By now, you’re likely aware of Britney Spears’ ongoing legal battle to end her conservatorship — which has seen her life and finances legally controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, and lawyers since 2008.
BuzzFeed News uncovered abuse, neglect, and death across the guardianship industry. Read our investigative series "Beyond Britney" here.
Jamie’s role in the conservatorship has been at the center of public scrutiny ever since Spears publicly denounced him in devastating court testimony back in June. During the hearing, Spears opened up about how she’d found the terms of the conservatorship to be “abusive.”
“My dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship and my management who played a key role in punishing me — ma’am, they should be in jail… This conservatorship has allowed my dad to ruin my life,” Spears said during the hearing.
Shortly after the testimony was released, Jamie filed documents in which he expressed concern about Spears’ “management and care” and asked the court to investigate the claims she’d made. He has since denied the allegations of abuse and repeatedly claimed that he only wants what’s “best for [his] daughter.”
Well, now Jamie’s sister, Leigh Ann Spears Wrather, has spoken out against him for the first time.
On Friday morning, the pop star’s aunt broke her silence in a rare interview on Good Morning Britain, revealing that she felt Jamie abused his position and “manipulated” his daughter.
“He’s barbaric,” Leigh Ann said of Jamie. “I mean, who gets to do that to someone?”
“[Britney Spears] was just manipulated and used,” she said. “And he wants to say that he protected her? No, he caged her.”
Leigh Ann went on to accuse Jamie of taking control of Spears when she was “at her most vulnerable” and using the situation to benefit himself.
“He swooped in at the perfect moment, when she was at her most vulnerable, to take control,” she alleged.
“I don’t think he was the hero,” she added. “I think that he manipulated the situation, and that he has benefited from this situation for [over] a decade.”
Moreover, Leigh Ann said that she doesn't know how any of the family could've stepped in to help Spears given the tightly controlled restraints of the conservatorship.
“I don’t know what anyone could’ve done,” she said. “I do know this: I know that if Lynne [Britney’s mom] could’ve done anything, she would’ve.”
And when asked how Spears herself is feeling, Leigh Ann claimed that “she wants out” before maintaining that Jamie “needs to be held accountable” for his actions.
“She wants away from Jamie, she wants to be free, she wants to get married, she wants to have kids,” she claimed.
“I don’t know if [Jamie] can be prosecuted for anything, but he needs to be held accountable,” she added.
Leigh Ann’s statement comes just weeks after Jamie was suspended from his role as Spears’ conservator with immediate effect, marking a victorious milestone in the pop star’s decadelong battle for freedom.
“I’m so pleased and proud to say Jamie Spears is no longer a conservator,” Spears’ attorney, Mathew Rosengart, said outside the courthouse. “Jamie Spears has been suspended and he will be formally removed shortly.” He added that Jamie will be facing “even more serious ramifications for his misconduct.”
Jamie’s suspension was considered a huge win for Spears, who has long condemned her family and referenced her lack of freedom through her Instagram posts.
Just last week, Spears shared an eyebrow-raising post shortly after the news of Jamie’s suspension broke detailing how she felt “like a caged animal” — which fans quickly interpreted as a signal toward how she’s been feeling under the terms of her conservatorship.
Alongside a video of herself dancing along to her 2003 hit “Brave New Girl,” Spears shared a lengthy caption describing how she’d felt “caged” for “half” of her life.
"do I know the challenge in waiting around during a shoot ... I feel like I have been a caged animal for half of my life,” part of the caption read.
“that's exactly why I choose to direct myself ... do my makeup myself ... produce myself ... dress myself ... make music myself ... feed myself ... and shoot videos and pics myself," Spears added.
And days prior, Spears dragged her entire family for their lack of support throughout the course of her conservatorship in a separate scathing Instagram post.
Spears posted a picture of one woman swimming to help another who appears unconscious underwater — which many fans understood as a dig toward the lack of help she’d received from her family members.
“I suggest if you have a friend that’s been in a house that feels really small for four months... no car...no phone... no door for privacy and they have to work around 10 hours a day 7 days a week and give tons of blood weekly with never a day off... I strongly suggest you go pick up your friend and get them the hell outta there,” she wrote in the caption.
“If you’re like my family who says things like 'sorry, you’re in a conservatorship'... probably thinking you’re different so they can fuck with you !!!!” she added.