Britney Spears Says She 'Honestly Didn't Know' She Could Petition to Terminate Her Conservatorship
"Ma'am, I didn't know I could petition the conservatorship to end," Britney Spears told Judge Brenda Penny during an impassioned speech in a court hearing Wednesday
Speaking to Judge Brenda Penny in a lengthy speech that ran nearly 30 minutes before a Los Angeles court, Britney, 39, said she had no idea she could request that the conservatorship end.
"I want changes, I deserve changes. I was told I have to be sat down and evaluated again," she said Wednesday, going on to address Judge Penny directly. "Ma'am, I didn't know I could petition the conservatorship to end. I honestly didn't know that."
"Honestly, I don't think I owe anyone to be evaluated," she added. "I've done more than enough."
Britney said that she wants to "feel heard" and for the court to "understand the depth and degree and the damage that they did to me back then."
Jamie was appointed Britney's conservator in 2008 after she underwent two involuntary psychiatric evaluations. In a November 2020 court hearing, Britney's lawyer told a judge that she was "afraid of her father" after the judge declined her request to make Jodi Montgomery her permanent conservator.
During Wednesday's hearing, Spears' father Jamie appeared by phone, along with the singer's mom, Lynne, and a statement was read on Jamie's behalf after a 20-minute recess.
"[Jamie] is sorry to see his daughter in so much pain. [He] loves his daughter and misses her very much," his attorney Vivian Lee Thoreen said.
In a statement to PEOPLE earlier this year, Thoreen said Spears could file a petition to terminate her conservatorship but never has. "Britney knows that her Daddy loves her, and that he will be there for her whenever and if she needs him, just as he always has been - conservatorship or not," added Thoreen at the time.
However, the pop star said Wednesday that she did not know she had that right.
Britney said that her dad Jamie "and anyone involved in this conservatorship, and my management who played a huge role in punishing me" should "be in jail" for the harm they have caused her. (None have been the subject of criminal charges.)
"I don't even drink alcohol. I should drink alcohol considering what they put my heart through," she said.
RELATED VIDEO: Britney Spears Felt Her Conservatorship Was an 'Oppressive and Controlling Tool Against Her' in 2016: Report
Jamie stepped down as his eldest daughter's permanent conservator in September 2019 due to "personal health reasons," and Montgomery took his place. Britney filed court documents last summer stating that she is "strongly opposed" to her father returning as sole conservator of her affairs and finances and "strongly prefers" Montgomery "continue in that role as [she] has done for nearly a year."
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Last month, Judge Penny ruled that Bessemer Trust Company will continue to be co-conservators along with Jamie, rejecting objections from Jamie's legal team over how the co-conservatorship would be delegated.
The hearing Wednesday comes a day after The New York Times published a report citing sealed court documents and transcripts from 2016 between Britney and a probate investigator, which the newspaper said provided a "snapshot" of her "sentiments and situation."
"She articulated she feels the conservatorship has become an oppressive and controlling tool against her," a court investigator wrote in 2016, adding that Spears reportedly believed the legal system had "too much control."
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Wednesday marked the first time Britney shared those feelings publicly.
"I've lied and told the whole world I'm OK and I'm happy," she said. "It's a lie."
"I've been in denial. I've been in shock. I am traumatized," she continued. "[I was taught to] fake it 'til you make it, but now I'm telling you the truth, OK? I'm not happy. I can't sleep … I'm depressed. I cry every day."
Calling her experience under the conservatorship "demoralizing," Britney said that she didn't speak out sooner because she didn't think she would be believed. "I've never said it openly. I didn't think anyone would believe me," she said.
"The main reason why I'm here is I want to end the conservatorship without having to be evaluated," Britney added later in her address to the court. "I shouldn't be in a conservatorship if I can work and provide for myself and pay other people. It makes no sense. The laws need to change. I've worked since I was 17 years old."
Under the conservatorship, Britney said she doesn't feel like she "can live a full life."