Britney Spears Memoir Describes Life Under Conservatorship: ‘I Was Losing Pieces of What Made Me Feel Like Myself’

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Britney Spears has promised that her upcoming memoir The Woman in Me will allow the singer to tell her story in full for the first time. In a pair of excerpts of the tell-all book due out Oct. 24 shared with People, Britney pulls back the curtain on two of the most painful, publicly scrutinized periods of her public life.

Spears was finally released from a highly restrictive court-ordered conservatorship in Nov. 2021, 13 years after her estranged father Jamie and a court-appointed lawyer were given near-total control over her personal and financial affairs. In the excerpt in People, Spears says the conservatorship had a profound effect on her.

“I became a robot. But not just a robot — a sort of child-robot. I had been so infantilized that I was losing pieces of what made me feel like myself,” Spears, 41, writes. “The conservatorship stripped me of my womanhood, made me into a child. I became more of an entity than a person onstage. I had always felt music in my bones and my blood; they stole that from me.”

The arrangement made her feel like “a shadow of myself,” Britney says in attempting to describe how she would vacillate between feeling like a little girl, a teenager and a woman, “because of the way they had robbed me of my freedom. There was no way to behave like an adult, since they wouldn’t treat me like an adult, so I would regress and act like a little girl; but then my adult self would step back in — only my world didn’t allow me to be an adult.”

And, in a nod to the book’s title, Spears writes that the “woman in me was pushed down for a long time,” describing how her team wanted her to be “wild” onstage (“the way they told me to be”), but to be robotic the rest of the time. It was, she says, “death to my creativity as an artist.”

Spears has been much more vocal since the end of the conservatorship after what she described as 15 years of allowing others to tell her story for her. Afterwards, she says, “I was finally free to tell my story without consequences from the people in charge of my life. It is finally time for me to raise my voice and speak out. And my fans deserve to hear it directly from me. No more conspiracy, no more lies — just me owning my past, present and future.”

The book also probes one of the most-dissected moments that helped precipitate the conservatorship, a 2007 incident in which she shaved her head in public during a tumultuous period in which tabloids constantly swarmed her in the midst of a divorce from second husband Kevin Federline.

“I’d been eyeballed so much growing up. I’d been looked up and down, had people telling me what they thought of my body, since I was a teenager,” Spears says in another People book excerpt in which she explains her frame of mind at the time. “Shaving my head and acting out were my ways of pushing back.”

The book also reveals that in the wake of the head-shaving and some other concerning actions, she was place in the conservatorship in 2008. Once under the control of her father and the lawyer, Britney says she was not allowed to keep her close-cropped look.

“Under the conservatorship I was made to understand that those days were now over,” she says. “I had to grow my hair out and get back into shape. I had to go to bed early and take whatever medication they told me to take.” She also claims — in another excerpt — that her dad’s comments about her body were even worse than the criticism from the press. “He repeatedly told me I looked fat and that I was going to have to do something about it,” she claims.

Despite being put in the conservatorship over concerns about her mental health, Spears released four albums during the 13-year arrangement and headlined a four-year run of her Las Vegas Piece of Me residency despite writing that she was miserable the whole time.

“I would do little bits of creative stuff here and there, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore,” Spears says. “As far as my passion for singing and dancing, it was almost a joke at that point,” she writes in the book whose audio version will be narrated by five-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams. “Thirteen years went by with me feeling like a shadow of myself.”

Spears says it makes her “feel sick” now to think of her father his his associates having control over her body and money for that long.

“Think of how many male artists gambled all their money away; how many had substance abuse or mental health issues,” she says. “No one tried to take away their control over their bodies and money. I didn’t deserve what my family did to me.”


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