Woman who has been the conservator of pop star for 10 years denies decision was an act of “slacktivism.”
Las Vegas is standing up to pop star Britney Spears, turning away from the traditional way of resolving the star’s public disputes — with a court order that allows a man who has controlled her finances since 2007 to keep it.
A judge ruled Tuesday that Spears, who has been in the conservatorship for 10 years, still has control over her personal and business affairs, and she retains custody of her two sons.
They are now overseen by one of Spears’ fathers and an attorney.
Clark County District Court Judge Reva Goetz wrote that she was “heartened” by Spears’ progress on counseling and managing her “demons.” She said concerns raised by attorneys for Spears’ conservators gave her reason to conclude that no major changes were needed.
On Thursday, Goetz announced she was dissolving the conservatorship. But at Tuesday’s hearing, her ruling was contingent on the conservators agreeing to end a court order that keeps them tightly and anonymously involved in her personal and business affairs.
Billie Lourd, the 24-year-old niece of “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher, died in December after a long battle with mental illness. Goetz noted that she is not a conservator and had no say in Spears’ decisions.
“We really wanted it to be the end of this,” William Campbell, a lawyer for Spears’ conservators, said after the hearing. “We’re actually happy she’s so well.”
He said Spears’ estate has recovered to the point where it is making money on her music.
In an interview after the hearing, Spears told TMZ she has been in a long-term relationship, is in a better place and has a high opinion of herself.
“I just want to do good things and be great,” she said.
Spears’ attorney, Greg Glickman, argued that an absence of dramatic, destructive developments showed the conservatorship had run its course. He said the Spears estate’s most recent financial statement suggests a “greater level of wealth than when the conservatorship began in February 2007.”
Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, has never sought the conservatorship over his daughter.
But Goetz wrote that the pair both could not appreciate “the energy and level of involvement” they brought to her life since her mother’s death in December.
Glickman also questioned the need for that level of involvement. He said Jamie Spears has his own career and raised his own family and testified at last month’s hearing that he does not need the conservatorship, and he and his daughter are good friends.
Jamie Spears is a sports agent who represented his daughter’s former boyfriend, Lance Bass, and has said he was distraught at the time of Spears’ breakdown in 2008. He has said he was solely concerned with conserving her money and improving her situation.
A spokesman for Jamie Spears did not respond to requests for comment after Tuesday’s hearing.
Lately, the conservatorship has become a cause celebre for fans and the spotlight on domestic relations in celebrity-filled Los Angeles.
After musician Christina Grimmie was fatally shot in Orlando in June 2016, Goetz said the case had to remain in her court.
Nearly a year later, Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight’s daughter also was given conservatorship over her father and the estate after she sued him.
The Los Angeles-based Nesbitt-Bradley law firm, which has represented Spears’ conservators, has advised clients to stay out of high-profile cases.
Fiona Nesbitt-Bradley, a longtime family friend, said after Tuesday’s hearing that the Spears case was far from its scope. She said the family has legal responsibilities that don’t necessarily end with conservatorship.
“For them, it’s a neutral thing,” she said. “It’s a three-letter word. It’s a process.”
Bret Hartman, a lawyer who has represented Spears, said there have been some “troughs” that made the conservatorship needlessly contentious.
“I think now that time has passed it’s less contentious, and the conservatorship is better,” he said.