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'I think I’m gonna cry the rest of the day!': Britney Spears freed from conservatorship after 13 years

After almost 14 years, Britney Spears is officially free of her conservatorship, a California judge ruled Friday.

Britney Spears arrives at the 29th annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2018. 

"The court finds and determines that the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is no longer required,” ruled Judge Brenda Penny. "The conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated.”

The news coming out of the courtroom, after a hearing lasting no more than 40 minutes, sent a crowd of Spears fans in the street outside into raucous shouts and screams.

"Good God I love my fans so much it’s crazy!!!" wrote Britney Spears on Instagram Friday afternoon, sharing a video of her fans gathered at the courthouse. "I think I’m gonna cry the rest of the day !!!! Best day ever … praise the Lord … can I get an Amen."

An hour later, she posted again, this time alongside a photo of a yellow dress. "I can’t freaking believe it !!!! Again … best day ever !!!!"

The pop star was not on the call listening to the hearing. But her father, former conservator Jamie Spears, was and so was her mother, Lynne Spears. Only lawyers in the case spoke at the hearing.

 Jodi Montgomery, her former conservator of the person, and John Zabel, the new temporary conservator of her finances, also dialed in.

Britney's lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, was in court.

“Ms. Spears...obviously fully maintains the position that it is time after more than a decade for the conservatorship to be terminated entirely,” he told the judge. "The record is clear...that the time has come today to end the conservatorship.”

Jamie's lawyer, Alex Weingarten, said his legal team had “nothing to add. "We affirm our position," Weingarten said. “My client wants the conservatorship to end immediately.”

Zabel, an accountant, will retain some powers as a "safety net," Rosengart told the judge. He said the two powers include the execution of estate planning documents and the power to transfer assets outside of Britney's trust into her trust.

Outside the courthouse, a rally of roughly 500 people gathered before the hearing to cheer on the pop star, with some fans drawing "Free Britney" in block letters on the street in pink chalk, others decorating a pink Christmas tree in her honor.

Rosengart spoke to reporters after the hearing, praising his client. He said the judge did not require Britney to undergo another medical evaluation, which she had strenuously opposed.

"I’m so proud of her," Rosengart said. "I thank her for her courage and poise and power. I thank her for our relationship."

He said Britney had helped "shine a light on conservatorships and guardianships from coast to coast, from California to New York, and that took a tremendous amount of insight, courage and grace," according to the Associated Press.

Although the conservatorship might be over, the hearings in the case are not. The next one is scheduled for Jan. 19, possibly to deal with remaining motions and petitions in her case file.

"History was made today. Britney is Free!" wrote Spears' fiance Sam Asghari on Instagram shortly after the hearing ended.

Spears, who turns 40 on Dec. 2, was placed under a conservatorship at the age of 26 in 2008 after suffering a public breakdown the year prior that played out before the paparazzi, who captured her erratic behavior.

Momentum to end Spears' conservatorship picked up dramatically in February, following the release of the New York Times' documentary "Framing Britney Spears," which put a spotlight on controversies surrounding the pop star's conservatorship and the #FreeBritney movement to end it.

The public outcry against the conservatorship reached a fever pitch after Spears delivered an emotional testimony at a June court hearing, in which she called her conservatorship "abusive" and pleaded for it to end without undergoing another psychological evaluation.

"I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m OK and I'm happy," she said, dialing into the hearing remotely. "I thought that maybe if I said it enough I would maybe become happy, because I've been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized … I’m so angry it’s insane. And I'm depressed."

The pop star doubled down on her pleas at another hearing in July, calling for an "investigation" of alleged abuse she suffered under her conservatorship. This hearing brought a big change in the pop star's case: Judge Penny ruled she could choose her own attorney, replacing her court-appointed lawyer Samuel Ingham III, who represented her from the conservatorship's beginning.

Spears hired Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor-turned-skilled litigator, who has vowed to investigate alleged misconduct by Spears' father.

And at a Sept. 30 hearing, Spears won another victory: After controlling his daughter's person, finances or both since the conservatorship's implementation in 2008, Jamie was suspended from the conservatorship and ordered to turn over all her assets, estimated at about $60 million, to temporary conservator accountant Zabel.

The ruling came after Jamie's lawyer Vivian Thoreen acknowledged her client wants his daughter's conservatorship to end, but said there is no point replacing him with someone else just to end it later.

Jamie has since hired new lawyers, Weingarten and Eric Bakewell of Los Angeles, who asserted in a filing last week that through the conservatorship Spears "has been able to return to a path towards stability."

"The mission has been successful and it is now time for Britney to re-take control of her life," they continued.

Outside the courthouse, fans continued to celebrate the news Friday afternoon. "We cannot believe this is real life," Jared Lipscomb, who became involved in the #FreeBritney movement in 2019, told USA TODAY. The 33-year-old Los Angeles-based podcast host called it "rewarding" to see the conservatorship terminated "so swiftly."

"We cannot imagine how she might be feeling," Lipscomb added, noting the #FreeBritney movement may now "morph and evolve" to focus on widespread allegations of conservatorship abuse. "If one movement can do this, who knows what else we can do."





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