Who is Jamie Spears - Britney Spear's Father: Biography, Personal Life, Career

Social media has been fueled with Britney Spears's case and #FreeBritney campaign, demanding for the famous singer to be freed from her father's control. Who is Jamie Spears, and what is his relationship with his daughter like?
August 13, 2021 | 12:52
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James Parnell "Jamie" Spears (born July 6, 1952) is the father of American singer Britney Spears, film producer Bryan Spears, and actress-singer Jamie Lynn Spears. In 2008, Britney was placed under an ongoing conservatorship led by James. In June 2021, she publicly accused him of guardianship abuse.

Early life and family

Photo: US Weekly
Photo: US Weekly

James Parnell Spears was born in Kentwood, Louisiana to June Austin Spears (1930–2012), and Emma Jean Spears (née Forbes; 1934–1966). His mother committed suicide on the grave of her infant son when James was 13. Spears also survived a car accident that killed a football teammate aged 17. At 22, he was arrested on drug and driving while intoxicated charges.

Spears' first wife was Debbie Sanders Cross, who remains his friend. In July 1976, he married his second wife, Lynne Irene Bridges. She filed for divorce in 1980, requesting a temporary restraining order, fearing that he would "become angry when he is served with these papers" and harass or harm her, "especially if he has been drinking alcoholic beverages, as he has done in the past." However, they reconciled and had Britney the following year. They divorced in May 2002[5] and reconciled without remarrying around 2010. They were seen still united in 2014, but were evidently completely separated by 2020. They have three children: son Bryan Spears (born 1977) and daughters Britney Spears (born 1981) and Jamie Lynn Spears (born 1991). They also have five grandchildren: grandsons Sean Preston Federline (born 2005) and Jayden James Federline (born 2006) from Britney, granddaughters Maddie Briann Aldridge (born 2008) and Ivey Joan Watson (born 2018) from Jamie Lynn, and Sophia Alexandra Spears (born 2011) from Bryan.

Later life

Photo: The US Sun
Photo: The US Sun

Spears struggled with alcohol later in life and eventually went to rehab in 2004. He later suffered a near-fatal colon rupture in 2019.

Conservatorship controversy

James Spears came to prominence as a public figure in 2019 with the rise of a movement to terminate his daughter's conservatorship, dubbed #FreeBritney. This movement has garnered support from a number of celebrities, including Cher, Paris Hilton, and Miley Cyrus, as well as the nonprofit organization American Civil Liberties Union. On April 22, 2019, fans protested outside the West Hollywood City Hall to demand Britney's release from the psychiatric facility where she had been staying since Spears' illness in January.

Photo: The Hollywood Gossip
Photo: The Hollywood Gossip

During a May 2019 hearing, Judge Brenda Penny ordered "an expert evaluation" of the conservatorship. In September 2019, Britney's ex-husband Kevin Federline obtained a restraining order against him following an alleged physical altercation between James and one of Britney's sons. Britney's longtime care manager, Jodi Montgomery, temporarily replaced James as her conservator on September 10, 2019. In the same month, a hearing resulted in "no decisions made" about the conservatorship arrangement.

In August 2020, Spears called the #FreeBritney movement "a joke" and its organizers "conspiracy theorists". On August 17, 2020, Britney's court-appointed lawyer submitted a court filing that documented her desire to have her conservatorship altered to reflect "her current lifestyle and her stated wishes", to instate Montgomery as her permanent conservator, and to replace Spears with "a qualified corporate fiduciary" as conservator of her estate. Four days later, Judge Penny extended the established arrangement until February 2021. In November 2020, Judge Penny approved Bessemer Trust as co-conservator with Spears of his daughter's estate. A documentary focusing over his daughter's career and Spears's conservatorship over her, Framing Britney Spears, premiered on FX in February 2021.

On June 23, 2021, Britney gave her testimony regarding James, stating that he sent her to a rehab and mental facility against her will in January of 2019. She also stated that she is afraid of him and that he has committed conservatorship abuse. His daughter said he should not be able to walk away, and that he should go to jail for his actions.

What is their relationship like?

The pop superstar made a virtual appearance in court in Los Angeles, asking judge Brenda Perry to put an end to the arrangement.

She told the court that the conservatorship was doing “way more harm than good” by exerting extensive control over her day-to-day life, her finances and her personal affairs.

In a 20-minute prepared speech, Spears told the court her father had “complete control” over her life, leaving her “traumatised.”

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

She said: “I think this conservatorship is abusive. I don’t think I can live a full life. I feel ganged up on, I feel bullied and I feel alone.”

Spears said she felt forced to perform at her planned Las Vegas residency, and had been forced to take medication including lithium against her will when she refused. She also alleged that she is being stopped from having more children against her will because her conservators will not permit her to remove her birth control coil.

She said: “I want to be able to get married (to boyfriend Sam Asghari) and have a baby… but I have an IUD in my body right now that won’t let me have a baby and my conservators won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out.

“My dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship, including my management… they should be in jail.”

In November, 2020, Britney’s lawyer Samuel D. Ingham told a court that she is scared of her father and is refusing to perform again until he is removed as her conservator.

“My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father,” Ingham told a judge during a hearing to determine whether another conservator should be appointed.

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

“She also stated that she will not perform as long as her father is in charge of her career.”

But in December, Jamie claimed to have been acting in her interests and said Britney needed “special care and protection”.

“I love my daughter and I miss her very much,” her father told CNN.

“When a family member needs special care and protection, families need to step up, as I have done for the last 12-plus years, to safeguard, protect and continue to love Britney unconditionally.

“I have and will continue to provide unwavering love and fierce protection against those with self-serving interests and those who seek to harm her or my family.”

Britney Spears' father 'willing to step down' as conservator but won't do so immediately

Britney Spears' father said Thursday he's "willing to step down" as his daughter's conservator but argues that there is no justification for him to immediately be replaced or to resign from the position, which he has held for more than 13 years.

In a response to a petition to replace him, James "Jamie" Spears' legal team argued that he stepped in to his daughter's life in 2008 through the conservatorship because she was "desperately in need of help." Britney Spears was suffering emotionally and being "manipulated by predators," the filing says.

"Mr. Spears continues to serve dutifully, and he should not be suspended or removed, and certainly not based on false allegations," the filing says. "Mr. Spears is willing to step down when the time is right, but the transition needs to be orderly and include a resolution of matters pending before the Court."

The filing argues that a petition filed to remove him by Britney Spears' attorney, Mathew Rosengart, was based on falsehoods and that he has been the "unremitting target of unjustified attacks."

The filing led to some confusion Thursday as some news organization reported that he had filed his resignation, but Jamie Spears' legal team confirmed to NBC News that he wasn't stepping aside at this time.

The filing also mentions that Jamie Spears had been working on a transition with his daughter's previous attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III.

It's unclear whom he was trying to hand his power to in the filing. A financial institution, Bessemer Trust, was appointed as co-conservator last year, but the organization resigned from the case last month.

Jamie Spears' filing instead says several matters pending in the conservatorship must be settled before he could conceivably be removed.

"When these matters are resolved, Mr. Spears will be in a position to step aside," the filing says. "But there are no urgent circumstances justifying Mr. Spears' immediate suspension."

Rosengart, who was appointed to Britney Spears' case on July 14, filed a petition asking the court to remove Jamie Spears as conservator and replace him with Jason Rubin, a professional accountant. The court is expected to decide at a hearing next month.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny rejected the petition to advance the hearing in a filing Monday.

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