Britney Spears has surprised fans today by releasing a 22-minute video to her YouTube channel, in which she speaks in detail about the events of the past 15 years since her conservatorship first started.
The YouTube upload, which has now been set to ‘private’, features Spears speaking at length but has no visual element. It sees the pop star take fans through a loosely chronological account of the past 15 years of her life, starting with the events leading up to her being placed into the conservatorship in which her father and his team tightly controlled her life and her finances.
Spears, who made her first foray back into the music business last Friday with the Elton John duet Hold Me Closer, starts by explaining that she’s had “tons of opportunities” to share her story, including an offer from Oprah Winfrey. But she says she thinks it is ‘kind of silly” to get paid to open up about her hardships – hence the YouTube video.
The first part of the upload treads familiar ground to her bombshell testimonies during her conservatorship hearings last year, as she details the control she lived under before she was released from the unusual legal arrangement.
But Spears also offers new detail, explaining that she started to push against the constraints of the conservatorship around the time she released her last album, 2016’s Glory.
“For some reason, I started to get a spark back. I started making Glory, and I got the fire back in my eyes. I started getting more confidence, and with confidence, people were like ‘What’s going on now, she’s speaking up a little more.
“I think with confidence comes enlightenment, which makes you think better. That’s the last thing they wanted,” she says.
“I had to just play this role, that everything was OK all the time. I knew they could hurt me.”
She describes being 30 years old, living “under my dad’s rules”, and looking to the rest of her family and wondering how they were going along with the oppressive arrangement.
Spears claims she was sent away to a mental health facility against her will in 2019 as a punishment for voicing her opinions during rehearsals for her cancelled Vegas residency Domination.
“I didn’t want to ever go there. I remember calling my dad on the phone crying, and he said ‘You have to listen to the doctors. I can’t help you now.’”
She says she hated her time in the facility and it made her briefly stop believing in god.
“How did they get away with it, and what the f**k did I do to deserve that?” she asks.
Spears says she then started to become aware of the #FreeBritney campaign, as fans demanded more transparency about her conservatorship.
She says she eventually stopped contacting her father, got a lawyer of her own through a “wonderful friend” and started the process of trying to extricate herself from the conservatorship, which she did successfully last year.
“They literally killed me. They threw me away. My family threw me away,” she says.
“I was a machine. It was insane how hard I worked.”
Spears finishes the YouTube video by reiterating that she’s had “lots of offers” for lucrative interviews to share her story, but she’s not interested.
“For me, it’s beyond a sit-down interview,” she says.
“I’m sharing this because I want people to know, I’m only human. I do feel victimised – and how can I mend this if I don’t talk about it?”
“I have an amazing song right now with one of the most brilliant men of our time, and I’m so grateful. But if you’re a weird, introvert oddball like me, who feels alone a lot of the time, and you needed to hear a story like mine today to know that you’re not alone, know this: My life has been far from easy, and you’re not alone.”