What happened to Britney Spears?

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Courtesy of Creative Commons

Britney Spears at the 2016 Video Music Awards.

Brittyn Leonard, Co-editor-in-chief

Britney Jean Spears has been a pop icon for more than two decades, coming into the spotlight at a very young age. Born in 1981, Spears’ talents were very noticeable at a young age. Growing up in a small town in the south, Spears moved to join the Mickey Mouse Club years before her first single, “…Baby One More Time” reached number one in music charts in 1999. She went on to become known as the “Princess of Pop” as she dominated the late 90s to early 2000s. Since then, Spears has released countless albums reaching number one, won many awards, and has had quite possibly the most dramatic celebrity breakdown in history.

In 2007, Spears’ infamous meltdown shocked fans around the world and forced her into a downward spiral. One night, she was done with the cameras following her every move and made a drastic decision to shave her head. She then proceeded to attack a cameraman’s car with an umbrella. It was apparent that Spears had lost control, as her family checked her into a rehabilitation center.

At this time, Spears was deemed not responsible enough to handle herself, her money, or her children. She lost custody of her children while her dad, Jamie Spears, took control of her money and assets under a censorship clause. This censorship was extremely restrictive and gave Spears access to just about nothing. Britney is now 39 years old and still living under this censorship.

Fans of Spears have noticed erratic behavior from her these past years. She had one of the best celebrity comebacks in history, but no one knew she was still under control of her father. Fans started to notice this change in behavior as Spears started posting strange and unusual pictures and videos to her social media accounts. Fans have since started the “Free Britney” movement. This movement has gained momentum with posts flooding the internet using the hashtag, “#freebritney.” They have also had many protest marches and most recently, the New York Times did a special documentary on Spears’ situation called “Framing Britney Spears.”

Many people have been very vocal about their support for Britney, especially fellow celebrities. From pop artist Miley Cyrus screaming “Free Britney!” at one of her 2019 concerts, to Jersey Shore cast star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi posting a picture of herself wearing a Britney Spears shirt with the caption “#freebritney,” it is very clear where people stand on this issue.

Socialite Paris Hilton told Andy Cohen on SiruisXM’s Andy Cohen Live, in Sept. 2020, “I just love her so much. I feel like if you are an adult, you should be able to live your life and not be controlled.”

In addition to Hilton, rapper Cardi B told Entertainment Tonight in May 2019, “Fame will really drive you insane. Not only will fame drive you insane, but it’s like, once you have money, everyone just wants to take it from you.” Implying Britney’s dad, Jamie, is just after her for her money, instead of what is best for the singer.

Britney’s attorney said in court documents obtained by US magazine, “Britney herself is vehemently opposed to this effort by her father to keep her legal struggle hidden away in the closet as a family secret.”

Britney has not addressed this movement head on, but has said many times she loves her fans and is overwhelmed with the amount of support this movement has brought to her. She said she will not make music until she is free from her father, as fans hope one day she will be able to share her side of the story