LOS ANGELES, Sept. 29 (Reuters) – The trusteeship that controlled Britney Spears’ life for 13 years almost ended on Wednesday after a judge suspended her father, and the pop superstar later said she ‘she was “on cloud 9 right now.”
In a controversial three-hour hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny removed Jamie Spears from oversight of her daughter’s $ 60 million estate and set a date in November to discuss of the advisability of terminating the entire agreement.
In an Instagram post following the judge’s ruling, the “Stronger” singer posted a video showing her sitting next to a pilot in the cockpit of a small plane and maneuvering the controls.
“First time at the controls of an airplane and first time in a propeller plane !!! Damn, I was scared,” she wrote, without mentioning the guardianship.
In court, Penny removed Jamie Spears from his role after the singer’s lawyer said she didn’t want him involved for one more day.
“The current situation is not tenable. It reflects a toxic environment which requires the suspension of Jamie Spears, effective today,” said Penny.
The judge said she would hold a hearing on Nov. 12 to discuss a petition to end the guardianship that controls the affairs and personal affairs of Britney Spears.
Britney Spears, now 39, has struggled for years to break free from the legal settlement. She did not attend Wednesday’s hearing.
“It’s a big day for Britney Spears and it’s a big day for justice,” singer’s lawyer Mathew Rosengart told #FreeBritney fans gathered outside the Los Angeles courthouse.
“Britney Spears was faced with a ten-year nightmare, a Kafkaesque nightmare, orchestrated by her father and others,” Rosengart said.
Jamie Spears will be replaced by an accountant, John Zabel, on a temporary basis, Penny said.
“IT’S LOGICAL, IT’S JUST”
#FreeBritney fans erupted in joy when the judge’s ruling was handed down. Pop singer Cher tweeted, “I’m more than thrilled with her. Bless our super star.”
Jamie Spears had been in charge of his daughter’s business affairs since 2008, when he set up an extensive court-approved guardianship after she suffered a mental breakdown. Details of Britney Spears’ mental health have never been revealed.
Rosengart said he envisions an orderly transition in which tutelage could end before the end of the year. “It’s simple, it’s logical, it’s fair, it’s fair,” he told the judge.
Ironically, it was Jamie Spears who earlier in September overturned years of objections and abruptly called for an end to guardianship. But he argued he should stay in his role to ease the transition.
Rosengart, however, demanded that Jamie Spears be suspended immediately.
“According to Britney Spears her service has been abusive, toxic and cruel,” he said.
A New York Times documentary released last week alleged that the singer’s phone and bedroom were bugged by security personnel working for her father. Conversations with friends, her children and her former lawyer were monitored, a former security staff member said.
Jamie Spears has said his actions fall within his authority as a curator. “Mr. Spears has faithfully and loyally served as a court-appointed Curator for 13 years. His record is impeccable,” his lawyer Vivian Thoreen said Wednesday.
Spears stepped up her efforts in June to break free from guardianship, telling the judge in her first public comments that she wanted her life back.
Public support, aided by three documentaries, swelled.
Two weeks ago Britney Spears announced her engagement to Sam Asghari, 27, her boyfriend who has been a personal trainer for more than four years. The couple hope to marry after negotiating a prenuptial agreement.
“Free Britney! Congratulations !!!!” Asghari wrote on her Instagram account after the hearing.
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Written by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Richard Chang, Cynthia Osterman and Leslie Adler