Under a controversial legal guardianship since 2008, US pop singer Britney Spears is scheduled to address a Los Angeles court on Wednesday in the battle over her father's control of her affairs.
The 39-year-old star's finances and personal life have been largely managed by Jamie Spears since her highly public breakdown more than a decade ago, leading some adoring fans to launch a "FreeBritney" online campaign in recent years.
Spears has rarely spoken directly about the issue herself in that time, but will get her chance to address the judge remotely via an internet link on Wednesday.
"Britney wants to address the court directly," her lawyer Samuel Ingham said in April, without specifying exactly why the singer wanted to be heard in person by Judge Brenda Penny.
But it is widely expected that Spears wants to tackle the terms of her guardianship, and specifically the commanding role of her father, with whom she has long had a difficult relationship.
Spears filed last year to remove him from the conservatorship and give sole power over her estate to a financial institution. Her court-appointed lawyer said she was "afraid" of her father.
- 'Too, too much!' -
Devoted Spears fans have long scoured her social media accounts for hints about her well-being, and any signs that she may be eager to throw off the guardianship.
Confidential records published Tuesday by the New York Times say Spears told a court investigator that the conservatorship had "become an oppressive and controlling tool against her" as far back as 2016.
Spears reportedly said the guardianship system had "too much control... Too, too much!" and was prevented from making her own decisions on friendships, dating, spending and even the color of her kitchen cabinets.
According to the report, Spears told the investigator that she wanted the conservatorship terminated as soon as possible, and that she is "sick of being taken advantage of."
Spears is currently responsible for footing the legal bills for both sides -- including the hefty fees charged by the attorneys opposing her in the case.
- 'Embarrassed' -
The controversy surrounding Spears' legal case exploded following the February release of the documentary "Framing Britney Spears", which chronicled her initial breakdown and her father's ensuing appointment as her guardian.
Following her 2006 divorce from Kevin Federline, and the loss of custody of her children the following year, Spears was snapped by paparazzi barefoot at a gas station, and notoriously shaved her head.
Under her father's guardianship, Spears swiftly returned to performing. She released three albums, appeared on various television shows and even took up a Las Vegas residency.
But in January 2019 she abruptly announced she was suspending her performances until further notice.
Spears said she was "embarrassed" by her portrayal in the documentary, in which fans say she is essentially being held prisoner and claim she has been sending coded pleas for help.
Jamie Spears' lawyers say he has done an excellent job of managing his daughter's finances.
But a judge ruled in February that both Spears' father and Bessemer Trust would oversee the pop star's finances, denying Jamie Spears' bid to keep sole power to delegate investments.
© 2021 AFP