There’s no need to #FreeBritney, say people close to the singer
Britney Spears is in more control of her life and health than some of her supporters seem to believe, two sources close to the singer tell CNN.
“There is an impression she’s in a jail cell,” one of the sources, who has known Spears for more than a decade, said. “She has an amazing life.”
These individuals, who are in regular contact with Spears and have direct knowledge of her current state, said they wanted to speak out to clarify unsubstantiated reporting by other outlets about the singer’s health over the past several months. They said this includes inaccurate reports of discord between Spears and her family, allegations she was forced to seek mental health treatment and speculation by supporters on social media that she is restricted in her daily life.
Citing ongoing court proceedings regarding Spears’ conservatorship, the sources requested anonymity.
Spears has been under a court ordered conservatorship since 2008, following a series of much-publicized personal struggles. Her father, Jamie Spears, serves as conservator of her day-to-day affairs and medical decisions.
Both sources who spoke with CNN said they are in favor of the conservatorship.
Spears’ parents appeared at a regularly scheduled court hearing, held annually for her conservatorship, just last week, the sources said. Lynne Spears filed a legal motion to be kept informed of all matters regarding her daughter’s medical condition, according to court filings obtained by CNN.
CNN has reached out to representatives for Jamie and Lynne Spears for comment.
Although the couple divorced in 2002, the second insider said Spears’ parents are “working together” to ensure the best path forward for their daughter, and Britney welcomes their support.
“Britney and her mom walked into the court holding hands. Britney is glad to have her mom staying with her,” the source added.
Though Spears asked the judge to end her conservatorship last week, according to this source, who has direct knowledge of the hearing, that is not a new position for her to take.
“Of course she wants it [the conservatorship] to end, because she’s not of the right mental state to understand her issues,” the source explained. “She has a mental illness and that doesn’t mean she needs to be locked up. It puts her somewhere in the middle. She’s working on it. It’s a struggle on a daily basis.”
Court documents obtained by CNN on Wednesday show a review of the conservatorship was ordered to take place before another hearing in September in light of Spears’ request for it to end.
“The judge needs to make sure they dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s,” one of the sources said. “She’s out doing normal things that normal people do. But there are certain things set in place to protect her.”
Speculation over the singer’s wellbeing began when she entered treatment for undisclosed mental health issues in late March. Some of her supporters, suggesting Spears was being held at a treatment facility against her will, launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #FreeBritney.
“It was Britney’s idea! Even her father said, ‘Are you sure you want to do this? It will be all over the media,'” the second source said.
Spears spent 30 days in a voluntary residential treatment facility, sharing on social media she was taking some “me time.”
Both sources said that Spears’ father battling an illness in January, coupled with her switching medications, contributed to her decision to seek help.
“When her dad got sick, it really affected her,” the first source said. “She couldn’t focus on her tour and she started to miss doses of her medication. Anyone who knows anything about taking prescription medication knows that you can’t just get on and off of it.”
The second individual close to Spears said that her team began to notice during rehearsals and in her daily life that something was “off.”
“Things like sleeping in bed all day, not being clear-headed, you tell her something and then she’s asking the same question again minutes later. Odd reactions to things,” this source said.
Both individuals said treating her mental health is an ongoing challenge.
As with many patients, there’s a need for her doctors to adjust or change the medication so it remains effective, which one of the sources said is a difficult process for Spears.
Britney’s longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, spoke to TMZ on Wednesday and said that her Las Vegas residency was put on hold due to a “perfect storm” of events in her life.
“We had to pull her show because her meds stopped working and she was distraught over her dad’s illness,” he said.
He also said that her residency, which was supposed to start back up in February, is unlikely to happen.
As for whether her singing career is on hold indefinitely, both individuals told CNN that Spears’ current priority is her health.
“It’s not even about whether she will work again, maybe she will or won’t,” one source said. “Getting herself back to a good place, a happy and healthy place, is all she’s focused on.”
Scrutiny around Spears’ current emotional state was described as “overblown” by the other source, who added that the #FreeBritney campaign could actually cause the singer harm.
“Britney is in a pretty good place right now,” this source said. “This is not 2007 Britney. She has the right people around her making sure that doesn’t happen again.”
With the first source adding, “Do these #FreeBritney fans understand the ramifications of ending her conservatorship, leaving her vulnerable for people to come into her life like Sam Lutfi?”
Lutfi was one of the people who was around Spears at a troublesome time for the singer in 2007. She was granted a restraining order against him in 2009 and a temporary restraining order again last week, after Spears and her family accused him of harassment.
Lutfi must stay at least 200 yards away from the singer and was ordered to not make “disparaging public statements” about Spears, her family, her conservator or her current manager. Her sons, Sean and Jayden, are also listed as “additional protected persons” in the order.
“[People close to Britney] believe Sam saw an opportunity to get back into Britney’s life when she entered [treatment in March.] He saw her as vulnerable and that’s when he began to send fake emails impersonating Britney to her team,” the source said. “The last thing her family wants is Sam in her life, they believe he contributed to her breakdown years ago. He’s toxic and needs to stay away.”
Marc S. Gans, Lutfi’s attorney, released a statement at the time the restraining order was issued.
“We are disappointed in the result, and feel it is overly broad and violates Mr. Lutfi’s constitutional rights,” the statement read. “This order is only temporary, and we look forward to arguing the matter more fully in the upcoming hearing for a regular restraining order.”
Spears is currently “surrounded by people that care about her and only want what’s best for her,” one of the sources said, before adding, “She’s just focusing on her family and her health.”
In Instagram posts showing her exercising and practicing yoga in recent weeks, Spears appears to be doing just that.
“You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want!” Spears wrote in a note to her followers. “Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. “