Britney vs Spears (2021) | Transcript

Journalist Jenny Eliscu and filmmaker Erin Lee Carr investigate Britney Spears' fight for freedom by way of exclusive interviews and confidential evidence.
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Britney vs Spears (2021)

Journalist Jenny Eliscu and filmmaker Erin Lee Carr investigate Britney Spears’ fight for freedom by way of exclusive interviews and confidential evidence.

* * *

[dramatic music playing]

[audience cheering]

[audience chanting] Britney! Britney! Britney!

Britney! Britney! Britney!

[crowd screaming]

Britney! Britney! Britney!

Britney! Britney! Britney!

Britney! Britney! Britney!

Britney! Britney! Britney!

[pensive music playing]

[Britney] When I was 8, my mom realized I could sing.

I’ve always wanted to sing.

It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do.

Five, six, seven, eight, nine…

[woman 1] It’s not just luck. Everybody needs a little bit of luck.

But it’s literally an Olympian level of talent and hard work that goes into that.

[woman 2] Everything about her was strong and fearless.

I mean, there was no stopping her.

[woman 3] It all exploded after Britney became famous.

[woman 4] Suddenly, she was spiraling out of control, and it was clear she was having a crisis.

[reporter] Are you concerned for your daughter, Mr. Spears?

[woman 4] What began as temporary control over her life and her money and her business became permanent.

[woman 3] They felt they had to do it to protect Britney.

[man 1] Britney is no longe r a free person.

[woman 2] She doesn’t have basic human rights.

She can’t write a check or have a credit card.

[man 2] If she doesn’t behave, she loses custody of her kids.

[man 3] There’s other people that’ve tried to help. They’ve paid a heavy price.

[woman 2] She is limited on how she can voice her wishes.

[Britney] I just want my life back. And it’s been 13 years and it’s enough.

All right, so let’s do our least favorite thing in the world, which just means calling random strangers and saying,

“Hey, can you talk to me about Britney Spears?”

[line ringing]

[voicemail beeps]

Hi, Kim, my name is Erin Lee Carr, and I’m a documentary filmmaker.

I’m directing a project about Britney.

Two years ago, I began making a movie about Britney Spears with journalist Jenny Eliscu.

[voicemail beeps]

Hey, this is Jenny Eliscu.

I’m not sure if you remember me from, uh, years ago.

We met when I was working on a Rolling Stone article about Britney.

[Carr] The movie was going to be about her artistry and the media portrayal.

And can someone say wow to those dance moves?

[emotional music playing]

But the story was also about power and control.

Full of conspiracy and rumors.

And no one would talk.

Until they did.

I was 10 when Britney came on the scene.

I remember grabbing the CD with a flower on it that’s Baby One More Time and putting it into my boombox.

[“Sometimes” playing]

You know, my dad would knock on the door. And he said, “Why are you listening to this over and over again?”

[“…Baby One More Time” playing]

I was obsessed.

♪ Hit me, baby, one more time ♪

[audience cheering]

[all] Britney! Britney!

I love her.

[Carr] At 16 years old, Britney was a sensation and she was no one-hit wonder.

From 1998 to 2003, her worldwide record sales totaled over $73 million.

Britney had a work ethic like none other, but she’s never been motivated by money.

She just was doing something she loved.

[woman 5] She was in control and involved in every process.

I’m open to ideas. If they come up with something better, then heck, I’ll do it.

[woman 5] She was like, “I’m the boss. I’m gonna do what I want.”

You can see, like, that girl is just on fire.

♪ I’m a slave for you ♪

[Britney] The best thing about being famous is knowing that, financially, I’ll be able to support my family, no matter what.

[woman] Britney Spears!

[Carr] By 2004, she was one of the biggest selling female artists of her generation.

Hit after hit.

The world couldn’t get enough of Britney.

[camera shutters clicking]

Then, suddenly, Britney stopped making music.

She fell in love with a backup dancer, Kevin Federline.

On a transatlantic flight, Britney proposed to Kevin.

They got married and quickly had two children.

But two years later, the marriage was over and Britney had filed for divorce.

It’s the biggest news in the country, ladies and gentlemen.

Britney Spears is leaving K-Fed!

[all cheering]

Confetti!

[Carr] Britney was out on the town, looking as confident as ever.

Now hopefully, with her divorce almost finalized, she would get back to performing for us.

But what seemed like the beginning of her regaining control… was really the end.

[pensive music playing]

The very first time I was assigned Britney, she was in the middle of this divorce with Kevin.

I was working for an agency, okay?

They gave me the address. They said, “Sit outside the house.”

“When she comes out, follow her.”

My job was to take pictures of her, right?

That period, I was a photographer, and, you know, I was good at it.

I excelled and I learned the job real quick.

[paparazzi yelling]

This is a job for adrenaline junkies and those with a gambling addiction.

There’s nothing sexier than waking up and they say, “This is your assignment.”

You open it up and don’t know who it is.

Male, female, actor, singer, sports celebrity.

So, as a photographer, you can get a few hundred thousand dollars for a picture of Britney.

[Eliscu] At the time of the divorce, Britney was relentlessly chased by the paparazzi.

At the same time, she had friendships with some of them.

[Ghalib] Beautiful.

One night, the agency calls me and tells me the gas station that Britney’s at.

I drive down there.

At the gas station, everyone’s taking pictures.

Twenty dollars’ worth of gas.

[Ghalib] She was having problems with the gas.

You want me to fill it?

I asked Britney, “Can I help you?”

So I start doing it.

And then, one day a photographer calls me and says, “Britney’s asking for you.”

“What do you mean, she’s asking for me?”

Then another photographer calls me who doesn’t know the first photographer.

And he’s like, “Hey, bro. Britney’s asking for you.”

Where’s…? You, come here.

[man] Back it up.

[Ghalib] She felt better if I was present. She felt safer.

Those are her words, not mine.

[whispering] Where’s Adnan?

[man] He’s off.

He’s out today.

I’ll let him know.

[Ghalib] It was a very simple, very easy relationship, you know?

But between her fans and everybody else, it was like I was the bad guy.

Oh, my Lord.

[Ghalib] Like that Disney story, you always want the Prince Charming to be as equally as attractive and equally as beautiful and equally as charming.

We didn’t have that balance.

There was this multimillionaire and me.

[indistinct chatter]

And then there was this famous girl, and then there was me.

There was this white girl, and there was me.

There were nights where she was up and I had to stay up with her, and it’s hard.

To stay up for three days, it’s hard, but you have that fear, it’s a very real fear, that if anything happens to her, they’re just gonna blame you. It’s just so much easier to blame you.

She was taking Adderall.

I’m sure x-amount of millions of people are taking Adderall.

But these are the things that become volatile and deadly weapons when you’re going through a child custody case.

[woman] Hi, Adnan, how are you?

Are you okay? Are you guys in love?

[dramatic music playing]

[Ghalib] What was apparent to me during this divorce with Kevin was, you know, she never had one person she could trust, not one.

Not Mom, not Dad, not friends, not her sister.

Anybody.

And that’s a very scary, dark place to be.

[dramatic music playing]

The hearing this afternoon had to do with a continued interim, or temporary order, that was based on Mr. Federline’s original request to modify custody.

[man] Hold on. Hey, hey. Get back. Get back, sir.

[man 1] You guys have got to get back.

[man 2] Britney!

[man 3] We love you, Britney!

[Carr] By 2007, Britney’s divorce from Kevin was heating up.

What many thought would be a simple case, guided by a strong prenuptial agreement, now seemed to be in question.

Ironclad prenup’s a little bit like the Titanic could never sink.

For every ironclad prenup, there’s a group of attorneys out there that will try to tear it apart.

[Eliscu] Mark Vincent Kaplan, he’s the K-Fed lawyer.

He’s like this kind of old guard, bigtime custody lawyer you might call in a contentious divorce custody case.

He seemed to love being the spokesperson for this high-profile divorce and custody case.

And he definitely has a flair for making a public statement.

The ultimate attack is, how are the children doing?

How safe are the children?

The kids become just pawns.

Kevin is concerned that the more time that the children are with him, he feels the more insulated they are from, uh… risks that would otherwise be constantly visited upon them.

People that care about the children will provide information that is relevant to their best interest.

There’s nothing new, no new facts, there’s not an emergency?

All of those things are true.

I’d represented high-profile people and celebrities before, but this was an order of magnitude far different than anything I’d experienced.

And I had to hit the deck running and learn how to work with the media so that they weren’t working against my client.

Kevin had been treated pretty unfairly.

They were saying, “He’s an unconcerned parent.”

Other people were saying, “Oh, he’s just merely a gold digger.”

He was in a position of not being able to win.

Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t.

[Carr] People wanted to sort of speak ill of him or use him as a joke.

Why’d you think that was?

Well, keep in mind when Kevin and Britney first got married, she was America’s sweetheart. And in many respects, she still is.

And they saw Kevin as someone who in their view, whoever “their” is, wasn’t worthy of having that unique relationship with America’s sweetheart.

They attempted to penalize him for that as much as they could and they…

The press was brutal.

But as the case progressed, um, I think she did certain things that the press found worthy of a media frenzy.

[eerie music playing]

[Carr] As the custody case was battled out in court, the media frenzy only grew.

Everyone seemed to have opinion about Britney Spears.

The media focused less on her music and more on the way that she was living her life.

Britney cycled through legal teams, and became more and more isolated.

There was a period of estrangement between Britney and both of her parents by fall of 2007.

I don’t know how long the estrangements were, where…

Whether there was maybe sporadic communication, but some sources I spoke to talked about Britney having a fear that her family would barge in, I think is how it was put, and take everything.

I mean, and that’s, you know, that’s how-slash-when Sam Lutfi got in.

[Carr] Who is Sam Lutfi?

[Eliscu] Sam Lutfi is the person frequently blamed by both of her parents for her public downfall.

[Carr] There was a lot of controversy around Sam Lutfi and what role he played in this brief period of Britney’s life.

First question. Can you please introduce yourself to us?

Uh, I’m Sam Lutfi.

And who are you?

I’m Britney Spears’s former manager.

[Carr] But in court documents newly discovered from Britney’s divorce, she testified that he was just her “friend sometimes.”

Somebody who helped “get groceries.”

In that time period, he went from being the sometimes friend to somebody calling the shots.

[Lutfi] We met at a bar. We started talking.

She was very funny.

Uh, we had a great conversation.

Um, she had asked me if I’d seen things that were in the press.

I said, “Of course. Like, who hasn’t?” You know, making light of the situation.

She asked for my phone number.

And then left and I never thought I was gonna hear from her again.

Then I get a call from her one night and she tells me, “I need your help.”

[woman] Hey, guys. Just be careful.

[man] Just clear this side for a second.

[Lutfi] You could see that the divorce was impacting her a lot.

And my question to her the whole time was, “I think the best thing would be to have your family around.”

“There’s nothing like having your mom around.”

That’s how it is in my life, but I was just projecting that onto that.

Um, and she would just say, “My relationship is not like your relationship with your family.”

I thought, “What’s the issue?” And so she would…

We would talk about Lynne, uh, in depth.

So there was numerous issues that were going on.

[Carr] And how was her father Jamie involved?

Not at all.

Was it a short amount of time, a long amount of time?

Uh, from what I believe, it’s been years.

[paparazzi clamoring]

[Carr] In the eye of the storm that was 2007, Britney was still able to record and produce an entire studio record.

♪ It’s Britney, bitch ♪

[“Gimme More” playing]

[Carr] The album was Blackout and it sold in the millions.

It is widely considered her best work.

[“Break the Ice” playing]

The music and the videos from Blackout portrayed a pop-y version of what had become the story of Britney’s real life.

A woman hunted and often on the run.

[camera shutter clicks]

[ominous music playing]

This would foreshadow a much darker turn for Britney.

There are paparazzi images of Britney in 2007 that have been seen millions of times.

These images are often coupled with headlines like, “Meltdown” or “Rock Bottom.”

Looking back, you can see she was just a person, a person who needed help.

[haunting music playing]

Throughout that year, paparazzi continued to follow Britney aggressively around Los Angeles.

[woman] She’s crazy.

Oh, my God.

[Carr] She drove at high speeds to avoid them, sometimes running red lights.

There were concerns that if these car chases continued, something terrible could happen.

A lot of people argue that she was crazy, right?

You know, and I fucking hate that word.

Would you say she was upset, would you say she was angry, or would you say she was hurt?

I’d choose all of them before I’d choose crazy.

[helicopter whirring]

[sirens wailing]

[dramatic music playing]

[Carr] In January 2008, police were called to Britney’s residence.

She had locked herself in a room, refusing to turn over the children to Federline’s bodyguard at the court appointed time.

[siren wailing]

[man] Listen up!

Cedar Sinai, this is their property, including the sidewalk that you are standing on.

I need to you to move.

[Carr] At the hospital there was Kevin, Mark Vincent Kaplan, his lawyer, and Britney’s father.

Britney’s parents had been divorced since 2002.

[Culotta] Britney was so close with her mother.

When we were on tour, I mean, she and Lynne talked at least…

Oh, gosh. At the very least, two or three times a day.

[Carr] And what about her dad, Jamie?

Okay, I don’t wanna talk about her daddy. I don’t wanna talk about Jamie.

Um…

The reason I don’t… I will tell you this just so we’ll know.

Jamie wasn’t with us very often, hardly ever.

Um, so it really was me and Lynne.

[Carr] A few days after Britney was released from the hospital, a new figure emerged.

Her name was Louise Taylor.

And she went on The Today Show as a spokesperson for the Spears family.

[Taylor] What I would like to say is that I really feel like people just do not know the Spears family.

What they don’t know about Jamie and Lynne Spears is that every day, Jamie goes to work as a professional chef, asking the Lord to give him the strength to honor the people he works for in the midst of circumstances, that Lynne Spears is a mother that is brokenhearted just because she’s apart from her daughter.

She loves her daughter so much.

And again, asking every day for God to give her strength and for her to continue to have hope.

I mean, I’m so disturbed, Meredith, where we’ve gotten to be as a people, the morbidity of us watching the depravity of people suffering, than to rally around and be hopeful.

So, really, for, I guess, for me to be self-indulgent for a moment, that I would really hope that all those who seek God for strength in their life would be interceding for this family because Jamie Spears, Lynne Spears, Bryan, and Jamie Lynn Spears are all amazing people.

[Carr] From what I’d seen, no one had ever spoken on behalf of the Spears.

[Carr] Who is Lou Taylor?

I will not touch that one.

Sorry.

She will chew me up and spit me out. [chuckles]

[paparazzi chattering]

[Carr] The custody suit grew more contentious when the judge gave Kevin Federline full custody of the two boys.

Soon thereafter, Britney would return to the hospital under another involuntary psychiatric hold.

[man] Mr. Spears, what’s going on? How’s Britney doing?

Can you give us any word, any news on Britney?

[Carr] Jamie Spears petitioned the State of California probate court for a new legal arrangement.

It was called a conservatorship.

[dramatic music playing]

[Eliscu] I started working at Rolling Stone in ’99.

Britney was my second-ever cover story.

I didn’t give a shit about Britney Spears or pop music personally.

It’s not something I paid attention to at all.

Then I met her, and she was just so likable and sweet.

So, in late 2008, when I was assigned to do another cover story on Britney for Rolling Stone, I was excited ’cause I love her and hadn’t seen her in a few years.

And in spite of all of the drama, I was just picturing it the same way it always would be, and, you know, went to L.A. ready to spend some time and started to get told by the label that I’d have to submit my questions ahead of time.

I said to the publicist, “But it’s me, me and Britney.”

And she would say, “Oh, you know, we know Britney loves you, but we just… The conservatorship, we’ve got to.”

I was like, “What the fuck is a conservatorship?”

A conservatorship is a legal process for taking somebody’s ability to make their own decisions away from them and giving them to some third party, aka their conservator, or in other states, it’s the guardian.

Obviously, any process to deprive someone of those liberties and those freedoms would be something we’d want to impose very rarely, only as a last resort, having tried and exhausted all other alternatives.

Some people have called conservatorship tantamount to a civil death.

There’s conservatorship of the person, which is allowing someone else to make your decisions related to your personal affairs.

They lose the ability to decide anything related to their healthcare, so their ability to provide or withhold informed consent for treatments, including drugs, is taken away from them.

And, in many cases, they lose their right to decide who to visit with or receive visits from.

They lose their right to communicate with people of their choosing over the telephone, over the computer.

For a conservatorship of the estate, which often goes with the conservatorship of the person, they’re no longer in charge of their money, theoretically, even the $10 they might have in their pocket.

[camera shutter clicks]

[Eliscu] Jamie was made the sole conservator of the person.

He had to share the conservatorship of the estate with a court-appointed attorney named Andrew Wallet.

You had Jamie who had bankruptcy issues and financial mismanagement of his own life, and they said, “We have Andrew Wallet here as the co-conservator, and has a fiduciary interest,” but in court documents, he talked about the conservatorship as being a “hybrid business model.”

[ominous music playing]

[Eliscu] According to the papers filed with the court on February 6, 2008, the conservators have access to all documents and records related to Britney’s estate.

They can enter and take possession of her house, kick people out, they can issue restraining orders, and employ security guards, they can use Britney’s money to pay attorneys for matters involving the estate, open and operate businesses, hire people for any position necessary, and pay them using funds from the estate.

Why was Jamie made the conservator and not Lynne?

Jamie is intimidating, and people who have known him and met him and worked with him, and even had positive experiences with him, will still tell you that he is very intimidating and when he’s angry, you don’t want to mess with him.

They were really in a moment where they felt they needed to keep away certain people, and he was like the bouncer. He could keep people out.

[Carr] Here we’ve got…

[Eliscu] Larry Rudolph, Britney’s longtime manager.

He started in 1996 as her attorney and then grew into her manager.

But, uh, in April of 2007, Britney fired him.

Larry was the main person that Jamie Spears brought back to get things running, and he’s been her manager ever since.

And he often will say that he’s not involved with the conservatorship or that he doesn’t know what goes on, that he only knows what goes on with Britney’s work.

Louise Taylor, aka Lou, led business decisions at times over the course of the conservatorship.

Louise Taylor’s husband, Rob Taylor, is the pastor of a church called Calvary Chapel.

[man]Lou Taylor started appearing around 2008, before the conservatorship.

And we know this because there is paparazzi footage of her with Britney’s father, Jamie.

And then she somehow managed to become Britney’s business manager.

She is a Christian, so they trusted her a lot more because of that.

[Carr] Lou Taylor, through her attorney Charles Harder, sent me a pre-emptive legal letter regarding any mention of Lou Taylor or her company, Tri Star, in this film.

The letter was extensive.

When I got this notice, I was alarmed.

But receiving a letter from Lou Taylor or her attorney was not unusual for people involved in the story.

While Lou’s involvement with Britney wasn’t clear, what was apparent was that Jamie and Lou were very close.

Some sleuthing of Instagram showed Lou and her husband with Jamie on the day of his baptism at the Jordan River.

This is paperwork relating to Britney’s condition at the start of the conservatorship.

It’s… It’s kind of a standard form where you indicate what the person’s impairment is that requires a conservatorship.

Specifically, this is interesting to us because it’s orders related to dementia placement.

[eerie music playing]

You don’t usually see dementia mentioned with, you know, with a young person.

This is one of the most important filings in the entire conservatorship because when someone is being made a conservatee, they’re entitled to five days’ heads-up, so that if they want to contest it, or find a lawyer, et cetera, they have time to do that.

The only reason given for depriving Britney of five days’ notice is that Sam Lutfi is dangerous and needs to be kept away.

Don’t push! Don’t push.

Get off! Off! Off!

[camera shutter clicks]

[Craker] It was total crisis mode with Sam, and that is something that I don’t believe has really been portrayed correctly, is the level of crisis at the moment that the conservatorship began.

Are you going to [bleep] get out?

Oh, my God, please get the [bleep] out of the way!

Now I’m scared you’re gonna drive off without me.

Now get out of the passenger seat, get out of the [bleep] car.

Get out, get out, get out. Thank you.

They felt they had to do it to protect Britney from Sam.

We’re sort of alluding to what happened, that something dangerous was happening with Sam.

What do you think was going to happen?

He was crushing drugs and putting them in her food and bragging about it to…

[Carr] And you 100% believe that?

Yeah.

[Britney] Drive my [bleep] car, that’s what I got to do.

You have a hundred blood tests and drug tests.

The entire time I was with her, she passed every single one of them, which is why the police never came to my door.

No one called the police.

To be char… Accused of allegations that serious, that you’re drugging the world’s biggest star, you call the police.

You call the FBI. You don’t call TMZ.

I was the perfect scapegoat.

[Carr] Why?

I was new. They didn’t know who I was.

I was just an expendable guy.

Like, all right, if that’s what you need to get this done and waive a five-day notice, and explain a five-day notice, it means that she would have been notified that this was gonna happen, and she would’ve had the right to contest to it.

She would have obviously contested it. They knew that, everyone knew that.

And so they had to do everything to prevent that from happening.

[horn honks]

[Carr] Sam would later sue Lynne Spears, Britney’s mom, for defamation based on her account of his involvement.

[dramatic music playing]

Britney went with one of her dad’s appointed security guards… out to get a hamburger.

As I am told, they both entered the restaurant, and Britney sort of did an about-face, jumped into the car that he had brought her in and took off.

Uh, she called me and said that she needed help.

I met her and a friend of hers at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

[Carr] Adnan Ghalib?

[Grossman] Correct.

We called Adam.

He was a part of a firm that I had a relationship with.

[helicopter whirring]

We were chased probably by, I don’t know, 50, 75 vehicles.

[paparazzi clamoring]

It is so mean.

[Streisand] We met in my office, which was crazy, ’cause we had helicopters swirling over the building.

There must have been a hundred paparazzi.

I sent down my secretary, who brought a guy from the mailroom who’s like 6’6″ and 250 pounds, to help Britney get up from the garage to my office.

[Ghalib] Yes.

[woman] I’m Adam’s secretary.

We gotta go.

[woman] Just follow me.

My secretary, Dolores Gameros, who’s like 5’4″, was elbowing everybody out of the way and getting her through the crowd and got her up to the office, which was just an unbelievable sight.

But you can imagine what it is like for anyone to have to go through that.

[crowd clamoring]

[man] Don’t kick me!

I can’t tell you about what we talked about, right? Because that’s privileged.

But I can tell you what I told the court.

So we walk into court and I said, “Your Honor, she doesn’t want her father to be the conservator.”

“She wants an independent to be the conservator.”

She clearly understood the concept of a conservatorship.

She understood what was going to happen.

She could make some decisions about it, and let me say, I’m not gonna say that in every case, every conservatorship case, it’s inappropriate to have a family member as the conservator.

That would be going too far.

But I will say that I generally prefer to see an independent professional as the conservator.

And the reason is that family relationships are always complex.

When I told the judge what Britney wanted, the judge looked at me and said,

“Mr. Streisand, I have a report that says she does not have the capacity to retain counsel and have an attorney-client relationship.”

“So I’m sorry, Mr. Streisand, but you’re not gonna be able to represent her and I need to ask you to the leave the courtroom.” And I did.

[man 1] Can you give us a heads-up on what happened here today?

No, I’m sorry.

I’ve talked to the press.

[man 2] How’s Britney?

There’s no law that says that conservatees have the right to the attorney of their choice.

It’s a hole in the system, for sure, that allows the courts to impose their own ideas of what is the best representation for the conservatee.

They have what’s called this volunteer panel of lawyers, which basically means that the lawyers volunteer.

Doesn’t mean they’re working for free. Far from it.

But they volunteer to get appointed by the court to represent people like Britney, people who are conservatees or proposed conservatees.

I can’t tell you what happened in court after I left.

I don’t know whether Sam Ingham, who was appointed as her lawyer, argued the way that I argued, that the conservator shouldn’t be Britney’s father.

I’ve got my suspicions.

I sure hope Sam Ingham fought hard against, uh, against it, but I never heard that he did.

[Chicotel] We have very particular standards for conservatorship.

You have to be unable to meet your needs for food, clothing, health, and shelter.

So let me put it this way, I’ve represented dozens of conservatees in court, not one of them has ever had a job.

[ominous music playing]

Somebody called me from People and they said,

“We’re gonna write a story in regards to her father wanting conservatorship of Britney.”

They basically, you know, explained it in one sentence.

“He will be Britney Spears.” That’s all they said. I said, “What do you mean? Britney Spears is still here.”

“Nope. She no longer has rights or say over anything.”

“He does.”

I’m like, “Well, why would that be the case?”

“She’s functioning.”

I watched her write the Blackout album on a Starbucks napkin on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City.

I watched her sit there and put the moves together.

And we’re talking about, you know, what colors to use and, you know, the scenery, and the change of scenery, and the backdrop and costumes.

She did all that, and you’re telling me that her father’s gonna get a conservatorship?

It didn’t make sense to me.

[journalist] I’m from In Touch magazine.

Let me give you a fucking clue, I don’t talk to no-fucking-body.

[journalist] Why don’t you talk to us?

‘Cause I never have to talk to anybody, you dumb fuck.

[suspenseful music playing]

[Carr] The source said,

“This is a confidential report only a select few have access.”

“Most doctors and other professionals have not been publicly connected to the case and would like to remain that way.”

“The report was produced by a doctor that resigned from the case in 2013.”

Look at this sentence right here. Read it out loud.

[Eliscu] “Britney Spears lacks capacity to retain and direct counsel.”

“Britney Spears lacks the capacity to understand or manage her own financial affairs without being subject to undue influence.”

What’s wild is, at the same time this report was written, Britney was back to work.

She was on the set of How I Met Your Mother.

Sir, please don’t yell at me, because when people yell at me, I have a tendency to start crying.

[Eliscu] The episode was out within two months of the conservatorship starting.

When they’re rude to you, hang up the phone.

Yet we have paperwork that says she had dementia.

How is someone who is that ill well enough to go to work?

“Caution should also be exercised so as not to accelerate her return to work faster than her emotional recovery allows, lest she have a relapse that would undo the progress she has made thus far.”

[Carr] The medical team said that Britney lacked capacity, but who was the original doctor that made that decision?

In looking at the publicly available court documents, there was only one name listed in the initial evaluation, a Dr. J. Edward Spar.

I needed to confirm that he was the doctor that conducted the medical evaluation that kept the conservatorship in place.

We’re ready for slate.

And what the justification was.

[woman] Dr. James, uh…

Spar.

[woman] Spar.

Take one, mark.

[man] Thank you.

[Carr] Dr. Spar, tell me about your work.

I am a retired, uh, geriatric psychiatrist and still do the occasional consultation for attorneys, including, you know, contested conservatorships sometimes.

[Carr] Had you heard of Britney Spears’ music before you met her?

You know, uh, I’m not a fan. I don’t listen to music of that ilk.

But, yeah, I know who she is.

Wait, before I met her?

Yeah.

Oh, wait, I’m not going to acknowledge that I’ve ever met her.

[Carr] Do you specialize in dementia?

Well, I’m a geriatric psychiatrist, so that’s one of the things that geriatric psychiatrists spend a lot of time and energy on, yeah.

Is that why you were brought in to evaluate Britney Spears?

I’m not going to verify that I was ever brought in to evaluate Britney Spears.

So here is a court document that said, uh, “According to Dr. Spar’s declaration.”

Okay. Again, show me my signed declaration.

If you show me a public document with my signature on it, I will verify my signature.

Other than that, I’m not gonna talk about whether anybody ever retained me to see anybody, not just Britney Spears.

These are confidential evaluations.

[Carr] But you think, for the most part, that conservatorships are, um, mostly to help people?

The ones where I have been involved, the person who’s filing for the conservatorship believes that they are acting in the interests of their proposed conservatee.

They’re trying to protect them from something.

Usually, most of the cases I’ve been involved in, what they’re trying to protect them from is a predatory individual after that person’s money.

[somber music playing]

[Ghalib] I get a phone call from her father.

And he’s like, “I need you to come home right now.”

I said, “We’ll come home when we come home.”

And he said, “No, you need to bring her home now.”

“I’m the conservator of her estate.”

You know, he was always so extreme. You know?

Let me explain to you how fucking devastating it was for me to pull up at the gates and there’s her father standing there, four of the security, and two officers.

And they’re standing there, and she freaks out.

“What are they doing here? Why are they here?”

“Why is my father at my house? Who are these people? Why are the cops here?”

And she looks at me.

I’m supposed to be the one that protects her.

And I’m trying to calm her down. I cannot.

I’m trying to explain to her, “He is your conservator.”

“Without his permission, because he is you, I’ve kidnapped you.”

“And it’s that real.”

She just looks. She doesn’t talk anymore. She’s completely silent.

You know, they escort her into the house.

That’s when the realization was, “Okay, I don’t think things are gonna be the same.”

[camera shutter clicking]

[Carr] As 2008 continued, Britney had reportedly negotiated 50-50 custody of her kids.

The amount of time she spent with them was subject to the approval of her dad and conservator, Jamie.

[indistinct chatter]

Britney seemed to be recovering from the events that led to her hospitalization.

It was deemed by Britney, Inc. that it was time to work, and work she did.

[indistinct chatter]

It started with recording a new album, and then the idea of a tell-all documentary was proposed.

This MTV Film would be called For the Record.

This was a new time in Britney’s professional life, and it meant those that worked with her would be carefully selected

by the conservatorship.

It was interesting going through a lot of this with other creatives and people who were sort of from the outside.

I remember at one point talking amongst us and realizing that, like, there wasn’t a single person that was involved with that project that didn’t come out feeling affected emotionally.

Like, not a single person.

[Britney] If I wasn’t under the restraints that I’m under right now, with all the lawyers and doctors and people analyzing me every day and all that kind of stuff, like, if that wasn’t there, I’d feel so liberated and feel like myself.

It’s like… It’s bad.

[somber music playing]

I’m sad.

[Jamie] The best thing for her is what she’s doing right now.

Let’s give her… She’s in her element. She’s in her world.

And, uh, keeping her busy. You know, like me, I like to go fishing.

She likes to sing and dance. She likes to work.

Are they gonna bring something here or something?

I have no idea what’s going on.

Yes, you do, brat.

Does everybody know what we’re doing?

[man] Yep.

Except me.

[man] Except you.

Is that my car?

[Gallery] I was there that day, and I remember, like with almost everything, there were these two polar opposite feelings.

Like, it was so nice for her to get to drive her car with the top down and just feel free for a minute.

But on the other hand, I’m thinking, like, what is going on with this girl that we have to arrange…

Thirty people have to arrange this whole thing to let her drive her car to feel free for 30 minutes?

Like, in what context?

Like… Like, how is that how she gets to feel free?

The whole thing is fucked up. I’m sorry.

[crowd cheering]

Britney and I had become close.

I could shoot her in a way that not all the other camera people could.

Um, and so then we just developed this sort of close-knit friendship.

There were times she’d ask me for help, whether it was questions about legal issues or, you know, stuff about conservatorships.

Um, and I would usually try and deflect these things because if I didn’t have an answer,

I didn’t want to give her any wrong information.

Um, but I know that there were times that she did want to speak out and address things and wasn’t really able to.

This People article came out.

I think they had interviewed Kevin and obviously talked about Britney.

And there was stuff she didn’t really agree with.

And it’s like she wanted to respond to it.

And so, yeah, she wrote this letter and she gave it to me and she was like, “Can you read this on TV?”

“What happened to Britney was a year ago and people need to get with the times.”

“And as for Kevin saying Britney divorced him, she was forced to by her lawyers because she went to visit him in New York, and he wouldn’t see her and the children.”

“And her lawyer said if she doesn’t divorce him, he’s gonna do it himself.”

“So, Kevin trying to play the innocent victim is hardly irrelevant.”

“He left her and the babies.”

“Her going on the mend, partying two years ago, has nothing to do with the situation now.”

“She’s a different person, and most of their fighting was done back then because of his problem waking and baking to marijuana at 5:00 in the morning.”

“No one talks about these things because no one knows the truth.”

“She was lied to and set up.”

“Her children were taken away and she did spin out of control, which any mother would in those circumstances.”

“This year, Britney’s been silenced to speak out about anything that’s going on.”

“The people controlling her life have made $3 million this year.”

“She would love for new eyes to see her situation, but if she brings it up, she’s constantly threatened that the conservators will take her kids away.”

“So how long does this go on for?”

“As long as the people are getting paid and she has no rights, it could go on for a while, but it doesn’t make it right at all.”

“Britney’s given her brother a $2 million apartment, her mother an estate in Louisiana, and her father the best job in show business.”

“She’s a very giving person and would love to get the respect she deserves.”

It was an emotional response to the article coming out, and it is like her first response.

For me not to read it all on TV right away was also saying, why don’t you just take a couple days and cool down from this?

And then a couple days later, maybe we can revisit it.

Things like this would happen often, not necessarily like this letter, but like trying to use my phone to call people.

Those are the things you had to look out for and steer her away from.

And then, a couple days later, I got a phone call from the lawyers.

The letter had some, you know, some information that would be really bad if it came out or something like that.

And so, all of a sudden, the letter turned into a much bigger thing.

And then, you know, I just brought it in and showed it to them, and that was that.

[Carr] But you had enough foresight to copy the letter?

I wouldn’t call it foresight.

I think that when she gave it to me, we took a picture of it because I didn’t want to actually carry the letter.

And what was that experience like for you?

I mean, again, like, I always just felt bad for her.

I felt bad that, like, this was her reality and her world, where she gave me a letter, and then, all of a sudden, this huge fire alarm goes off.

It’s crazy. All she wanted to do was respond to an article.

[Carr] How much longer did you work with Britney after that?

It was pretty shortly after that that I stopped working with her.

I think at that point it was obvious that we were close and pretty good friends.

Um…

I mean, this was coming after I was her date for her brother’s wedding.

And, you know, we had developed, you know, I think just like a good trust.

And maybe we were too close at that point.

And so, yeah, shortly after that, I got removed.

I actually… I don’t think I’ve spoken to her since.

And Britney had met a bunch of my friends.

You know? She had, you know, like sort of come into my life.

And, you know, it was just sad to think that she was gonna be alone again.

[pensive music playing]

[Eliscu] In January of 2009, I went to L.A. for the winter, and I had made contact with Sam Lutfi.

He’d been a good background source for the Rolling Stone cover story, and we had kept in touch even after it came out.

Then he told me about the fact that he and Adnan had been trying to come up with a plan to help her find a different lawyer.

She still, in January of 2009, still wanted a different lawyer if she could get one.

This was a full year of the conservatorship supposedly having saved her life.

They had been talking to different lawyers who thought that if they could get her to sign this document saying why she wanted a new lawyer and why she wanted the specific lawyer that that would be something that would just have to happen then and there would be no way to refute it.

At that time, Sam and Adnan were persona non grata.

They had been completely forbidden from having access to Britney.

And within days of me arriving in L.A., Sam started talking about trying to get her to sign this thing and trying to find someone who might get her to sign.

I can’t say there was a specific moment that convinced me to do it.

Of course, I was concerned about being a participant in the story I was trying to cover objectively.

But, at that point, I had known Britney Spears for a decade almost, so I cared about her in a human way that there was no denying it at that point, that I could be more useful as a Good Samaritan almost than another journalist trying to cover the story.

[man] Anything to say about the conservatorship today?

[Eliscu] Sam explained to me that I would need to go to the Montage and she would be waiting for me.

And she would know to come meet me in the bathroom.

I just walked in thinking, “Pretend I’m a guest.”

I took the elevator up and I walked out and I saw Edon, her security guard, up there and maybe one other, like, security-looking dude.

She was just in the pool by herself. Just leaning on the edge of the pool.

Um, and I kind of gave her a little side-eye and saw her see me, and then went into this small bathroom.

I went into the stall, closed the door, and got the papers and the pen ready, and saw her tattoo on her foot or ankle or whatever it is, and opened the door and I showed her the spots where she needed to sign.

And she signed and looked at me and said, “Thank you.”

And I said…

I said, “I’ll see you again. Go.”

Yeah, she definitely seemed scared. It was hard to tell ’cause I was scared.

But she was appreciative, which was, like, such classic kind of her vibe to be, in that moment to be scared but to also be grateful, you know?

[eerie music playing]

I thought the documents were gonna be delivered right away.

I was told there would be an ex parte hearing to address this, but then days passed and Britney was supposed to go on a trip somewhere with her dad.

And we thought that when he sees that she signed it, he’ll know that things are gonna change.

I couldn’t believe it when I found out, about a week later, that it was all over and that, similar to what had happened with Adam Streisand, that it had been ruled that she lacked the capacity to choose a lawyer and that they had cast enough doubt on to whether that was her signature.

I never heard anything of it again.

No one ever talked about it again, and still no one really talks about the fact that there was another attempt to get a lawyer that somehow didn’t work out.

[Carr] But someone else knew about the incident at the Montage.

Seven days after Britney signed the papers saying she wanted new representation, the court-appointed lawyer for the conservatorship, Sam Ingham, stated that Britney told him she’d met with a reporter from Rolling Stone to sign documents about acquiring new counsel.

He went on to say, “Britney does not wish to do that,” and asked him to do whatever is necessary to “squash the document.”

She further stated that she was, “Fully satisfied with my representation of her.”

That same day, the attorney she had tried to hire, John Anderson, withdrew, stating, “I can say no more; will do no more.” And, “That is the end for me.”

It was another time that Britney had tried to seek her own representation and it failed.

[Chicotel] It’s the conservatee’s attorney is the one person in this system who is tasked with making the conservatee’s best case for whatever the conservatee wants.

I’ve seen so many instances where those attorneys are not representing what their clients want.

[Streisand] Keep in mind that the only way that Sam Ingham gets paid is he has to file a petition with the court, and then the conservator have the right to object to him getting paid or the fees he’s asking for.

Obviously, there is a natural tendency to say, “Well, I certainly don’t want to be pissing off the people who are gonna have the ability to object to me getting paid.”

[Carr] What is your reaction to knowing that a court-appointed attorney is making over 3 million dollars, like as… In this position?

My reaction is that he’s on a gravy train and he’ll ride it all the way to the end.

[man] Are you concerned for Britney’s mental health?

[Carr] By early 2009, Jamie Spears asked that the temporary conservatorship of his daughter be made permanent.

And there was a range of new specific powers and privileges that would be given to the conservatorship, spanning from using funds from the estate to pay for a car for Jamie… to giving him more complete control over Britney’s personal finances.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the permanent conservatorship would allow Jamie to pursue professional opportunities available to Britney once they’re approved by her medical team.

[“Circus” playing over speakers]

[scatting]

Britney was preparing for a huge tour, whatever concerns the conservatorship’s medical team had about her health and overworking seemed to be forgotten.

[Eliscu] First off, ticket sales are going phenomenally well.

Sales have generated about 40 million.

Second, there seems to be an opportunity to add two shows at the end of the U.S. leg on very attractive financial terms.

So this is before the Circus tour.

They don’t even know yet if she’s gonna be, like, okay to tour, but they’re adding more dates.

Right.

They went from temporary conservatorship to permanent conservatorship, and Circus was that year.

So us noting that there was financial incentives for Larry, for Jamie, for the lawyers to get her working, A, but get her working more.

[audience cheering]

[Carr] The Circus tour was performed over the course of nine months and totaled 70 shows spanning the world.

[Eliscu] I’ve had people tell me that there were conversations explicitly about how quickly she could come back.

They probably felt like it was important to show her looking healthy and okay as quickly as possible to prove that what they decided to do was the right decision.

[man] Britney!

Britney!

[Gallery] There’s nothing relaxing about being on a tour.

Flying all over the world, being in different countries every few days.

[reporter] Are you sick of your dad being conservator?

[Gallery] I can only imagine how stressful and challenging that might be for her.

Was she in the right mental state to put all that time and energy into doing a whole…? Revamping her entire career and doing this comeback?

It’s like, that’s hard.

We’ve had, on background, conversations with people who were on the tour.

They said it was a mess. They said it was bad for Britney’s health.

[audience cheering]

[Carr] The conservatorship stated that they had successfully added financial growth and stability to Britney’s life.

“Her main focus, almost to the point of obsession, was getting more time with her children.”

“Her second preoccupation was whether the conservatorship would end and whether her father Jamie Spears would be more lenient with her privileges.”

Oh, man. She gets an allowance, she’s got “privileges,” and her daddy is in charge.

That’s the patriarchy.

[groans]

[somber music playing]

[Britney squealing]

[Carr] In 2009, Britney had a new boyfriend.

It was her agent, Jason Trawick.

[Jamie] You need to go over there.

If you don’t go over, we’re gonna leave. Y’all ain’t gonna get no pictures.

[Carr] By the fall of 2011, he was featured in Britney’s music video “Criminal.”

[man groans, grunts]

[Carr] Jason, newly buff, played her outlaw boyfriend.

You okay?

Yeah.

Wait.

Now I’m okay.

[engine revving]

Jason was, like, a very smart, very sweet, very caring…

Like, he was one of the guys that I would confide in, and we would talk about all that was happening.

We both had an objective point of view because, at the time, neither of us were dating her or engaged to her or anything like that.

♪ ‘Cause mama I’m in love With a criminal ♪

♪ And this type of love isn’t rational ♪

To see the role that he transitioned into, I mean, again, it’s like, I never would’ve seen that coming.

[woman over speakers] Bet you know what that means.

[crowd] Britney!

[Eliscu] So this is from a doctor with the conservatorship to Sam Ingham.

“I had an interview and assessment session with Jason.”

“I found him to be forthcoming and open, though fearful that whatever he said might be held against him or place him at odds with others with whom he might need to get along in the future.”

“He appears to be genuinely in love with Britney.”

“His philosophy is Britney will have to learn to live without a conservator.”

“He feels that the present arrangement is too constrictive.”

“Jason states inconveniences Britney has to go through under the conservatorship.”

“For example, they wanted to drive within a gated community on a golf cart, but have to ask permission each time.”

“If they want to go out to a hamburger joint, they have to call for permission and wait 20 minutes or more for an answer.”

“If Britney needs a few hundred dollars to buy books for her kids, she has to ask and wait a few days for an answer.”

This was right after Britney finished the huge, giant tour.

That was Femme Fatale.

What the fuck?

Look at the next page.

“Toward the end of the tour, significant tensions arose between Jamie Spears, Britney’s father and conservator, and Britney.”

[Carr] Right, and then look at this.

“Britney began to complain about Jamie’s drinking.”

“She is especially adamant that Jamie be punished.”

“This seems to be a lightning rod for all of her complaints about the conservatorship itself.”

“In a simple way, she feels that if she is drug tested, so should he be.”

“If she were to suffer a great penalty, like losing her kids, if she tested positive, he should suffer an equally great penalty for his drinking.”

And this is again, the most sort of, some of the most damning stuff.

“Britney wants to come off the conservatorship.”

[dramatic music playing]

“At times, she seems to understand the benefits of the conservatorship.”

“She indicates she would go along with the conservatorship of the estate, but mostly she wants to end the conservatorship of the person.”

The conservatorship has maintained Britney has never once asked for it to be terminated and that if it was that bad, she would tell people about it.

But we have here in evidence that she wanted out of the conservatorship, that she was vocalizing that need, and that it was ignored.

[man exclaims]

[all] ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪

Really?

[Carr] In December 2011, Britney and Jason became engaged.

Four months later, she requested Jason be added as her conservator.

But instead of Jason replacing Jamie, the court ruled in what could be considered a compromise.

Jason Trawick and Jamie are made co-conservators versus Jamie being removed.

[Eliscu] Which just feels so weird.

At the time, I thought that it was interesting that Jamie would give over even that small amount of control to someone theoretically new or a non-family member.

[Carr] With her father and fiancé as co-conservators of her person, Britney inked a reported $15 million deal to judge X Factor.

Behind the scenes, confidential reports given to us showed that the conservatorship was in chaos.

The medical team thought that X Factor put undue pressure on Britney, whereas her management said that withdrawing would be just as bad as a publicly observed meltdown.

Under intense pressure from Britney’s management, the medical team cautiously approved Britney’s participation, but said there would be strict guidelines for their approval to stay in place, which included that Jason Trawick’s presence was, quote, “mandatory.”

And then the big bombshell is that we have direct evidence that her medication, the medication that she liked to take, was increased if she worked.

There’s different dosages on, quote-unquote, “non-work days and work days.”

[Carr] Look at the next page.

[Eliscu] “On the one hand, Jamie and the team valued the benefits of stimulants for Britney’s performance.”

“This had been the case for her tours and for her participation on X Factor.”

“By the same token, Jamie wanted B ritney not to take stimulants.”

“This contradiction has not been resolved.”

[audience cheering]

[Carr] From the public’s perspective, Britney’s performance on The X Factor was a success.

Less than a year later, though, Britney and Jason would break up, making Jamie the sole conservator of the person once again.

[Eliscu] “On the subject of X Factor itself, there is estimated to be a 50-50 chance they will invite her to return, but at this time it appears that she would decline.”

“Instead, her current plan is to create a Las Vegas-style revue to perform at a Las Vegas hotel over threeor four-day weekend dates once or twice a month.”

What does it say right after that?

“I believe this is an appropriate career move from the perspective of her psychiatric condition.”

[audience cheering]

It’s so hot.

Okay, so… being single for a year…

Yeah!

…has been very, very, very profound.

And I feel like all men should suck my toe.

[Carr] Britney’s Vegas residency started in 2013, and it was called Piece of Me.

The show would span five years and culminate in a world tour.

Very little is known about Britney’s life during this time period.

The conservatorship kept her inner circle very small.

Candid Britney interviews were rare.

Unguarded public moments only seemed to happen when she was talking to her audience.

Honestly, without the music, just the mic, it kind of feels illegal.

Like it’s quiet right now, and it… It feels kind of illegal doing this with this mic in my hand now.

It feels so weird.

Okay, so the press and the media, my whole life, it’s really crazy, ’cause one minute they tear you down and they’re really horrible, and the next minute, you’re on top of the world you know?

But I just want to make sure I keep handing you motherfuckers something to talk about, okay?

[audience cheering]

[upbeat music starts playing]

[Carr]What was it like going to the Vegas show?

[Baron] When she found out I was there, she wanted to see me backstage.

And it was like we both just immediately just embraced and just cried, just sat there and cried and locked arms.

We hadn’t seen each other in years, hadn’t spoken.

And when I saw her, it’s like something in her eyes, it was like the old Britney, I guess you can say.

It was as if we were right back to where we were many, many years before.

I think that’s why we both broke down and cried.

And her bodyguard walked me back to my seat, and he said to me, I remember this, he said, um…

He goes, “I don’t know what you just did to her and what your relationship was like, but can you come back more?”

“In the nine years I’ve worked for her, I’ve never seen her smile like that.”

There aren’t a lot of people in her life that are from those days.

It’s myself, Felicia and a couple other people.

I got called back to do Circus Tour, Femme Fatale, and then the four years in Vegas.

I had much less contact with her.

But I made sure, every show, she knew I was there.

[Carr] And then did she continue to love performing?

I mean, it’s such an intense schedule.

What was her relationship like with performing?

Britney loved performing.

Hands down, still to this second, loves performing.

Um… I think that’s probably as much as I can say about that.

[softly] Sorry. I don’t want to fight with them. It’s not worth it to me. I’m sorry.

[ominous music playing]

[Carr] The one thing we know for sure is that Britney worked almost nonstop and made other people a lot of money.

[announcer] All right, everyone. We are here to welcome the new queen of Vegas!

[Carr] In January 2019, Britney announced a new Vegas residency.

It would be called Domination.

[audience cheering]

[announcer] Ladies and gentlemen, Britney Spears!

[Carr] When she walked dow n the red carpet, it felt like she was almost about to say something.

But then she didn’t.

Three months later, via Instagram, Britney would cancel the show, citing family health concerns.

And the world was watching.

That was a huge moment when the fan community began to suspect that something weird was going on in 2019.

There was even, like, missing posters being shared around social media.

Kind of as a joke, but also like we literally haven’t seen her in, like, weeks, if not months.

And cut to April 2019, we find out that Britney was placed into a mental health facility against her will.

That’s what is believed, and she was being given medication she did not wanna take.

I know that there are a lot of voices I’ve heard from many different quarters that Britney is being held as a prisoner, in effect, against her will.

And when I’ve been asked do I think that’s accurate, I think you have to say to yourself it’s not as if Los Angeles is some type of fascist gulag, where, in order to get a message to the outside world, you have to write it down on a piece of birch bark and in code, then throw it over an electrified fence to an unsuspecting gardener.

If she wanted to get a message out as far as being held against her will, I can’t even imagine the numbers of ways she can do that.

[Carr] Eventually, Britney resurfaced via an Instagram video.

Hi, guys. Just checking in with all of you who are concerned. All is well.

My family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety lately, so I just needed time to deal. Don’t worry, I’ll be back very soon.

[Carr] The video only increased public speculation.

What was going on inside the conservatorship, and why was she in one if she was, quote, “okay”?

[Eliscu] We know that in summer of 2019, after there was already beginning to be some chaos in the conservatorship for the first time in more than a decade, that there was an incident where a confrontation occurred between Jamie and one of Britney’s sons.

And Kevin Federline, you know, his father and Britney’s ex, had a restraining order filed against Jamie, such that he’s not allowed to be in the presence of the children for a specified period of years.

[Carr] What’s been in public record is there was an altercation, a door was broken down, one of her sons was shaken.

Um, the restraining order was based on an unauthorized…

Uh, let’s just say it had to do with conduct that put the children in fear of their safety.

How did a door get broken?

Um… I think a door was slammed in some regard, and, uh, it caused the door to come off the hinge or something in that regard.

[ominous music playing]

[Carr] At the end of 2019, Lou Taylor resurfaced in court documents.

She had e-mailed Jamie, saying her company, Tri Star, had lost $400,000 in billing in 2019 for work as Britney’s business manager.

She requested a minimum of $500,000.

Yet it was a time when Britney wasn’t working.

When Jamie was sent a bill the month later, he paid the funds the next day.

This is what Jamie Spears, in July 2020, said of Britney Spears, of the conservatorship and the need for it.

Why don’t we do here?

“James P. Spears respectfully submits this status update to provide information in advance of and regarding some of the topics that were addressed at the last hearing.”

“The conservatee, Britney, has refused to engage in any business activities, including making a non-performing appearance at a local pop-up store dedicated to the conservatee, where minimal effort was required, resulting in the estate being required to refund the advance it had received in the amount of $1 million.”

[Carr] “The conservatee’s lack of cooperation in her own financial well-being and preservation of her continued stature as an iconic artist has deteriorated rather than improved.”

“As a result of the conservatee’s trajectory, Mr. Spears has been working to establish a model where Ms. Spear’s current lifestyle can be preserved and her needs met based solely on passive income.”

“Given the state of the economy and this enormous cost of maintaining her lifestyle, this is a tall order.”

Her lifestyle, which includes all these legal bills.

All of these interviews and all of these hours talking to her and describing her and criticizing her and limiting her, and none of this led to anything.

It just all stayed the same.

They could go into court a million times, keep doing hearing after hearing, filing after filing, and analysis after analysis, and never change anything, and she’s still in this situation.

How do you get out?

I just…

You don’t get out until you scream.

[emotional music playing]

[Carr] If you were able to speak to her, what would you tell her?

What would you say?

[Gallery] I feel like, maybe I’d apologize.

I feel like I didn’t, you know, do enough, and maybe I would just… let her know that I felt bad about not being able to help more.

I don’t understand how the legal system has let this go on for so long.

Maybe it’s like the first one of its kind and they don’t know how to handle it, but it seems like it’s an epic fail of the legal system that this has gone on for so long and that there’s been no resolution even.

It just seems like it keeps getting worse.

It feels like something’s gonna happen. Definitely, something’s gonna happen.

[man] What do we want?

[crowd] Free Britney!

[man] When do we want it?

[crowd] Now!

[man] What do we want?

[crowd] Free Britney!

[man] When do we want it?

[crowd] Now!

So you’re in?

It’s not playing anything.

It’s 4:30. [laughs]

[groans]

[Carr] This is us trying to get into the court hearing.

[Eliscu laughs]

[crowd] Free Britney now!

Today will be the first time she will speak.

At stake is control of the 39-year-old singer’s career and $60 million fortune.

[suspenseful music playing]

[inaudible dialogue]

Going through introductionsslash-formalities, Britney says, quote,

[Britney] I have a lot to say, so bear with me.

I don’t think I was heard on any level when I came to court the last time.

I brought four sheets of paper in my hand and wrote in length what I had been through the last four months before I came there.

The people who did that to me should not be able to walk away so easily.

I’ll recap.

I was on tour. My management said if I don’t do this, I will have to find an attorney, and by contract, my own management could sue me if I didn’t follow through with the tour.

It was very threatening and scary, and with the conservatorship, I couldn’t even get my own attorney.

So, out of fear, I went ahead and I did the tour.

When I came off that tour, a new show in Las Vegas was supposed to take place.

I started rehearsing early, but it was hard ’cause I’d been doing Vegas for four years and I needed a break in between.

But, no, I was told, “This is the timeline and this is how it’s gonna go.”

I was basically directing most of the show.

I taught my dancers my new choreography myself.

I wasn’t good. I was great.

[dramatic music playing]

They said, if I don’t want to do the new Vegas show, I don’t have to.

It was like lifting, literally, 200 pounds off of me.

He immediately, the next day, put me on lithium out of nowhere.

He took me off my normal meds I’d been on for five years.

And lithium is a very, very strong and completely different medication compared to what I was used to.

Not only did my family not do a goddamn thing, my dad was all for it.

He loved every minute of it.

The control he had over someone as powerful as me… 100,000% he loved it.

That’s why I’m telling you this again, two years later, after I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m okay and happy, it’s a lie.

I thought maybe I said that enough, maybe I might become happy because I’ve been in denial, I’ve been in shock.

I am traumatized.

But now I’m telling you the truth.

I’m not happy. I can’t sleep.

I’m so angry, it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.

The reason I’m telling you this is because I don’t think how the state of California can have all this written in the court documents from the time I showed up and do absolutely nothing.

Ma’am, my dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship should be in jail.

The last time I spoke to you, it made me feel like I was dead, like I didn’t matter.

I’m telling you this again, so maybe you can understand the depth and the degree and the damage that they did to me back then.

It’s embarrassing and demoralizing what I’ve been through, and that’s the main reason I’ve never said it openly.

And I didn’t want to say it openly ’cause I honestly didn’t think anyone would believe me.

I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough.

It makes no sense whatsoever for the state of California to sit back and literally watch me make a living for so many people and be told I’m not good enough.

But I’m great at what I do.

[audience chanting] Britney, Britney, Britney!

[Britney] I feel ganged up on, and I feel bullied, and I feel left out and alone.

And I’m tired of feeling alone.

I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does by having a child, a family, any of those things.

That’s all I wanted to say to you, and thank you so much for letting me speak to you today.

[pensive music playing]

[pensive music continues]

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Dune (2021)

Dune (2021) | Transcript

A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny