What Is Conservatorship and What Celebrities Have Conservatorships?

Britney Spears has been top of mind for many people thanks to the documentary Framing Britney Spears. Find out what the documentary is about and learn more about conservatorship and the other celebrities who have conservators. 

Why is Britney Spears living under a conservatorship?

For the last 13 years, Spears has been in a court-sanctioned conservatorship. In 2021, The New York Times released Framing Britney Spears, a documentary that showcases what the public doesn’t know about Spears’ court battle with her father for control of her estate — and her life. 

In the ’90s, Spears was one of the biggest pop stars of her generation. Eventually, fans became obsessed with more than her music. Spears’ personal life quickly became a topic of conversation for countless tabloids. Still, Spears’ continued to write music and perform for her fans. 

But now, many fans think Spears is crying out for help on social media. Spears is living under a conservatorship, which means many of her rights are limited. She’s not in control of a lot of aspects in her life anymore, including the fortune she amassed as a pop star. 

What is a conservatorship?

The Superior Court of California defines conservatorship as a legal concept that allows a judge to grant a guardian full control over an individual’s finances if that person is physically or mentally unable to maintain them on their own. A conservator can take responsibility for the conservatee’s estate, assets, and even their “person.” In those cases, that means managing the conservatee’s daily activities, living arrangements, and health care. That’s what’s happening with Spears.

Courts determine whether a conservatorship is necessary, then various state laws determine how they’re governed. Most often, conservatorships help developmentally disabled adults and the elderly. But more recently, there have been a few high-profile celebrities who have been placed under a legal conservatorship. 

Britney Spears’ father James ‘Jamie’ Spears is her conservator 

In Spears’ case, her conservatorship began in 2008 when she was put on an involuntary psychiatric hold. Her father, James “Jamie” Spears, took control of her $60 million fortune. Despite her conservatorship, Spears continued to work, filming the Circus documentary (2008) and taking on various other projects. But all of this was done under the control and approval of her father. 

Other celebrities who have a conservatorship

Spears is one of the most talked-about celebrities regarding conservatorship. But there’s another star who is living a similar life to the pop singer. 

Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes is also living under a conservatorship. In November 2014, Bynes tweeted about her bipolar diagnosis. After Bynes published the tweets, more information about Bynes’ drug addiction came out. At the time, her inability to make coherent decisions allowed her mom, Lynn Organ, to become her conservator. Another hearing regarding Bynes’ conservatorship was scheduled for September of 2020. The results of that hearing are unknown.

Like Spears’, Bynes lost the right to make decisions for herself. In February 2020, Bynes explained to her Instagram followers why she didn’t feel she needed a conservator any longer. 

Where to stream the Britney Spears documentary about her conservatorship 

The documentary about Spears’ conservatorship originally debuted on FX. Now, Framing Britney Spears is available on Hulu. 

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