Britney Spears reveals the details of her conservatorship: 'They made me feel like nothing'

‘I think it's crucial, from my heart and my head to be able to speak openly about it as if anyone else would’
Britney Spears
Photo credit Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Britney Spears uploaded a 22-minute tell-all audio file to YouTube on Sunday revealing intricate details surrounding her 15 year conservatorship. The audio clip was Spears’ attempt to forego a formal interview and open up to audiences.

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In the since-deleted audio clip Spears admits she had held back from sharing a lot due to fear of judgement and feelings of embarrassment. She shares she’d been offered interview opportunities to share her story for “lots of money” with big names like Oprah, but says she doesn’t believe getting paid to tell her story is relevant.

Throughout the 22 minutes Spears shares new details surrounding her conservatorship and examples of exactly how her family, especially, her father misread and mislead her.

“I think the main thing I do remember when I first started was my dad's control,” she said, according to Newsweek’s transcription of her audio. “He loved to control every thing I did. I remember the first day he said, 'I'm Britney Spears and I'm calling the shots' and I'm like, 'Alrighty then.’”

She continued, “They [her family] made me feel like nothing. And I went along with it because I was scared. I was scared and fearful.”

As mentioned earlier, the audio clip has since been deleted as well as Spears’ Instagram. Read a full transcription of the clip, provided by Newsweek, below:

"Okay, so I woke up this morning, and I realized that there's a lot going on in my head that I haven't really shared with anyone really. And I've had tons of opportunities, Oprah interviews, to go on a platform and, and share hardships and or, or just really anything that's going on in my mind. And I really don't think any of that is relevant to getting paid to tell your story, I feel like it's kind of silly. So I'm, I'm here, honestly, just to open myself to others and try to shed a light on, if anyone out there has ever gone through hardships or whatever it is just to put a light on it. And so that person doesn't feel alone. Because I really know what that feels like.

I haven't honestly shared this openly, too, as well, because I've always been scared of the judgment. And definitely the embarrassment of just of the whole thing, period. And the skepticism and the cynical people and their opinions of what people would actually think

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, because I haven't really had that outlet to share completely openly, for so long, just scared of judgments, thoughts of other people and what they think or what they may say. And I think it's crucial, from my heart and my head to be able to speak openly about it as if anyone else would.

Well, the actual conservatorship actually started, I think, 15 to 16 years ago, I was 25 when it started, I was extremely young. And I remember a lot of my friends texting me and calling me and were extremely close, and they wanted to see me but by what had happened, honestly, still, to this day, don't know what really I did, but the punishment of my father, I wasn't able to, you know, see anyone or like anything, and and you have to imagine none of it made sense to me.

I literally spoke in a British accent to a doctor to prescribe my medication. And three days later, there was a SWAT team at my home, three helicopters. And I remember my mom's best friend, and my two girlfriends we had sleep over the night before they held me down on a [gurney]. And again, none of it made sense. Literally the extent of my madness was playing chess, no was playing chase with paparazzi, which is still to this day, one of the most fun things I ever did about being famous, so I don't know what was so harmful about that. But I remember my mom was sitting on the couch and she said, 'we've heard people are coming here today to talk to you. We should probably go, you know, to a hotel or something.' And I never really understood what she meant. I didn't believe her like 'Is a lawyer coming here? Who is coming here?'

Then four hours later, there were over 200 paparazzi outside my house, videotaping me through a window of an ambulance holding me down on a [gurney]. I know now, it was all premeditated.

A woman introduced the idea to my dad and my mom actually helped him follow through and made it all happen. It was all basically set up. There was no drugs in my system, no alcohol, nothing. It was pure abuse. And, and I haven't haven't even really shared even half of it.

I think the main thing I do remember when I first started was my dad's control. He loved to control every thing I did. I remember the first day he said, 'I'm Britney Spears and I'm calling the shots' and I'm like, 'Alrighty then.' My brother was a football player and my dad was really, really hard on him when he was younger, really abusive and I think when my mom gave him the idea for the conservatorship and his friend, I think he just really like regrouped it and made such a really, really overhauling big deal out of it and it was just really too much. I remember him always being in the office and my girlfriend was his assistant, and they would just stay in there all day with the door shut and I was never, ever able to leave her go anywhere.

My first job after the two weeks of being hospitalized and completely traumatized out of my mind. I did a TV show called ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and then I started working on an album called ‘circus,’ I started working away right away.

All I do remember is I had to do what I was told. I was told I was fat every day I had to go to the gym, and I'd never remember feeling so demoralized. And just, they made me feel like nothing. And I went along with it because I was scared. I was scared and fearful. I didn't even really do anything. And I had like a swap team and how like, none of it made sense to me.

So since that day, I did probably four and a half tours, I did an album Circus, Femme Fatale, Britney Jean and Glory. And then I started doing a Vegas show [in] Las Vegas. And I did that for four and a half years. And I got to a point where, you know, because my pride in my 30s, I have to live under my father's rules. And you know, the dancers are playing and drinking and having fun at nights in Vegas. And I couldn't do anything. And I remember just being like, my performances I know were horrible. Like I even wore wigs and all the dancers were doing all these nice sexy head flip turns, and I had conditioner treatment and my hair and like these little caps over my head and just during the whole show getting conditioner treatments just with wigs on because I was just like a robot. Honestly, I just I didn't give a f*** 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 and it was just demoralizing. So I was kind of like in this conspiracy thing of people claiming and like treating me like a superstar. But yet, they treated me like nothing.

Well, for some reason, I started to get a spark back. I remember recording Glory and for some reason, I think producing and making music, I went to this little Spanish house and I got the fire back in my eyes, for some reason. And it was at the end of recording Glory. And my son named it and things started kind of taking a turn because I started getting more confidence just for myself. And I think with confidence, people kind of like 'oh, wait, wait, wait, what's going on now? Like she's speaking up a little bit more.' But it might not be particularly a good thing if I've been quiet for 15 years.

I think with confidence comes enlightenment, which makes you think better and that's the last thing they wanted me to do was to actually be better. 'Cause then who would be in control then. But it was really tricky because I had to just play this role that everything was okay all the time. And I had to go along with it because I knew they could hurt me. So I'm sitting here like, my friends all drinking alcohol and having fun in these parties and had no cash. I literally felt like a nun. My girlfriend's from home came to visit me in a spa and I couldn't even walk into the spa and they had their feet doing pedicures in the water and three ices of bottles of champagne before my show just sitting there and I wasn't even acknowledged by them my own hometown friends and they would come to Vegas, and it was just it was demoralizing, I will say. You also have to understand it's like, 15 years of touring and doing shows and I'm 30 years old under my dad's rules. And all of this is going on in my mom's witnessing this and my brother is witnessing and my friends are witnesses and they all go along with it. And I'm like, how am I the one working here doing all this, but I don't get the side things, the good stuff, you know? I want to be able to play. I want to be able to have fun. Like, none of it made sense to me.

So the last show in Vegas ended 2000-I think-17. I went on tour which is a tour I was forced to do but I was supposed to do a new show. So the new show came along. I think maybe four days a week I don't really remember. But I went to one rehearsals and I said no to a dance and it was like 'No can we do that? I want to do this.' And then I just remember everything got really weird and quiet and all the directors and producers went in the back room and just spoke. And that was it. And I was like well, I don't know what's going on. So we all just kind of like you know what happened and then the next day, I was told that I was 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 which was, I didn't want to go ever go there. I remember my dad calling me on the phone and I was crying. And I was like, 'Why are you guys doing this? Like what?' And I just remember him saying 'It's, you have to listen to the doctors, the doctors are gonna tell you what to do, I can't help you now.' And I remember his last words were, 'Now you don't have to go. But if you don't go, we're gonna go to court, and they'll 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. So they don't even think.' So I did it, I went to the place, I was scared out of my mind. And none of it again made any sense of what they were doing to me. And again, I haven't wanted to share this because it's unbelievably offensive, sad, abusive. And honestly, would anybody believe me?

I remember the main thing of when I was in that place that my heart felt like it was frozen, like it was stuck inside, I wanted to scream and I wanted to get out. And I think by a needle and thread, it was the breathing peacefully inward that I missed the most. I felt like I was in a state of shock. Almost like when an old person feels helpless, and they're literally going through some sort of shock treatment and they can't relax the body because they don't have the answers of why they can't have the own keys to their car and put it in the ignition and walk outside and their own security guards at every door saying they can't go. Sitting down, drawing six galls of blood every week. Weak as hell. And then my family is in Destin, at my beach house. It didn't make sense.

The main thing, to this day I kind of stopped believing in god at that time, I didn't know how they could have 40 people leave my house a day and me work from eight to six at night. The scene changed every time I changed in the shower. No privacy, no door. Nothing. How did they get away with it? And what the f*** did I do to deserve that? I couldn't even smoke cigarettes, people on death row can smoke cigarettes. I missed my AA meetings. Although I was kind of forced to go to AA and I'm not even an alcoholic. I actually enjoyed it. Because I thought the people were brilliant. They shared their stories, just to share their story in a circle of women and men who just are trying to be better people and trying to touch other people. I missed my AA meetings, I couldn't go any I couldn't have the keys in my car, No cash, no cigarettes, no door for privacy. It changed me. Watched me change [...] every day, I did work seven days a week, no weekends were off. They monitored what I ate. from eight to six I work some times at nine o'clock, I'd be able to watch a movie.

Finally, the owner of the whole facility that I was always texting to try to be able to go somewhere I just get out of the house, that place somehow. He had to let me go because the Free Britney campaign came out with all the pink T shirts. I saw it on a lot of the morning shows and people by word of mouth and I think just by my fans knowing by heart that something was up. I remember one of the guys was on an interview on the street and he said, 'You know, I could be totally wrong. And if I'm wrong, I'll be really, really embarrassed. And I'll just go have a drink somewhere,' he said, 'But I do feel like something. They're doing something to her right now. And I'm not sure really what it is but that's what my heart says.' But the whole thing that made it really confusing for me is these people are on the street fighting for me, but my sister and my mother aren't doing anything. To me it was like they secretly honestly liked me being the bad one like I was messed up and they kind of just liked it that way. Otherwise, why weren't they outside my doorstep saying 'Baby girl get in the car. Let's go.' I think that's the main thing that hurt me. I couldn't process how my family went along with it for so long. And I mean, almost five months, almost half a year, you know. And their only response was, 'We didn't know.' I'm like, 'I'm on the phone telling you right now. I'm here. Please.'

Eventually, by the grace of God and praying on my knees, I left the place. But I was still scared. I was really really scared. And from then on I had support. I needed a lot of support. And I found two really, really great people that would come to my house weekly and just helped me with my mind because I didn't understand all the therapy that I had to do there. Why have therapy when it's forced? And in like a militant, almost prison-like way that like is where you you're not even all there and none of it made sense.

Well, I think my strength grew because I didn't reach out to my dad anymore. And they were playing the game of ball and twist of, you know, she's gonna come running back to us, because, you know, we've scared her. And we're the bosses here, but I didn't. I just stalled. And I stalled and I stalled and I stalled. And finally, I think they just knew I wasn't going back. And I finally got a lawyer. A wonderful friend finally got me a lawyer, and he really helped me through it.

To me, the thing was, I think the trauma of all of it and, and just the whole thing together and going down to how much effort and work and heart I put in to what I did when I did work, even down to the details of how many rhinestones are going to be in my costume. And I cared so much. And, they literally killed me.

They threw me away. That's what I felt like my family threw me away. I was performing for like thousands of people at night in Vegas, the rush of being a performer, the laughter the joy, the respect. I was shaking over 40 people's hands every night before show, training weekly. Three training sessions a week, AA meetings, therapy sessions. My dad literally, I was a machine. I was a f***ing machine. Not even human, almost. It was insane how hard I worked. And the one time I speak up and say no in rehearsals, to a f***ing dance move, they got pissed.

I feel like the scare tactic and how badly they treated me in the end, I think they thought I was going to come begging back to work again because I was - they thought, you know, I needed them. Because they did they put me in an ignorant, scared state of mind to make me feel like I needed them. And if you don't do what we say, we're going to show you who's boss. I didn't play their game anymore. I got on my knees every day. And I prayed.

I held on, like a needle and thread, to some sort of existence because they had made me feel like nothing for so long. I knew in the deepest, deepest part of my core, I knew I'd done nothing wrong and I didn't deserve the way I'd been treated.

I do think the hardest thing for me was I wanted to use my feet and leave and run or go somewhere. I had to be placed in a chair from like eight to six every day. I couldn't take it. I talked to rabbis. I've talked to grown men about it and they're like, 'We don't see how you did it.' Honestly, I don't either. And through that, I remember saying 'I don't believe in God anymore.' I honestly deserve an award for acting like I was okay. Every day. I thought they were trying to f***ing kill me.

I remember one time I was backstage and I needed my inhaler. And I opened up to my assistant, because I had my phone with me which I'm not supposed to have my phone underneath the stage. But I said to her, 'You know what I'm doing?' I was talking to a guy and he wanted to just leave the country with me. We had it all set up to just leave. And it was a secret relationship. And I said, 'My biggest fear was what would my dad do? If I did do something wrong? What if I left the country? What and what if they found me and what would they do?' And I said, 'I feel like they would lock me up or something or really hurt me.' And she looked at me and she said, 'Are you kidding me, Brittany? Your dad would never do that to you.' And I didn't even do anything wrong, and he still did it.

I'm honestly more angry at my mom because I heard when reporters would call her at the time and ask questions of what was going on. She would go innocently, innocently hide in the house and she wouldn't speak up. 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.' I feel like she could have gotten me a lawyer in literally two seconds, my friend helped me get one in the end. But I truly I every time I made contact with a firm, my phone was tapped, and they would take my phone away away from me. And again, I get nothing out of sharing all of this I have offers to do interviews with Oprah and so many people, lots of lots of money, but it's insane. I don't want any of it. For me, it's beyond a sit down proper interview. I had no contact in that place for so long and my heart would just want to stand up in my family's faces and scream and cry and throw a tantrum and go back in time and do exactly what I wanted to do with those times. Yeah, and might even spit in their f***ing faces. Why? Because the pain my family gave me, sitting me there all day and not being able to use my feet as they watch their grandchildren run bases to base in a famous family neighborhood, as if I'm dead, or I don't exist, honestly makes me look up and say, 'How the f*** did they get away with it? How is there a god? Is there a god? Giving eight galls of blood weekly and not being able to stand up?' I was so so weak and my families at my beach house, I was scared broken. I'm sharing this because I want people to know I'm only human. I do feel victimized after these experiences and how can I mend this if I don't talk about it? I have an amazing song right now with one of the most brilliant men of our time and I'm so grateful.

But 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."

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