Controversy surrounding Britney Spears' conservatorship case, for years the center of the #FreeBritney movement, eventually came to a head in June when the pop star appeared remotely in court to make an emotional plea for her independence and fiercely speak out against her father and conservator of 13 years, Jamie Spears. In the weeks following, the case started to unravel, and earlier this month, Jamie Spears filed a petition to end the conservatorship. The court is set to hear that request this Wednesday in what could be a breakthrough moment for Britney's case.
In the meantime, several new documentaries are aiming to shed light on Britney's controversial conservatorship and what may have gone on out of the public eye. One of them, The New York Times' "Controlling Britney Spears," that's now streaming on Hulu as a follow-up to "Framing Britney Spears," includes interviews with insiders "who have come forward to speak publicly about what they saw," according to a text card in the documentary. Here are some of those explosive revelations.
Britney Spears' bedroom was allegedly bugged and phone allegedly monitored
Alex Vlasov, identified in the documentary as an executive assistant and cybersecurity manager of nine years for Black Box, the security team hired by Jamie Spears to be with his daughter 24/7, alleges Britney Spears' iPhone was monitored closely.
When she wanted to get an iPhone years back, Vlasov says Edan Yemini, who runs Black Box, had asked him about "monitoring services for an iPhone."
"I'm like, 'What do you mean?' And he's like, 'Parental controls.' That's when he explained to me that Britney's communication is monitored for her own security and protection. And I asked Edan about the legality of that. 'Are you allowed to do that?' And he said, 'Yes. The court is aware of this. Britney's lawyer is aware of this.'"
The people interviewed in the documentary say Tri Star Sports & Entertainment was the entity that handled Britney's business and financials, and two people who worked there, Lou Taylor and Robin Greenhill, were closely involved. Vlasov says Greenhill suggested using an iPad connected to the same iCloud account on Britney's iPhone to see all her activities. That included FaceTime calls, texts, notes, photos and browser history, according to Vlasov.
A text card then appears on the screen: "Mirroring text messages without the consent of both parties could be in violation of the law. It is unclear if the court knew about or had approved any text-message monitoring."
Later in the documentary, Vlasov alleges that Yemini had an "audio recording device" placed in Britney's bedroom. One hundred and eighty hours of audio were retrieved, a text card in the doc reads, including interactions with her boyfriend and two sons.
Vlasov says Yemini and another security agent gave him the recording device and a USB drive and asked him to wipe them. This took place "days before (Britney) was due to meet with a court investigator," he says. Vlasov adds that kept a copy because he didn't want to be responsible for deleting possible evidence.
Another text card then reads: "It is illegal to record people's conversations somewhere private without their knowledge or consent. It is unclear if the court was aware or had approved it."
Britney Spears had wanted her father to take random alcohol tests. A judge said, 'Who is she to be demanding that of anybody?'
In 2014, a closed-door hearing on Britney Spears' conservatorship took place with Judge Reva G. Goetz, who was overseeing the case, and lawyers. The New York Times obtained a transcript of that hearing and reporter Liz Day reads some of it aloud in the doc. NBC News did not independently obtain or verify the transcript.
Britney's father, who went to rehab for alcohol abuse before becoming her conservator, had been undergoing regularly scheduled alcohol tests, Day says. Britney suspected he was still drinking and requested random tests instead, her lawyer allegedly said during the hearing.
"Who is she to be demanding that of anybody?" Judge Goetz allegedly replied.
Judge Goetz declined to answer detailed questions from the Times, according to the doc, but gave the newspaper this statement: “I caution you not to draw any conclusions or inference from or be swayed by any one hearing.” Goetz has since retired and been replaced by Judge Brenda Penny, who is still overseeing the case.
Britney Spears had an allowance and was allegedly told she couldn’t spend her money on dinner or shoes
Tish Yates, identified as Britney Spears’ head of wardrobe from 2008-10 and 2013-18, is another insider interviewed in the documentary. She recalls moments when the team surrounding Britney would make calls even on "little, little things."
“Britney would say, ‘Hey, do you think we could have sushi for dinner?’ And I would hear Robin say, ‘You had sushi yesterday. It’s too expensive. You don’t need it again,’” Yates says. “And maybe there’s a lot more behind that, but I’m only seeing the outside.”
Later, Yates recounts another incident when Britney wanted a new pair of Sketchers and someone told her no, she doesn't have any money to spend on Skechers. Yates then told Britney to go get the sneakers and she'd write it off as a wardrobe expense.
"If she pushed back a little bit, they pushed harder," Yates says.
'There was an obsession with the men in Britney's life'
So much of Britney Spears' life was allegedly monitored, and that included her "intimate relations," as Vlasov claims in the beginning of the doc. He, as well as Day, provide a bit more on that later on.
In 2016, a court investigator went to Britney's house to conduct a periodic review for the judge overseeing her conservatorship. In the investigator's confidential report obtained by the Times and read aloud by Day, the investigator writes that "all access to Britney must be conducted through her conservator, Jamie." The confidential report was not independently obtained or verified by NBC News.
"She cannot befriend people, especially men, unless they have been approved by her father," the report said. "They are followed by private investigators to make sure their behaviors are acceptable to her father."
They had to sign nondisclosure agreements, according to Vlasov.
"There was an obsession with the men in Britney's life," he says.