The Most Heartbreaking Revelations From the Framing Britney Spears Documentary

Britney Spears has lived her life under the conservatorship of her father, Jamie Spears, for more than a decade, and now the documentary Framing Britney Spears is shedding new light on the 39-year-old pop star's life and how the #FreeBritney movement is supporting her efforts to regain control over her finances and independence. The documentary is the sixth installment of FX and Hulu's The New York Times Presents and features interviews from former assistant Felicia Culotta, attorney Adam Streisand, and several others, however, Britney herself did not participate.

Britney's conservatorship was first issued in 2008, and as of November 2020, it was extended until February 2021 after the singer requested to remove her father as her conservator. "My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father," Britney's attorney Samuel D. Ingham III told the judge in a court hearing. "She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career." In 2019, Jamie became the sole conservator after attorney Andrew Wallet resigned from his coconservatorship. However, financial company Bessemer Trust has since been appointed as a coconservator.

Ahead, read the biggest revelations from Framing Britney Spears, which is available to stream on Hulu now.


  • Britney Spears wants her father to step down as her conservator. Jamie Spears has served as the singer's conservator ever since she suffered her public breakdown in 2008, but according to lawyer Adam Streisand, she wants someone else be in charge of her money. "I got a call from Britney's family law attorneys and asked me if I would speak to Britney because, well, the whole world knew that her father was trying to establish a conservatorship over her," he recalled. "I met with Britney . . . And the first question I had was, 'Does Britney have the capacity to be able to hire me? Does she have the ability to take my advice?' The first thing is Britney was able to make the judgment, 'Hey, I get what's going on. I get that I'm not going to be able to resist this conservatorship or avoid this conservatorship," right? . . . The second thing was she said, 'I don't want my father to be the conservator.' That was her one request. She wanted a professional, somebody independent." To this day, Jamie has refused to step down.
  • Jamie wasn't actively involved in Britney's life before he became her conservator. According to the people who participated in the documentary — which included the singer's former assistant Felicia Culotta and Jive Records executive Kim Kaiman — Britney's mother, Lynne Spears, was the one who mainly helped launch her career. In fact, Lynne personally reached out to Culotta and asked if she would chaperone Britney while she stayed home to take care of her younger daughter, Jamie Lynn Spears. "Her mother would do whatever it took, personally and for the family's sake, for Britney to be a star," Kaiman recalled. "Lynne supported Britney. I want to say Lynne because I never talked to her father. The only thing Jamie ever said to me was, 'My daughter's gonna be so rich, she's gonna buy me a boat.' That's all I'm gonna say about Jamie."

  • When Britney announced her Domination residency in Las Vegas back in October 2018, she was supposed to perform, too. As it turns out, the singer was supposed to give both a performance and an interview during the residency announcement, but instead, she simply kept walking past the stage and didn't say a word to anyone. Eleven weeks later, she canceled the residency and took "an indefinite work hiatus," citing Jamie's health issues.
  • The idea that Britney is "a puppet who just gets moved around and told what to do is incredibly inaccurate." According to Britney's former backup dancer and tour director, Kevin Tancharoen, the singer was very much "in control of a lot of decisions" that pertained to her career before her conservatorship. "When I was involved in all of those years, we would present a lot of ideas and she would have to like them, she would have to approve them. She was very creative. She was the one who knew what she wanted to do, or her people would make [what she wanted] happen for her," he said. "She was the boss."

  • Justin Timberlake fueled speculation that Britney cheated on him following their 2002 breakup. When Britney and Justin's relationship came to an end, he released his single, "Cry Me a River." "Justin sort of made it seem, rightly or wrongly, like she had cheated on him," former MTV VJ Dave Holmes noted. "It really seemed like he took control of the narrative." Writer Wesley Morris added, "The way that people treated her, to be very high school about it, was like she was the school slut, and he was like the school quarterback or whatever, and he essentially weaponizes the video for one of his singles to incriminate her in the demise of the relationship."
  • Lynne believes Britney's public breakdown may have actually been postpartum depression. While detailing Britney's divorce and custody battle with Kevin Federline in 2006, the documentary notes that Lynne believed her daughter was suffering from postpartum depression at the time. The media's unrelenting scrutiny only further contributed to Britney's erratic behavior, which included shaving her head and smashing a photographer's window with an umbrella.

  • Britney was shamed for her sexuality at a young age. The documentary presented clips from past interviews, in which the singer was criticized for everything, from the clothing she wore to her lyrics (some of which she didn't even write, by the way), and asked about her virginity and her breasts. Her former stylist, Hayley Hill, noted that she worked with "all the big boy bands" too, and none of them were treated with the scrutiny that Britney was under.
  • The paparazzi were relentless with Britney. Even during her very public breakdown, they never left her alone. And to this day, they don't seem to realize the immense amount of damage they inflicted on her. "I don't really think, and I don't really believe, [the paparazzi being around affected her at all] because . . . working on her for so many years, she never gave a clue or information to us that, 'I don't appreciate you guys. Leave me the eff alone," photographer Daniel Ramos said.
  • The singer may one day tell her story. Despite the fact that Britney has remained silent about her conservatorship, Culotta believes the singer will eventually get the opportunity to break her silence. "I know she will," Culotta said. "And I am so grateful for when that point comes that she's able to sit down, and, you know, everything will fall into place."