Fans of Britney Spears who believe her father should be ousted from his role overseeing her conservatorship “have it so wrong”, his lawyer has said.
The pop star’s finances and personal affairs have been controlled since 2008 by a contentious legal agreement that has given her father, Jamie Spears, control over her estate, career and other aspects of her personal life.
Spears has recently attempted to have him removed from the role, telling a court in Los Angeles she was “afraid of her father” and would not resume her career while he controlled it.
During an appearance on Good Morning America, Jamie’s lawyer addressed the ongoing legal battles and the #FreeBritney movement, which advocated returning control to the pop star.
“I understand that every story needs a villain, but people have it so wrong here,” says Vivian Thoreen.
“This is a story about a fiercely loving, dedicated and loyal father who rescued his daughter from a life threatening situation. People were harming her and they were exploiting her. Jamie saved Britney’s life.”
Thoreen repeated an argument that has been advanced in court: that Jamie’s shrewd handling of his daughter’s estate saved her from financial ruin.
Despite her huge success in the early 2000s, it has been claimed that Spears’ assets were worth $2.8m (£1.9m) in 2008. Last year, a court was told her estate is now worth $60m (£42.7m).
Thoreen added: “Britney’s assets were clearly being mismanaged and she was being taken advantage of financially by some of those around her.”
Despite Samuel D Ingham, Spears’ lawyer, saying she will never perform again while her father oversees her life, Thoreen defended his record.
She said: “He has collaborated with her to help her regain custody of her children. He has brought her finances back from disaster. And he’s created a safe environment for her to live her life the way she wants, away from the media that cause her so much pain.”
Thoreen claimed that Spears and her father spent time together last year during the pandemic and said she never voiced her wish to have him removed from the conservatorship.
She said: “Early on in the pandemic, they spent two weeks with other family members, hunkered down in Louisiana, and they spent a lot of time together.
“Britney and Jamie went on long drives together. They played and worked in the family garden. And every night, Jamie cooked Southern comfort food that the family ate and enjoyed together.
“In that time, Britney never expressed those words to her father. She’s never asked him to step aside.”
Spears’ life and career has returned to the headlines thanks to the documentary Framing Britney Spears, which explores the celebrity and media culture at the time of her meteoric rise.
Conservatorship is a form of court-appointed guardianship typically used for elderly and infirm people, or others who cannot make decisions for themselves. The arrangement is often temporary, but Spears has remained under her conservatorship since it was first adopted in 2008 after her public mental health crisis.
Following a backlash as a result of the documentary, Justin Timberlake, who was in a high-profile relationship with Spears, issued a public apology.
Another hearing on Spears’ conservatorship is due to take place in Los Angeles next month.
With PA Media