This post was updated on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

Music icon Britney Spears appeared virtually on Wednesday, June 23, to address the Los Angeles court handling the conservatorship, or guardianship, arrangement that has controlled much of her personal and business affairs since 2008. But how did she go from being one of the biggest popstars of our generation to having no control over her personal and financial affairs? Following is a timeline of key events in the life of Spears, now 39.

britney spears mickey mouse club


Spears is cast in TV show “The Mickey Mouse Club” with Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera,and Ryan Gosling.

britney spears 90s


Spears signs her first record contract at age 15.

britney spears baby one more time


At age 16, she releases debut single “Baby One More Time,” which tops the Billboard Hot 100 charts for two weeks. In 1999, her debut album of the same name tops the charts in 15 nations.

britney spears oops I did it again


Her second studio album “Oops!…I Did It Again” breaks records. Spears confirms she is dating Justin Timberlake.


Spears performs as a guest at the Super Bowl halftime show, releases third album, and sings with a python over her shoulder at the MTV Video Music Awards.

britney spears crossroads


Spears stars in her first movie, “Crossroads.” Her relationship with Timberlake ends.


Spears kisses Madonna on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, causing a scandal. She releases her 4th studio album.

britney spears and kevin federline


Spears marries childhood friend Jason Alexander in surprise ceremony in Las Vegas; the marriage is annulled three days later. Nine months later, she marries her backup dancer Kevin Federline.

britney spears toxic


She gives birth to her first child, son Sean Preston, with Federline. Spears wins her first and only Grammy award for “Toxic.”

pregnant britney spears


Her second son Jayden James is born. Two months later Spears files for divorce from Federline.


Spears enters and drops out of rehab twice in a matter of days, shaves her head at a salon in Los Angeles, and goes back into rehab. Pursued by paparazzi, her behavior grows increasingly erratic. Spears loses custody of her two sons, and releases fifth studio album. She performs “Gimme More” at the MTV Video Music Awards but appears dazed.

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britney spears circus


Spears is twice hospitalized under psychiatric hold and is placed under a court-ordered conservatorship in which her father Jamie Spears and an attorney take control of her personal and business affairs. The nature of her mental illness is not disclosed. In December, her comeback album “Circus” is released and in 2009 she embarks on a world tour to promote it.

britney spears Femme fatale


Spears releases her 7th studio album, “Femme Fatale,” and embarks on another tour.


Spears joins the U.S. version of “The X Factor” TV talent show as a judge.

britney spears 2013 vegas residency


Spears begins a two year residency in Las Vegas and releases her 8th studio album. The residency is later extended for another two years.

britney spears vegas residency


Spears releases 9th studio album, goes on the “Piece of Me” world tour, and announces another Las Vegas residency for 2019. She performs for the last time in public in October 2018 at the Formula One Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.



Spears announces an “indefinite work hiatus” and cancels her planned Las Vegas residency citing concern over the health of her father. She enters a mental health facility saying she is taking “a little me time.” The #FreeBritney movement is started by fans who believe Spears is being held against her will under the conservatorship. She appears before the Los Angeles judge handling the conservatorship but her testimony is sealed. The judge orders an independent evaluation of the conservatorship.

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FILE PHOTO: Premiere of “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” in Los Angeles

August 2020

An attorney for Spears asks for the singer’s father to be replaced as her conservator. Jamie Spears calls the #FreeBritney movement “a joke.” Spears tells her Instagram followers that she accidentally burned down her home gym after leaving two candles alight.

February 2021

The documentary “Framing Britney Spears” is aired, bringing wider attention to her career and the conservatorship. Timberlake issues an apology to Spears for his part in the media scrutiny she received when they were dating. Spears says on her Instagram account that she hasn’t seen the entire documentary but was “embarrassed by the light they put me in” and cried for two weeks. An attorney for Jamie Spears notes that the singer has never asked for the conservatorship to be terminated.

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FILE PHOTO: Singer Britney Spears arrives at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York

April 2021

Through her attorney, Spears asks to personally address the court handling her conservatorship but no reasons are given.

June 17, 2021

Spears says on her Instagram page that she “has no idea” whether she will ever take the stage again and is “having fun right now.”

Supporters wearing personal protective masks hold signs as they rally for pop star Britney Spears during a conservatorship case hearing at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles

June 23, 2021

Appearing remotely, Spears addressed the court, asking for an official replacement of her father as her conservator. In an explosive testimony, she made clear how frustrated she is with the legal arrangement that has controlled her life for 13 years.

“I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized,” said Spears. “I just want my life back.”

She continued: “It’s embarrassing and demoralizing what I’ve been through, and that’s the main reason I didn’t say it openly. I didn’t think anybody would believe me.”

Spears compared what she has been through to “slave labor,” saying her father and those involved should be in jail and adding that she wished to sue her family. She also revealed to the court that she has been prevented from going to the doctor to remove her IUD so that she could have another child.

“This so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children,” she said. “I want to be able to get married and have a baby.”

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Grant McCool)

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