child
, she claims she has been forced to use birth control.
Spears said, in one of the more heartbreaking moments of her testimony, that the conservatorship, which essentially places all of her major decision-making in the hands of those appointed by the court, has forced her to be on birth control, despite her desire to have another child.
“I want to get married and have a baby,” said Spears, who has been in a relationship with model Sam Asghari since they met on the set of one of her music
videos in 2016. “I have a device inside of me that means I can’t have a baby, and I want it taken out, but they won’t take me to the doctor to get it taken out,” she said, ostensibly referring to an intrauterine device (IUD).
She claims she was coerced into taking the medication lithium.
Spears claimed that after she took a break from her Las Vegas
residency in early 2019, her conservators forced her to take lithium, a type of mood stabilizer used to treat a variety of disorders.
She claimed that the drug had caused her to become disoriented.
“It’s a strong drug, and if you stay on it for more than five months, you can become mentally impaired,” she explained. “I felt drunk. I couldn’t even talk to my mom or dad about anything. They had me with six different nurses
Spears also expressed concern about the number of therapy sessions her conservators require her to attend, particularly those held outside her home in locations where photographers congregate; she is willing to attend sessions once a week at home, she said.
Her forced labor
was compared to "sex trafficking
," she said.
Spears claimed that despite her repeated complaints to her father about the terms of her conservatorship, he and the other conservators forced her to perform against her will, both on tour and in Las Vegas.
“He loved having the power to hurt his own daughter,” Spears said. “I worked seven days a week... It was like sex trafficking; I didn’t have a credit card, cash, or my passport.”
If she is capable of performing the tasks assigned to her by her conservators, Spears believes she should not be subjected to this legal arrangement: "I should not be in a conservatorship like this if I can work, provide for myself, and provide for others."
She intends to file a lawsuit
against her parents.
Spears intends to sue her family
members who have benefited from the conservatorship, which pays a sizable sum; her father, for example, reportedly receives $16,000 per month for his role, and she is required to pay for his legal team to fight her in court.
“I want to sue my family,” Spears said on Wednesday, adding, “They should be in jail; all I want is my life back.”
She is afraid to speak up about her situation because she believes she will be silenced.
Spears described a life in which she was forced to keep her pain and distress private.
“I wish I could stay on the phone with you forever because when I get off the phone with you, all I hear is all these ‘no’s,” she told the judge, adding, “All of a sudden I feel ganged up on, bullied, left out, and alone.”
She also admitted that she had no idea she could petition to end the conservatorship, which her attorney, Sam Ingham, should have told her.
Spears claims her lawyer, whom she claims she was not allowed to choose, also told her she couldn't speak out about her situation.
“My attorney says I can’t tell the public what they did to me,” she explained to the judge.
Spears stated that she has lost trust in those who have been entrusted with her care. “I'm scared of people
,” she said, adding, “I don't trust people with what I've been through.”