Britney Spears under investigation for allegedly striking staff member

20 August 2021, 08:46

Britney Spears, 39, has been living under a conservatorship for 13 years.
Britney Spears, 39, has been living under a conservatorship for 13 years. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Britney Spears is under criminal investigation over charges of battery after allegedly striking a member of staff at her home, it has emerged.

Police deputies responded to an incident in Ms Spears' home in Thousand Oaks, Southern California US authorities revealed on 19 August. Police attended after the staff member reported the Monday night dispute, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said.

No-one was injured.

The Sheriff’s Office gave no further details, and said that all reports will be handed over to prosecutors for consideration.

Ms Spears' attorney Matthew Rosengart said the investigation is "overblown sensational tabloid fodder - nothing more than a manufactured "he said she said" regarding a mobile phone, with no striking and obviously no injury whatsoever."

Anyone can make an accusation but this should have been closed immediately," Mr Rosengart said.

Spears, 39, hired Mr Rosengart last month to aid her in her fight to regain greater control of her life 13 years into a court conservatorship that has power over her money and affairs.

The US singer has been living under a conservatorship since 2008, when she suffered a public mental health crisis.

The courts at the time ruled that her father, James Spears, would have control over her financial and estate affairs, as well as personal matters. 

Read more: Britney Spears' father agrees to step down from conservatorship

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Since 2009, a movement of Britney fans have been calling for it to end using the hashtag #FreeBritney, claiming that the star is under too much external control under the agreement.

In June 2021, Britney Spears spoke out about living under the arrangement as she began a campaign to regain control over aspects of her life. In court hearings, Spears called the conservatorship "abusive".

She requested that the conservatorship end so that she could get married and be free to have more children. Ms Spears alleged that the arrangement forced her to use birth control to prevent her from becoming pregnant, as well as preventing her from marrying.

In an emotional address, Ms Spears accused her father of ruining her life, telling the court: "I want to end this conservatorship without being evaluated."

"This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good," she said, adding: "I deserve to have a life."

Spears revealed she has "extreme abandonment issues". Recalling her childhood, she said she was often "extremely scared of my dad" and feared he would "show up drunk somewhere and embarrass me".

The judge at the hearing said her lawyer could file a petition to end the conservatorship.

After her court appearance, Mr Spears’ lawyer said that he is "sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain".

The singer has not performed since 2018, telling the court that she refused to perform again while under the conservatorship.

Read more: Britney Spears wants father to be charged with conservatorship abuse

On 14 July, in a second court hearing, the singer said: "I have to get rid of my dad and charge him with conservatorship abuse."

Read more: Britney Spears requests accountant take over conservatorship

The singer could press charges against her father if she believes she has been financially exploited or subject to excessive personal restrictions.

At the second hearing, Spears was granted the right to appoint a lawyer of her own choosing, replacing the court-appointed lawyer who had been representing her since 2008. Her new lawyer, Mr Rosengart, is pushing for James Spears to be removed as conservator as his first priority. 

James Spears said in a court filing last week that he has a plan in the works to step down, but gave no timetable. He agreed to relinquish control of her £43 million estate "when the time is right".

The singer's personal affairs are currently being overseen by Jodi Montgomery on a temporary basis.