On the surface, Britney Spears spent decades living out a fantasy, achieving global fame at the tender age of 11, before going on to become one of the most famous faces in the world – and all with the support of her seemingly picture-perfect family behind her.
Even as the now-40-year-old chart-topper was ascending to worldwide stardom, her mom Lynne and father Jamie were there by her side, smiling happily in photos as they flanked their famous daughter.
But, as it turns out, when the cameras stopped snapping, and the studio lights went down, Britney’s family life was far more dark and complicated… the extent of which is still being laid bare by the popstar in a series of furious public rants about her parents and their behavior over the years.
To the world, it seemed as though the chart-topper was living out something of a fairytale – having left behind her very humble beginnings to achieve the kind of excessive fame and wealth that most people can only dream of.
Britney was born to a school teacher mom and an alcoholic building contractor who raised the future pop princess in the small town of Kentwood, Louisiana.
But it wasn’t long before she began exhibiting both talents and star quality that far exceeded her small-town roots – and by the age of 11, the then-tween had already set off on the road to global fame, when she landed a role in Disney’s The Mickey Mouse Club.
From there, her star continued to rise when she made a move into music and released the now-iconic hit song Baby One More Time, which cemented her status as one of the world’s most famous popstars.
However, while on the surface, Britney’s story seemed like something out of a fairytale, inspiring millions of youngsters across the globe to reach for the stars, behind the scenes, the singer’s incredibly difficult family life couldn’t have been further from the glossy, picture-perfect image she projected to the world.
Even as Britney herself began to publicly struggle with the increasing stress of life in the spotlight, the truth about her complex and, at times, bitter family dynamic wasn’t truly understood.
It was only when the singer laid bare her experiences living under her father Jamie’s control for 13 years as part of an incredibly controversial conservatorship agreement that the world began to see just how toxic her family dynamic had become.
Now, in the wake of the chart-topper’s latest public attack on her parents, FEMAIL lays bare the brutal family struggles that led to the Spears’ bitter feud, from her father Jamie’s struggles with alcohol abuse to her mother Lynne’s determination to make both of her daughters achieve superstardom.
DailyMail.com is looking back on how Britney’s conservatorship tore the Spears family apart and revealed how toxic the family was (Britney pictured with mother Lynne and father Jamie)
Britney has been active on social media these past few days furthering detailing the truth about her 13-year-long conservatorship
In a post published in April of this year, Britney alleged that her mother ‘thrived on drama’ and that she would argue with a ‘drunk’ Jamie ‘every night of my life’
An 11 year old’s fight to escape her parents’ bitter arguments and infidelity by forging a path to global fame
Britney got her original start on Disney channel show Mickey Mouse Club when she was just 11 years old and began her life in the limelight.
Britney originally auditioned for the show when she was eight years old but was turned away because she was too young.
However, just three years later in 1993, the star became one of the members of the popular Disney show.
Despite the star’s appearance in the joyful TV show, her childhood wasn’t as bright.
The Mirror reported that Jamie’s brother Willie told the outlet Jamie would often get drunk and argue with Lynne, 67, and that Jamie once even tried to ‘drive off with Britney’ after an argument.
In 1979, Lynne reportedly filed for divorce and tried to obtain a restraining order after she alleged he cheated, but the divorce filing was withdrawn shortly after.
As a child, Britney often retreated to her aunt’s trailer nearby to drown out the noises of her parents fighting.
And when her parents did finally divorce in 2002, Britney admitted she was thrilled.
In an interview with People she said: ‘It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to my family. My mom and dad, bottom line, do not get along.
‘When I was a baby, they argued. I wanted this to happen 10 years ago.’
Jamie got sober in 2004 and reunited with Lynne in 2010, with sources telling Us Weekly that Britney’s public breakdowns partially inspired their reconciliation.
Britney used her role as a star to escape her troubled home life in hopes of making a better life for herself, but that soon changed when Kevin and her split.
At just 16 years old the star recorded her debut hit Baby One More Time and went on to become one of the most successful artists (pictured with her brother and dad in 2016)
The star’s world came crashing down in 2007 and 2008 when the star suffered from a series of psychiatric breakdowns (Britney pictured being wheeled out on a gurney in 2008)
Pop’s most public breakdown, which led to Britney’s life being taken over in 13-year conservatorship that would drive huge wedge in between her and her parents
Britney hit a breaking point in 2007 when paparazzi captured the singer shaving her head at a hair salon and attacking a photographer’s car with an umbrella.
Due to a struggle with addiction, an unknown mental illness and a bitter custody battle between Kevin, Britney was reportedly off the rails.
After the star’s breakdown, her parents began to brainstorm of ways to ‘help’ the young star.
Britney then entered a conservatorship, which she claims was her mother’s idea, with her father controlling every aspect of her life.
In a bid to protect Britney’s millions of earning from her performances, the court appointed her father as her conservator.
And despite having divorced in 2002, both Lynne and Jamie seemed to be in agreement on having the last say in their daughter’s life.
But Lynne was soon ostracized when Britney blamed her mother for loosing her kids, and Lynne was forced to move back to Louisiana, declining the hundreds of calls from her daughter who suffered in silence.
When the conservatorship went into order, Lynne was unable to contact her daughter and said: ‘When her life was such a success, what did she need me for?
‘And when things took a turn for the worse, I was out, because other people – dancers, managers – were closer to her, and with her day and night.
‘Being a mother, you can’t help but have regrets about what you did and didn’t do for your kids, and I’m no different.’
Meanwhile, Jamie used the chaos to his advantage and took control of her finances, health and personal life – managing everything from her career to her weekly allowance.
And for nearly a decade the agreement went on unnoticed and Britney had no choice but to idly sit by.
Jamie was granted a ‘temporary conservatorship’ over his daughter in 2008 after the singer landed herself in the headlines for erratic behavior
The man behind the conservatorship that dictated every aspect of Britney’s life and career: Inside pop princess’s bitter relationship with dad Jamie Spears
Although the conservatorship was initially supposed to be temporary, it was extended indefinitely and left Britney under the control of her father for the next 13 years.
Britney revealed that she was ‘afraid of her father’ (Jamie pictured in 2021)
No one knew the true extent of the Lucky singer’s home life or the arrangement with her father, and when fans began to speculate about Britney’s lack of control of her own life, the #FreeBritnmey movement began.
Tensions between Jamie and Britney became public when the star began openly objecting to him remaining her conservator and even threatened to stop performing if he remained in power.
Her attorney told NBC that Britney was ‘afraid of her father’ – a statement that would be echoed in the heartbreaking court testimony she delivered in July 2021.
Although her efforts for Jamie to lose control were denied, Britney’s fight didn’t end there as news of her conservatorship gained momentum in 2021 following the release of The New York Times’ documentary Framing Britney Spears, which took a deep look into the controversial arrangement.
By August 2021, Jamie agreed to step down as her conservator.
After the star learned he would finally be abandoning his role as a conservator, Britney blasted the conservatorship as a ‘family business’ and thanked Jamie for ‘exiting out of my life and finally allowing me to live mine.’
In November of 2021, a judge officially terminated the conservatorship as a whole, while Jamie noted that he ‘unconditionally loves and supports his daughter.’
In the following months, Britney dished out her grievances with her father to her Instagram, accusing him of ‘bully[ing] and harras[ing] her.
Britney posted a bombshell since deleted audio clip on YouTube, confirming her mother was indeed the mastermind behind the conservatorship, Lynne responded through social media
She tried to convince her eldest daughter that she only ever wanted the ‘best’ for her and ironically said the talk should be had in ‘private’
Britney would later accuse her mother of ‘secretly’ ruining her life and being the real mastermind behind her conservatorship
The mastermind behind the conservatorship? How Britney’s relationship with mom Lynne Spears spiraled into a furious public battle
Following the removal of Jamie as her conservator, Lynne made a public statement claiming to support her daughter in her decision.
She said: ‘It is clear to me that James P. Spears is incapable of putting my daughter’s interests ahead of his own on both a professional and a personal level.
But Jamie wasn’t done yet and hit back, accusing Lynne of being an absent mother and added: ‘In stark contrast, it appears that Lynne is the one who is incapable of putting her daughter’s interests ahead of her own.’
Britney would later accuse her mother of ‘secretly’ ruining her life and being the real mastermind behind her conservatorship.
‘My dad may have started the conservatorship 13 years ago … but what people don’t know is that my mom is the one who gave him the idea,’ Britney said, adding that Jamie was ‘not smart enough’ to come up with the idea.
She continued: ‘She secretly ruined my life … and yes I will call her and [Britney’s former manager] Lou Taylor out on it … so take your whole ‘I have NO IDEA what’s going on’ attitude and go f*** yourself!!!!’
More recently in a post published in April of this year, Britney alleged that her mother ‘thrived on drama’ and that she would argue with a ‘drunk’ Jamie ‘every night of my life.’
And when Britney posted a bombshell since deleted audio clip on YouTube, confirming her mother was indeed the mastermind behind the conservatorship, Lynne responded.
‘Britney, your whole life I have tried my best to support your dreams and wishes!
‘And also, I have tried my best to help you out of hardships! I have never and will never turn my back on you!
‘Your rejections to the countless times I have flown out and calls make me feel hopeless! I have tried everything,’ Lynne wrote on Instagram Sunday alongside an old black-and-white photo of her and the singer.
She then concluded the public post by saying, ‘I love you so much, but this talk is for you and me only , eye to eye, in private.’
In the clip, Britney revealed she felt ‘more angry’ with her mother in regards to the conservatorship.
‘I heard when reporters would call her [Lynne] at the time and ask questions of what was going on, she would innocently hide in the house and she wouldn’t speak up,’ the singer alleged in the now-deleted 22-minute audio clip that she uploaded to YouTube.
‘It was always, like, ”I don’t know what to say. I just don’t want to say the wrong thing. We’re praying for her.”’
Britney added that her mother could have gotten her a lawyer in ‘literally two seconds’ if she wanted to help her.
‘My friend helped me get one in the end, but every time I made contact with a firm, my phone was tapped and my phone would get taken away from me,’ she said in the clip.
Britney and her mother have been feuding publicly since her daughter’s conservatorship was terminated in November 2021.
Britney ended the clip by noting the entire experience was ‘demoralizing’ and she hadn’t wanted to share her story because ‘it’s unbelievable offensive, sad, [and] abusive.’
She concluded the audio clip by questioning: ‘Honestly would anyone believe me?’
Britney and her younger sister Jamie Lynn Spears have developed a highly argumentative relationship throughout the years Britney and Jamie Lynn pictured in 2003
Jamie Lynn claimed her older sister once locked them both in a room with knife in hand, and described her behavior at one point as ‘erratic, paranoid and, spiraling’
How two sister’s went from growing up in the spotlight to hating each other
Britney and her younger sister Jamie Lynn Spears, 31, have developed a highly argumentative relationship throughout the years – which went into overdrive as Britney’s bid to end her conservatorship revved up in court.
Jamie Lynn aired out allegations about Britney while promoting her memoir
Jamie Lynn broke her silence on the matter in an emotional Instagram video published in June 2021, where she stated that she wanted nothing but ‘happiness’ for her sister and that she always has and ‘always will’ support her.
The Zoey 101 star insisted that she’d made a ‘very conscious choice’ to ‘only participate’ in the singer’s life as her sister – and that she was not on Britney’s payroll as fans had previously accused her of being.
The video appeared to make Britney angry as she launched countless attacks on her sister through Instagram.
Jamie Lynn publicly begged for ‘peace’ amid her sister releasing the bombshell social media claims, which later resulted in Britney unfollowing her ‘mean a** sister’ on Instagram
In late 2021, Jamie Lynn announced she’d be releasing own memoir, titled Things I Should Have Said.
And although the Zoey 101 star claimed she wanted peace, she aired out a series of head-turning allegations about her older sister during her publicity run for her memoir.
Jamie Lynn claimed her older sister once locked them both in a room with knife in hand, and described her behavior at one point as ‘erratic, paranoid and, spiraling.’
Britney categorically denied the knife story and retaliated by calling her sister a ‘scum person’ for telling ‘crazy lies’ about her.
As the bad blood between the two sisters boiled, Britney also expressed regret that she had not ‘slapped you and Mamma right across your f***ing faces!!!!!’
During the week of the book’s release, Britney’s counsel sent Jamie Lynn a cease and desist over the ‘misleading or outrageous claims’ in the memoir.
Jamie Lynn also sang a medley of her older sister’s songs at the 2017 Radio Disney Music Awards, and it clearly upset her older sister.
Jamie Lynn said: ‘I was doing a tribute to honor my sister and all the amazing things that she’s done.
‘I don’t think she’s personally upset with me about that. Truthfully, I don’t know why that bothers her.’
But Britney was quick to hit back and added: ‘It may sound like a silly thing to most people, but I wrote a lot of my songs and my sister was the baby.
‘She never had to work for anything. Everything was always given to her!’
Jamie then responded through social media and called out the Toxic singer for her switching attitudes.
She said: ‘It’s become exhausting when conversations and texts we have in private don’t match what you post on social media.
‘I know you’re going through a lot and I never want to diminish that, but I also can’t diminish myself.’
TIMELINE OF BRITNEY’S COMPLEX CONSERVATORSHIP AND HOW IT BEGAN
Britney with her father, brother and mother in 2006. Her parents separated
2002: Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears divorce.
Britney breaks up with Justin Timberlake around the same time.
2004: Britney marries Kevin Federline.
2005: Britney and Kevin welcome their first child, Sean Preston Federline.
2006: Jayden James Federline, Britney and Kevin’s second child, is born.
2007: Britney, struggling through a custody battle and split with Kevin, shaves her head and attacks a paparazzo’s car.
2008: Jamie Spears files for conservatorship of Britney, claiming she is not legally well enough to make her own decisions.
Britney in 2008 for a custody hearing as part of her split with Kevin Federline. Jamie Spears in court in 2008 getting the conservatorship
2009-2019: QUIET CONSERVATORSHIP YEARS
The conservatorship – which had been temporary – is extended every year.
In court papers, Jamie’s attorneys describe how she is making more money.
JANUARY 2019: THE ARRANGEMENT STARTS TO CRUMBLE
Britney in 2019, in the grips of the conservatorship, in Las Vegas at her residency
Britney announces an ‘indefinite’ work hiatus and cancels her lucrative Las Vegas residency.
Jamie files paperwork asking for the conservatorship to be extended beyond California, to apply in Hawaii, Louisiana and Florida as well.
He steps down as her primary conservator after allegations he abused one of her sons but is still listed as one of those in charge.
EARLY 2020: Britney, Jamie and Jamie-Lynne are in Louisiana together for two weeks.
The #FreeBritney movement is picking up.
Jamie’s attorneys claim everyone is happy together and enjoying spending time together in quarantine.
NOVEMBER 2020: Britney’s attorneys claim in papers that she is afraid of her father and asks for Bessemer Trust to be put in charge.
Her fans start speculating over her cryptic Instagram posts and videos that she wants a way out.
DECEMBER 2020: The conservatorship is extended until September 2021.
FEBRUARY 5, 2021: Framing Britney Spears debuts on Hulu.
The conservatorship that Britney was put under is ordinarily used in situations where older, perhaps senile people, can no longer look after their own affairs.
Fans are concerned for her well-being and have demanded that she be released from the control of her father, Jamie
It gives control over to an appointed conservator for the best interest of the recipient but in most cases, the recipient is not healthy enough to make their own money, unlike Britney who makes millions. Under the rules of the probate conservatorship, Jamie now has equal control over her estate to a third party and an attorney, Andrew Wallet.
Wallet derives a salary of $426,000 a year from Britney’s estate.
He, Jamie and the third party who was brought on recently can make deals on her behalf and restrict her visitors.
JUNE 23, 2021 – BRITNEY SPEAKS OUT IN COURT
Britney and her boyfriend Sam Asghari
In an emotional testimony, Britney told the court that she had suffered psychologically for years as a result of the conservatorship which she said was so restrictive, she wasn’t allowed to remove her IUD birth control.
JUNE 30, 2021 – JUDGE DENIES BRITNEY’S REQUEST TO REMOVE JAMIE
Judge Brenda Penny, responding to Britney’s November 2020 request, refuses to remove Jamie from the agreement.
She doesn’t say why but she does invite her attorney to file paperwork to end it, which he doesn’t.
JULY 1, 2021 – BESSEMER TRUST RESIGNS AFTER BEING PUT IN CHARGE WITH JAMIE
A day after the judge’s ruling, Bessemer Trust, which had been brought on, resigned, saying they were never aware that Britney wanted to end the conservatorship.
In a court filing, the company’s attorneys said: ‘We heard her and respect her wishes.’
JULY 5, 2021 – BRITNEY’S LONG-TIME MANAGER RESIGNS
Larry Rudolph wrote a letter to Jamie and the conservatorship to say he was no longer needed since Britney wanted to retire.
He said he hadn’t spoken to her for two years but had been told by others that she wanted to step down.
JULY 6, 2021 – BRITNEY’S ATTORNEY STEPS DOWN
Sam Ingham, the attorney appointed to represent Britney in 2008, steps down after failing to file paperwork to terminate the conservatorship, despite her pleas.
JULY 14, 2021 -BRITNEY WINS RIGHT TO CHOOSE HER OWN LAWYER
A Los Angeles court granted Britney the right to choose a lawyer to help her end her conservatorship, after she told a judge the current situation was ‘allowing my dad to ruin my life.’ She chose former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart as her new attorney.
JULY 23, 2021 – BRITNEY FLASHES HER BOOBS ON INSTAGRAM
Singer’s semi-nude post was hailed by fans including Paris Hilton as evidence of her determination to become a ‘free woman’.
JULY 27, 2021 – LYNNE SPEARS AGREES TO TESTIFY IN SUPPORT OF HER DAUGHTER
The singer’s mother’s attack on Jamie gives her a powerful new ally in her bid to be freed.
AUGUST 12, 2021 – JAMIE SPEARS AGREES TO STEP DOWN AS CONSERVATOR
Jamie’s lawyers filed court documents saying that he will step down, and provide an orderly transition to another conservator.
He said that he was doing so because he felt a public argument with his daughter was not in her best interests.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2021 – JAMIE SPEARS FILES TO END THE CONSERVATORSHIP
Jamie states that his daughter ‘is entitled to have this Court now seriously consider whether this conservatorship is no longer required.’
The filing went on to say that Britney Spears’ circumstances have changed ‘to such an extent that grounds for establishment of a conservatorship may no longer exist.’
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 – JAMIE SUSPENDED FROM CONSERVATORSHIP
LA Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny ruled to suspend Jamie as the conservator of Britney’s estate.
Accountant John Zabel has been named as the temporary replacement conservator.
NOVEMBER 2, 2021 – JAMIE FILES TO END THE CONSERVATORSHIP IMMEDIATELY, RELINQUISHING ALL FINANCIAL CLAIMS
Jamie Spears filed court documents declaring that he was leaving the arrangement immediately, handing over all documents, and not seeking any financial benefit.
NOVEMBER 12, 2021 – JUDGE TERMINATES BRITNEY’S CONSERVATORSHIP
A Los Angeles judge ordered an end to the conservatorship that controlled Britney’s life – and $60 million fortune – for the 13 years.
‘The court finds that the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is no longer required,’ Judge Brenda Penny told a LA Superior court hearing – where Britney did not appear.
‘Therefore, as of today, the conservatorship is hereby terminated.’