The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing confidential court records it has obtained, that Spears “expressed serious opposition to the conservatorship earlier and more often than had previously been known”.
According to the newspaper, Spears – who has overall refrained from making public statements about the situation – once told a court investigator she wanted the conservatorship to end as soon as possible.
“She articulated she feels the conservatorship has become an oppressive and controlling tool against her,” the court investigator reportedly wrote in a 2016 report.
According to the paper, the investigator wrote that Spears “is ‘sick of being taken advantage of’ and she said she is the one working and earning her money but everyone around her is on her payroll”.
The New York Times’s report comes the day before a highly anticipated court hearing about the conservatorship, during which Spears is expected to address the court directly.
The conservatorship was put into place in 2008 amid growing concerns for the singer’s mental health.
In the state of California, where Spears lives, the law provides that a conservatorship can be set up for a “person who is unable to provide properly for his or her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter,” or for someone who is “substantially unable to manage his or her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence”.
Full details of the conservatorship regulating Spears’s fortune, which is worth roughly $60m, have never been revealed in full, but court documents have outlined some elements.
The conservatorship has the power to make her medical decisions and her business deals, the Associated Press previously reported. It can restrict her visitors, take out restraining orders in her name, and it has the power to approve her major life decisions, such as getting married.
In recent years, a movement known as #FreeBritney has emerged, comprised of fans who would like to see the conservatorship end.
Spears’s father James, who was largely in charge of the conservatorship over the years and now share that authority with an estate management firm, has called the group conspiracy theorists, and says those who shout #FreeBritney don’t understand the totality of the situation.
The Independent has contacted James Spears’s attorney Vivian Lee Thoreen for comment.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press