Britney Spears has spoken out about the realities of her new freedom after her 13-year conservatorship was lifted last week.
In her longest and most detailed statement since a judge terminated the controversial legal arrangement that controlled many aspects of her personal and financial life, the pop star spoke about her excitement and gratitude at being able to do things like use a debit card and possess her own car keys.
“I’ve been in the conservatorship for 13 years. It’s a really a long time to be in a situation you don’t want to be in,” she said in a video posted to social media. “So I’m just grateful for each day and being able to have the keys to my car, to be able to be independent and feel like a woman. Owning an ATM card, seeing cash for the first time … It’s the little things.”
“You guys rock,” Spears said. “My voice was muted and threatened for so long and I wasn’t able to speak up and say anything … you guys saved my life, 100%.”
The singer also said that she hopes that the media attention on her case will lead to reforms in the conservatorship system. “I’m here to be an advocate for people with real disabilities and illnesses,” Spears told her millions of followers. “Hopefully my story will make an impact and make some changes in the corrupt system.”
Her statement comes after Friday’s decision by a Los Angeles judge marked an extraordinary victory for the singer who had fought for years to regain her independence. She was placed under the conservatorship in 2008, which took away her rights to make basic decisions about her finances, career and personal life.
Conservatorships are typically put in place for older or infirm people who can no longer make decisions for themselves, but in Spears’s case, the courts established an indefinite conservatorship even as she continued with a successful career. Spears had strongly objected to the arrangement for years but efforts to end it gained steam in recent months after Spears was allowed to testify in court and retain a lawyer of her choosing.
“Honestly it still blows my mind every day I wake up how my family and the conservatorship were able to do what they did to me,” Spears wrote in the Instagram caption accompanying her video statement, describing the situation as “demoralizing and degrading”.
But she ended on a hopeful note: “Let’s move forward. We’re gonna have a good year and a good Christmas. Rock on!”
Sam Levin contributed reporting