A new documentary about Britney Spears, “Framing Britney Spears,” aired Friday on FX and Hulu that looked back at pivotal moments in the pop star's career, including her highly publicized conservatorship.
Felicia Culotta, Spears’ friend and former longtime assistant, was a family friend of the Spears and knew the singer when she was just five years old. "She was small town girl from Kentwood, Louisiana," Culotta said during an interview from the new documentary.
When asked to describe Kentwood, Culotta described it as "just a tiny, sleepy little town." She added, "Very hospitable and humble... unpretentious. We are who we are. We're not wealthy, but we're wealthy in many others way. We're definitely right in the middle of the Bible Belt."
She explained that after Spears had gotten her record deal, her mother, Lynne Spears, had called and asked Culotta to travel with her daughter because she had to take care of her youngest child, Jamie Lynn, back at home. Culotta, having just quit her job, agreed to do it for three months and sat in for the singer’s parents.
“I don’t know that I ever really had any definition of what I was supposed to do with Britney,” Culotta said. “For a long time they called me her chaperone and then at one point they wanted to call me her partner, and we didn’t think that sounded right. I definitely was not her mother, and I wasn’t her big sister, so we settled on assistant.”
Culotta revealed that as Spears' career began to take off, the singer was still humbled by everything and made sure to honor her roots be returning to Kentwood to do something special for her neighbors.
“One of the first things that she did when she just was getting famous was... we were home for Christmas and she wanted to go get $10,000 in $100 bills and she just drove through Kentwood and gave out $100 bills,” Culotta said in the documentary.
“And it wasn’t, ‘Hi, I’m Britney Spears.’ It was, ‘Merry Christmas.’”
“Framing Britney Spears” examines the famous pop star’s career with a special focus on her conservatorship and controversial court battle with her father, Jamie Spears.
Spears has been under conservatorship since 2008 after suffering public mental breakdowns after her divorce from Kevin Federline. At the time, the court approved an agreement that allowed her father to control her finances and personal decisions, including new contracts. For the first 11 years of the conservatorship, her father served as a co-conservator with attorney Andrew W. Mallet, who resigned in 2019 from the role.
Culotta, who even made a cameo as the teacher in Spears' music video for "...Baby One More Time," said that once the conservatorship started, her role changed. She explained, “My new job, I gave backstage tours. When I went back, it was a different business management and her dad was involved and so they did not hire me, the touring company hired me.”
“I don’t know why the Britney company did not hire me,” she said. “All I know is that maybe they just didn’t know the role I had played earlier. So I took a back seat and simply did what I was hired to do.”
She admitted that she didn’t know what went on, adding, “I just don’t know that they knew that they knew her well enough to realize her capabilities in making the decisions. Just me looking in, that’s what I saw.”
Last August, the pop star filed court documents that requested her father be removed as sole conservator following the resignation of Mallet because she was “strongly opposed” to the idea of him retaining the role. A social media campaign called #FreeBritney took off and was supported by not only fans across social media, but fellow celebrities like Paris Hilton, Kacey Musgraves, Cher, Lance Bass and Miley Cyrus.
Months later in November 2020, Spears’ request to remove her father from her conservatorship was rejected.