Britney Spears’ memoir may be delayed by a paper shortage, but that hasn’t stopped her from getting her story directly to her fans. On Sunday, the singer shared a link on her verified Twitter page to a YouTube video that contained a 22-minute audio message detailing her time in her 13-year conservatorship. (The tweet was deleted, and the video made private; because this is the internet, the audio is not hard to find if you look for it.)
It was a pretty punk rock move, actually, as Spears noted that she’s had “tons of opportunities” for a sit-down interview, including with Oprah. But she found the idea of “getting paid to tell your story… kind of silly.” (Forthcoming memoir notwithstanding.) Subsequently, she went through each stage of the conservatorship, claiming that “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.” (A 2021 New Yorker report named Spears’ former business manager Lou Taylor as being instrumental to the formation of the conservatorship, which Taylor’s lawyer denied.)
Spears repeated multiple times on the record that she didn’t understand the conservatorship or how she was treated at the hands of her family: “Honestly to this day, I don’t know really what I did. But the punishment of my father, I wasn’t able to see anyone or say anything…none of it made sense to me.” Many of the claims from the message had already been shared in court or in her lengthy Instagram missives, including her father Jamie Spears’ apparent love of control, the strict conditions under which she was kept (particularly during her Las Vegas residency), and her harrowing experience being unwillingly kept at a mental health facility in 2019.
She recalled being told she was “fat” and made to feel like she was “nothing,” admitting to phoning it in during performances: “I was a robot, honestly. I didn’t give a fuck anymore.” She added, “It was demoralizing. You also have to understand, it was like 15 years of touring and doing shows. And I’m 30 years old, living under my dad’s rules. And while all of this is going on, my mom’s witnessing this, my brother, my friends—they all go along with it.”
Heartbreakingly, she said that the alleged abuse by her family made her lose faith that there was a god. Her fans and the Free Britney movement were a comfort to her, especially since she credits the increased media attention to getting her out of the oppressive facility. “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,” Spears reflected. “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.’”
Spears shared that no matter how much effort she put into her work, her inner circle made her feel like “a fucking machine. Not even human almost.” She said, “I care so much. And they literally killed me. They threw me away. That’s what I felt—I felt like my family threw me away.”
“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?” Spears said, revealing that she had kept quiet for so long because of a fear of judgment or others’ disbelief. But no longer: “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.”