Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Breaking News

Judge suspends Britney Spears’ father from conservatorship

The move is a major victory for the singer, who pleaded in dramatic hearings in June and July that her father needed to be out.
Britney Spears supporter Brian Molina of Los Angeles celebrates outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday in Los Angeles. A judge on Wednesday suspended Britney Spears' father from the conservatorship that has controlled the singer's life and money for 13 years, saying the arrangement "reflects a toxic environment."
Britney Spears supporter Brian Molina of Los Angeles celebrates outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday in Los Angeles. A judge on Wednesday suspended Britney Spears' father from the conservatorship that has controlled the singer's life and money for 13 years, saying the arrangement "reflects a toxic environment." [ CHRIS PIZZELLO | AP ]
Published Sep. 29
Updated Sep. 29

LOS ANGELES — In a major victory for Britney Spears, a judge on Wednesday suspended the singer’s father from the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money for 13 years, saying the arrangement “reflects a toxic environment.”

Related: Britney Spears, Netflix’s ‘I Care A Lot’ put guardianship abuse in spotlight

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny agreed with a petition from Spears and her attorney that James Spears needs to give up his role as conservator. The decision comes months after the pop star pleaded for her father’s removal in dramatic court hearings.

“The current situation is untenable,” Penny said after hearing arguments from both sides. “It reflects a toxic environment which requires the suspension of James Spears.”

In this combination photo, Jamie Spears, father of singer Britney Spears, leaves the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Oct. 24, 2012, in Los Angeles, left, and Britney Spears arrives at the premiere of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" on July 22, 2019, in Los Angeles. A judge on Wednesday suspended Britney Spears’ father from the conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years, saying the arrangement “reflects a toxic environment.”
In this combination photo, Jamie Spears, father of singer Britney Spears, leaves the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Oct. 24, 2012, in Los Angeles, left, and Britney Spears arrives at the premiere of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" on July 22, 2019, in Los Angeles. A judge on Wednesday suspended Britney Spears’ father from the conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years, saying the arrangement “reflects a toxic environment.” [ AP ]

James Spears sought the conservatorship in 2008 and had been its primary controller and biggest champion. He reversed course in recent weeks, asking the judge to end the conservatorship.

Britney Spears and her attorney, Mathew Rosengart, agreed that the conservatorship should end and said in court documents that James Spears’ removal was a necessary first step in “ending the Kafkaesque nightmare imposed upon her.”

Related: Britney Spears wants out of her 13-year conservatorship: ‘I’m so angry it’s insane’

Spears’ attorney has been aggressively pushing for her father’s ouster since moments after the judge allowed her to hire Rosengart in July.

Fans were elated by the ruling.

“My heart’s racing out of my chest,” said Lorin Sisco of Hawaii, who flew to Los Angeles for the hearing and said she’s been at the courthouse for every proceeding for the past year. “I am so excited for what she has to do with the rest of her life.”

Hours before the hearing, a major street outside the courthouse was closed to vehicles, allowing about 100 Spears supporters to march and host a rally where they shouted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the conservatorship has got to go!” and other pro-Britney chants.

Britney Spears supporters celebrate outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday in Los Angeles. A judge on Wednesday suspended Britney Spears' father from the conservatorship that has controlled the singer's life and money for 13 years, saying the arrangement "reflects a toxic environment."
Britney Spears supporters celebrate outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday in Los Angeles. A judge on Wednesday suspended Britney Spears' father from the conservatorship that has controlled the singer's life and money for 13 years, saying the arrangement "reflects a toxic environment." [ CHRIS PIZZELLO | AP ]

As the crowd grew, fans sang Spears hits “Toxic” and “Baby One More Time,” and speakers described abusive conservatorships that had affected their families.

Related: For Tampa Bay’s Free Britney advocates, Spears’ words are ‘a crack in the earth’

“We’re making making history right now,” said Martino Odeh, 27, who traveled from Phoenix to be at the courthouse. “And the fact that we could change a pop star’s life, who has been robbed of her rights for 13 years, is crazy. It’s monumental.”

Britney Spears supporter Amy Wesselman of Long Beach demonstrates outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday in Los Angeles. A judge on Wednesday suspended Britney Spears’ father from the conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years, saying the arrangement “reflects a toxic environment.”
Britney Spears supporter Amy Wesselman of Long Beach demonstrates outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday in Los Angeles. A judge on Wednesday suspended Britney Spears’ father from the conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years, saying the arrangement “reflects a toxic environment.” [ CHRIS PIZZELLO | AP ]

Rosengart said in another filing this week that James Spears “crossed unfathomable lines” by engaging in illegal surveillance of her, including communications with her lawyer, as reported in “Controlling Britney Spears,” a documentary from The New York Times and the FX network, one of two dueling documentaries released on the eve of the hearing.

Britney Spears was also engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Sam Asghari, earlier this month, which means putting together a prenuptial agreement that her father should not be involved in, her court filings said.

Honoree Britney Spears and Sam Asghari attend the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 12, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California.
Honoree Britney Spears and Sam Asghari attend the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 12, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California. [ VIVIEN KILLILEA FOR GLAAD | Getty Images North America ]

James Spears in 2019 stepped aside as the so-called conservator of his daughter’s person, with control over her life decisions, maintaining only his role as conservator of her estate, with control over her finances. He and his attorneys have said that renders many of his daughter’s complaints about his control over her life meaningless.

Jodi Montgomery, a court-appointed professional, now acts as conservator of Britney Spears’ person, and Rosengart said in court documents that Montgomery also consents to ending the conservatorship so long as it can be done safely and smoothly.

Britney Spears supporters demonstrate outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Britney Spears supporters demonstrate outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday in Los Angeles. [ CHRIS PIZZELLO | AP ]
Britney Spears supporters demonstrate outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Britney Spears supporters demonstrate outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday in Los Angeles. [ CHRIS PIZZELLO | AP ]

James Spears has denied acting in anything but his daughter’s best interest. He has said in court papers that he does not know of “a single medical professional nor the report of a single probate investigator” that concluded that his presence as conservator was harming his daughter or that he should be replaced.

The conservatorship was established in 2008 when Britney Spears’ began to have public mental struggles as hordes of paparazzi aggressively followed her everywhere and she lost custody of her children.

By ANDREW DALTON, AP Entertainment Writer. Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton