Big news for singer Britney Spears on Wednesday, as a judge in Los Angeles , as the conservator of the singer's estate. Certified public accountant John Zabel was appointed temporary conservator, but another hearing will determine whether the conservatorship will be terminated completely. There's no date for that hearing yet.
Britney Spears is a globally known singer who's sold millions of records, won numerous awards and toured the world. But her personal life also keeps pushing its way into the headlines. For 13 years, the singer has been involved in a conservatorship over her finances and personal decisions, mostly run by her father.
But the 39-year-old singer wants out of the situation and has repeatedly said so, often cheered on by her fans who share their opinions on social media. She passionately spoke out in court in June, calling the conservatorship "abusive" and saying it was doing her more harm than good.
Complex case history
Back in 2008, a judge appointed attorney Samuel D. Ingham to represent Britney Spears. This summer, he requested permission to resign from the role, and Judge Brenda Penny approved that request. This came after Britney Spears' own court testimony questioning whether Ingham had done enough to educate her about the conservatorship.
"I didn't know I could petition the conservatorship to be ended," Britney Spears said in June. "I'm sorry for my ignorance, but I honestly didn't know that."
Britney Spears' longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, also resigned recently. Rudolph said he hadn't communicated with the singer in over two years and that he believed she planned to retire from entertainment.
Can't get IUD removed
During that June hearing, the singer painted a bleak picture of her life since her father was appointed her conservator in 2008.
"I've told the world I'm happy and OK," the singer said. But that cheery public image was a lie, she added. "I'm traumatized. I'm not happy, I can't sleep ... I'm so angry it's insane."
Britney Spears also said the conservatorship's control of her life went well beyond her finances. She said she has an IUD birth control device, and even though she wants to have more children, the mother of two can't get permission to have a doctor remove it. She also said that her boyfriend, Sam Asghari, isn't even able to drive her places.
Though Britney Spears' conservatorship began back in 2008, public attention was stirred up earlier this year when a Britney Spears-focused episode of a documentary series came out on Feb. 5. The New York Times Presents Framing Britney Spears is available on FX and FX on Hulu.
The documentary episode sparked plenty of social-media posting and attention to her case. And on Sept. 24, the Times came out with a new Hulu documentary, Controlling Britney Spears, put together by the same filmmakers as the first. In it, a former security-firm employee alleges that his company placed listening devices in her bedroom and mirrored her cellphone.
A new Netflix documentary,, from director Erin Lee Carr, came out on Sept. 28.
And on Sunday, CNN aired a new documentary, Toxic: Britney Spears' Battle For Freedom.
If you've somehow managed to get to 2021 without ever hearing of Britney Spears, here's the briefest of rundowns. Spears was just 11 in 1992 when she was cast on The Mickey Mouse Club. Her debut album, 1999's ...Baby One More Time, sold more than 25 million copies worldwide and is one of the best-selling albums of all time. She's won a Grammy Award, six MTV Video Music Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There's no question she's one of the best-selling, best-earning and most-searched stars of all time.
But her personal life has often outshone her career successes. She wed childhood friend Jason Alexander in 2004, but that marriage was annulled after just 55 hours. She later starred in a reality show, Britney and Kevin: Chaotic, with eventual husband Kevin Federline -- whose girlfriend was pregnant with his child when he started dating Brintey Spears. The two had two sons of their own, and she later lost custody of both of them, with the couple's various parental battles always making news.
Her mental health and other struggles became excruciatingly public: In 2007, Britney Spears shaved her head, reportedly saying she was "tired of people touching me." But public sympathy often seemed to favor Britney Spears, who came off as a troubled young woman who found fame and fortune too early and was understandably unable to cope with it.