LOS ANGELES (AP) — Singer, Britney Spears whose had a few public breakdowns, says she now fears her father and will not resume her music career so long as he has power over it.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny declined Britney’s request to suspend James Spears from his central role in the court conservatorship that has controlled his daughter’s life and career for 12 years as Britney Spears’ attorney Samuel D. Ingham III requested at the contentious hearing. But the judge said she would consider future petitions for his suspension or outright removal, which Ingham plans to file.
“My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father,” Ingham told the judge. “She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career.”
The pop star has been on an indefinite work hiatus since early 2019.
James Spears’ attorney, Vivian Lee Thoreen, defended what she said was his perfect record in his run as her conservator, which has seen her net worth go from in debt to well over $60 million.
Thoreen argued that the disruption caused by his removal would do her the very harm the suspension is meant to prevent.
“I don’t believe there is a shred of evidence to support my client’s suspension,” she said.
Thoreen also objected to Ingham’s statements about the father-daughter relationship as inadmissible hearsay.
The judge did approve that a corporate fiduciary, the Bessemer Trust, will now serve as co-conservator over her estate along with her father, which Britney Spears had requested.
Most of the attorneys involved, along with Britney Spears’ parents, took part in the hearing via phone and videoconference. The pop star did not attend in any form.
The conservatorship, known in many states as a guardianship, began in 2008 when she was having serious mental struggles and an often public meltdown. The arrangements are normally limited to people with severely diminished ability to make decisions for themselves, and are meant to be temporary, but Britney Spears, 38, has remained under court control longer than anyone expected.
Ingham on Tuesday called her a “high-functioning conservatee” who deserves at least notice of the actions her father is taking, which he has declined to provide.
Ingham said Spears has not spoken to her father in a very long time.
Britney Spears has acknowledged that the conservatorship was necessary when it began, and probably saved her career, and she remained silent both in public and in court for nearly all of its existence, with her attorney acting mostly as a neutral observer.
Britney Spears’ mother and James Spears’ ex-wife Lynne Spears, who has been allowed to take part as an interested party, said through her attorney that her daughter should not be forced to obey her father’s unreasonable demands, calling their relationship “toxic.”
“It has broken Lynne’s heart that things have come to this point,” the attorney, Gladstone N. Jones, said.
Jones said Lynne Spears has no ill will toward her ex-husband, but she thinks it’s “time to start fresh” and remove him.