Britney Spears has shared a lengthy voice recording about abuse she says she endured from her family during her nearly 14-year-long conservatorship.
The 22-minute audio recording was posted on her Twitter and YouTube accounts Sunday evening, but the tweet was soon taken down and the YouTube link was made private.
“How the fuck did they get away with it?” The Grammy-winning pop star asked, according to a copy of the recording captured before it was taken down. “How is there a God?”
She said she had been offered interviews and other opportunities to speak about her experience, but decided against it. “I really don’t think any of that is relevant, getting paid to tell your story. I feel like it’s kind of silly,” she said.
She didn’t speak openly about the ordeal in the past due to fear of judgment, embarrassment and scrutiny, she said, but “I do think I’m in a place now where I’m a little bit more confident that I can be willing to share openly my thoughts and what I’ve been through.”
She began her account about a decade and a half ago, when she was 25 years old.
“I was extremely young. I remember a lot of my friends texting me and calling me, extremely close, and they wanted to see me,” she said.
“I honestly still to this day don’t know what really I did,” she continued, adding that her father began to punish her by not allowing her to see anyone. “You have to imagine none of it made sense to me,” she said.
“I literally spoke to a doctor in a British accent to prescribe my medication and three days later, there was a SWAT team in my home, three helicopters,” she said. “And I remember my mom’s best friend and my two girlfriends ― we had a sleepover the night before ― they held me down on a gurney.”
“I know now it was all premeditated,” she said.
According to Spears, a woman had introduced the idea of a conservatorship to the singer’s father, James Spears, “and my mom actually helped him follow through and made it all happen.”
“It was all basically set up,” she said. “There was no drugs in my system, no alcohol, nothing. It was pure abuse. And I haven’t even really shared half of it.”
She said her father had also been abusive to her brother growing up, and that he “loved to control everything I did.”
Spears’ father oversaw the legal arrangement that gave him control of the singer’s life and finances, including personal decisions about her health, parenting her two sons and other freedoms, for more than 13 years. A Los Angeles judge ended the conservatorship in November, following a court battle and public outcry.
Spears went on to describe being hospitalized after the incident in her home, and feeling like “a robot” in subsequent years while touring and recording several albums as well as taking on a Las Vegas residency between 2013 and 2017.
After the two-week hospitalization, Spears said she began working on her 2008 album “Circus.” She said she was told on a daily basis that she was fat, was forced to go to the gym, and was made to feel worthless.
“My performances I know were horrible,” she said of the residency. “I didn’t give a fuck anymore because I couldn’t go where I wanted to go, I couldn’t have the nannies that I wanted to have, I couldn’t have cash. It was just demoralizing. I was kind of like in this conspiracy thing of people claiming and treating me like a superstar, but yet they treated me like nothing.”
It was when she started recording “Glory,” her ninth studio album released in 2016, that she started to “get a spark back” and regain her confidence, she said.
But she continued to remain silent, because “I had to just play this role that everything was OK all the time” because “I knew they could hurt me.”
After her Las Vegas residency came to an end in 2017, Spears said she was sent away to a facility due to a minor incident at rehearsals where she’d declined to do a certain dance move.
“The next day, I was told that I had to be sent away to a facility and that I was supposed to say on my Instagram the reason why is because my dad is sick and I need treatment,” she said.
She recalled her father threatening to take her to court if she didn’t comply, and telling her there’d be a big trial and “you’re gonna lose. I have way more people on my side than you. You don’t even have a lawyer.”
During her time in the facility, she had no privacy, and was monitored when she changed, showered and ate.
She credited her release from the compound to the attention garnered by the Free Britney movement, a social media campaign led by fans to end her conservatorship. These strangers helped her more than her own mother and sister, she said.
She said she was sharing her story now, because “How can I mend this if I don’t talk about it?”
She ended the recording with a message: “If you’re a weird introvert oddball like me, who feels alone a lot of the time and you needed to hear a story like this today so you don’t feel alone, know this: My life has been far from easy and you’re not alone.”