“It’s Beyond a Sit-Down Interview”: Britney Spears Opens Up in Now-Deleted Voice Memo

britney spears youtube video speech transcript

Britney Spears has opened up about what life was like for her under the restrictive conservatorship that controlled her life from early 2008 until November 2021.

Early this morning, August 29, Spears shared a YouTube link to Twitter with no caption. In the video — a 22-minute voice memo — the singer delved deep into what life was like under the restrictive conservatorship.

Notably, Spears criticised her own Vegas residency performances during Piece of Me, calling them “horrible”, explaining that she “didn’t give a f**k anymore” because of the limited personal freedoms she was experiencing. She also mentions a “secret relationship” with a man who was trying to help her flee the country at one point.

“I’m sharing this because I want people to know I’m only human,” Spears explained. “I do feel victimised after these experiences, and how can I mend this, if I don’t talk about it?”

Ending the memo, Spears said she was grateful to Sir Elton John for their new single, “Hold Me Closer”, and that she hoped her story might be able to help others.

“If you’re a weird, introvert oddball, like me, who feels alone a lot of the time, and you needed to hear a story like this today so you don’t feel alone, know this: my life has been far from easy, and you’re not alone,” she said.

Related: Britney Spears’ Brother Bryan Publicly Addresses the #FreeBritney Movement

Related: Britney Spears Is Finally Free from Her Restrictive Conservatorship

You can listen to Spears’ full voice note and find the full transcript (with additional context where necessary) below:

Britney Spears Voice Memo Full Transcript

Okay, so I woke up this morning and I realised that there’s a lot going on in my head that I haven’t really shared with anyone, really, and I’ve had tons of opportunities — Oprah, interviews, to go on a platform and share hardships, or just really anything that’s going on in my mind, and I really don’t think any of that is relevant to — getting paid to tell your story, I feel like it’s kind of silly.

So, I’m here honestly just to open myself to others and try to shed a light on, if anyone out there has ever gone through hardships or whatever it is, just to put a light on it so that person doesn’t feel alone, because I really know what that feels like.

I haven’t honestly shared this openly, too, because I’ve always been scared of the judgment and definitely the embarrassment of just… of the whole thing, period, and the skepticism and the cynical people and their opinions of what people would actually think.

I do think I’m in a place now where I’m a little bit more confident that I can be willing to share openly, my thoughts and what I’ve been through, because I haven’t really had that outlet to share completely openly for so long. [I’ve just been] scared of judgments, thoughts of other people and what they think or what they may say. I think it’s crucial for my heart and for my head to be able to speak openly about it as if anyone else would. 

The actual conservatorship started, I think 15 to 16 years ago. I was 25 when it started, I was extremely young.

I remember a lot of my friends texting me and calling me and we were extremely close and they wanted to see me but — I honestly, still to this day, don’t really know what really I did — but the punishment of my father I wasn’t able to, you know, see anyone or anything, and you have to imagine none of it made any sense to me.

I literally spoke in a British accent to a doctor to prescribe my medication and three days later there was a SWAT team in my home, three helicopters, and I remember my mom’s best friend, and my two girlfriends, we had a sleepover the night before they held me down on a [gurney] and again, none of it made sense.

Literally, the extent of my madness was… playing chase with paparazzi, which is still to this day one of the most fun things I did about being famous, so I don’t know what was so harmful about that. But I remember my mom was sitting on the couch and she said ‘I’ve heard people are coming here today to talk to you. We should probably go to a hotel or something’, and I never really understood what she meant. I didn’t believe her, like ‘is a lawyer coming here? Who is coming here?’

Then four hours later, there were over 200 paparazzi outside my house videotaping me through a window of an ambulance holding me down on a [gurney].

I know now it was all premeditated. A woman introduced the idea to my dad and my mom actually helped him follow through and made it all happen. It was all basically set up. There was no drugs in my system, no alcohol, nothing. It was pure abuse, and I haven’t even really shared even half of it. 

I think the main thing I do remember when it started was my dad’s control. He loved to control every. Thing. I did.

I remember the first day he said ‘I’m Britney Spears and I’m calling the shots’ and I’m like ‘alrighty, then’.

My brother was a football player when he was younger and my dad was really, really hard on him, really abusive, and I think when my mom gave him the idea for the conservatorship and his friend, I think he just really regrouped it and made such a really really, overhauling big deal of it, and it was just really too much.

I remember him always being in the office and my girlfriend was his assistant and they would just stay in there all day with the door shut and I was never, ever able to leave or to go anywhere. 

My first job after the two weeks of being hospitalised and [laughs] completely traumatised out of my mind, I did a TV show called How I Met Your Mother and then I started working on an album called Circus and started working right away.

All I remember is that I had to do what I was told. I was told I was fat every day, I had to go to the gym, I had to just… I never remember feeling so demoralised and just, they made me feel like nothing and I went along with it because I was scared.

I was scared and fearful — I didn’t even really do anything and I had a SWAT team… none of it made sense to me. 

Since that day I did probably four and a half tours, I did an album Circus, Femme Fatale, Britney Jean and Glory and then I started doing a Vegas show in Las Vegas, and I did that for about four and a half years.

I do remember working, and I got to a point where, my pride, you know, in my thirties and I have to live under my father’s rules and the dancers are playing and drinking and having fun at nights in Vegas and I just remember being like — my performances, I know, were horrible.

I even wore wigs, and the dancers were doing all these nice, sexy head flip turns and I had conditioner treatment in my hair and these little caps over my head — during the whole show just getting conditioner treatments with wigs on because I was just like a robot, I didn’t give a f**k anymore because I couldn’t go where I wanted to go, I couldn’t have the nannies that I wanted to have, I couldn’t have cash, and it was just demoralising, so I was kind of like this, conspiracy thing of people treating me like a superstar but yet, they treated me like nothing.

Well, for some reason, I started to get a spark back — I remember recording Glory and I think producing and making music, and I went to this little Spanish house and I got the fire back in my eyes for some reason.

It was at the end of recording Glory and my son named it, and things started kind of taking a turn because I started getting more confidence just for myself, and I think, with confidence, people were kind of like ‘oh wait, wait, what’s going on now? She’s speaking up a little more, but it might not be particularly a good thing if I’ve been quiet for 15 years’.

I think with confidence comes enlightenment, which makes you think better, and that’s the last thing they wanted me to do was to actually be better. ‘Coz then, who would be in control then?

But it was really tricky because I had to just play this role that everything was okay all the time, and I had to go along with it because I knew they could hurt me.

So I’m sitting here like, my friends all drinking alcohol and having fun at all these parties and I had no cash, I literally felt like a nun. My girlfriends from home came to visit me, in a spa, and I couldn’t even walk into the spa. They had their feet doing pedicures in the water and three … bottles of champagne before my show just sitting there and I wasn’t even acknowledged by them, my own hometown friends when they would come to Vegas, and it was just, it was demoralising, I will say.

You also have to understand, it’s 15 years of touring and doing shows and I’m 30 years old under my dad’s rules, and all of this is going on and my mom’s witnessing this, my brother’s witnessing it, my friends are witnessing it, and they all go along with it, and I’m like ‘how am I the one working here but I don’t get the side things, the good stuff’, you know? I wanna be able to play, I wanna be able to have fun, like, none of it made sense to me. 

The last Vegas show ended 2017, I think, I went on tour — a tour I was forced to do — but I was supposed to do a new show.

So the new show came along, I rehearsed maybe four days, I don’t really remember, but I went to one of the rehearsals and I said no, to a dance move.

I was like ‘no, I don’t wanna do this,’ and I just remember everything got really weird and quiet and all the directors and producers went in the back room and just spoke, and that was it, and I was like ‘I don’t really know what’s going on’ so we all were just kind of like ‘what happened?’ and then the next day, I was told that I had to be sent away to a facility, and that I was supposed to say on my Instagram that the reason why is because my dad is sick and I need treatment…

I didn’t wanna ever go there, I remember my dad calling me on the phone and I was crying and I was like ‘why are you guys doing this?’ and I just remember him saying ‘you have to listen to the doctors, the doctors are gonna tell you what to do, I can’t help you now’, and I remember his last words were ‘Now, you don’t have to go, but if you don’t go, we’re gonna go to court and there’ll be a big trial and you’re gonna lose. I have way more people on my side than you. You don’t even have a lawyer. So don’t even think about it.’

So I did it. I went to the place, I was scared out of my mind and none of it, again, made any sense to me. And again, I haven’t wanted to share this because it’s unbelievably offensive, sad, abusive, and honestly, would anybody believe me?

I remember the main thing of when I was in that place is that my heart felt like it was frozen, like it was stuck inside and I wanted to scream, I wanted to get out. And, I think by a needle and thread, it was the breathing peacefully inward that I missed the most.

I felt like I was in a state of shock, almost like when an old person feels helpless and they’re literally going through some sort of shock treatment and they can’t relax their body because they don’t have the answers of why they can’t have their own keys to their car and put in the ignition and walk outside and their own security guards at every door saying they can’t go. Sitting down, drawing six gallons of blood every week, weak as hell, and then calling, and my family is in Destin (Florida) at my beach house. It didn’t make sense.


The main thing to this day, I kind of stopped believing in God at that time because, I didn’t know how they could have 40 people leave my house every day and make me work from 8 to 6 at night, be seen changed every time I changed in the shower, no privacy, no door, nothing.

How did they get away with it, and what the f**k did I do to deserve that?! I couldn’t even smoke cigarettes! People on death row can smoke cigarettes.

I missed my AA meetings, although I was kind of forced to go to AA, I’m not even an alcoholic, but I kind of enjoyed it because I thought the people were brilliant, they shared their stories, just to share their story in a circle of women and men who just are trying to be better people and trying to touch other people.

I missed my AA meetings, I couldn’t go anywhere, I couldn’t have the keys to my car, no cash, no cigarettes, no door for privacy, they watched me change naked every day. I did work seven days a week, no weekends were off, they monitored what I ate, from 8 to 6 I worked, sometimes at 9 o’clock I’d be able to watch a movie.

Finally, the owner of the whole facility that I was always texting to try to be able to go somewhere, just get out of the house, that place, somehow.

He had to let me out because the ‘Free Britney’ campaign came out, with all the pink T-shirts.

I saw it on a lot of the morning shows, and people, by word of mouth, and I think by my fans knowing by heart that something was up.

I remember one of the guys was on an interview on the street, and he said ‘you know what, I could be totally wrong, and if I’m wrong, I’ll be really really embarrassed, and I’ll just go have a drink somewhere,’ he said, ‘but I do feel like something, like they’re doing something to her right now and I’m not sure really what it is, but that’s what my heart says’.

But the whole thing that made it really confusing for me is, these people are on the street fighting for me, but my sister and my mother aren’t doing anything. To me, it was like they secretly, honestly, liked me being the bad one, like I was messed up, and they kind of just liked it that way. Otherwise, why weren’t they outside my doorstep saying ‘baby girl, let’s get in the car, let’s go’?

I think that’s the main thing that hurt me. I couldn’t process how my family went along with it for so long, and I mean, almost five mo—almost half a year, you know? And their only response was ‘we didn’t know’. I’m like ‘I’m on the phone telling you right now, I’m here, please’. 

Eventually, by the grace of God and praying on my knees, I left the place, but I was still scared, I was really, really scared and from then on, I had support, I needed a lot of support, and I found two really, really great people that would come to my house weekly and just help me with my mind, because I didn’t understand —  all the therapy that I had to do there, but why have therapy when it’s forced and in a militant, almost prison-like way, that like, you’re not even all there. None of it made sense.

I think my strength grew because I didn’t reach out to my dad anymore, and they were playing the game of ball and twist, of you know ‘she’s gonna come running back to us because we’ve scared her and we’re the bosses here’, but I didn’t.

I just stalled, and I stalled, and I stalled, and I stalled, and finally, I think they just knew I wasn’t going back.

I finally got a lawyer, a wonderful friend finally got me a lawyer, and he really helped me through it. To me, the thing was, I think the trauma of all of it, and just the whole thing together, and going down to how much effort and work and heart I put into what I did when I did work, even down to the details of how many rhinestones are gonna be on my costume, and I cared so much, and they literally killed me.

They threw me away. That’s what I felt, like my family threw me away.

I was performing for thousands of people at night in Vegas, the rush of being a performer, the laughter, the joy, the respect.

I was shaking over 40 people’s hands a night before a show, training weekly, three training sessions a week, AA meetings, therapy sessions, my dad literally — I was a machine.

I was a fucking machine, not even human, almost. It was insane how hard I worked. And the one time I speak up and say no in a rehearsal, to a f**king dance move, they got pissed. 

I feel like the scare tactic and how badly they treated me in the end, I think they thought I was going to come begging back to work again, because they thought, you know, I needed them.

‘Coz they did, they put me in an ignorant, scared state of mind, to make me feel like I needed them. ‘And if you don’t do what we say, you’re going to show you who’s boss’.

I didn’t play their game anymore. I got on my knees every day and I prayed. I held on, like a needle and thread, to some sort of existence, because they had made me feel like nothing for so long.

I knew in the deepest, deepest part of my core, I knew I’d done nothing wrong, and I didn’t deserve the way I’d been treated.

I do think the hardest thing for me, was I wanted to use my feet, and leave, and run or go somewhere. I had to be placed in a chair [in the facility] every day from 8 to 6, I couldn’t take it.

I talked to rabbis, I’ve talked to grown men about it and they’re like ‘we don’t see how you did it’. Honestly, I don’t either, and through that, I remember saying ‘I don’t believe in God anymore’. 

I honestly deserve an award for acting like I was okay every day — I thought they were trying to f**kin’ kill me.

I remember one time I was backstage and I needed my inhaler, and I opened up to my assistant, ‘coz I had my phone with me — which I’m not supposed to have my phone underneath the stage — but I said to her ‘you know what I’m doing’.

I was talking to a guy and he just wanted to leave the country, with me, we had it all set up to just leave, and it was a secret relationship, and I said, my biggest fear was, what would my dad do, if I did do something wrong? What if I left the country and what if they found me? What would they do? And I said ‘I feel like they would lock me up or something, or really hurt me’, and she looked at me and she said ‘are you kidding me, Britney? Your dad would never do that to you.’ And I didn’t even do anything wrong, and he still did it (put me in a facility). 

I’m honestly more angry at my mom because I heard when reporters would call her at the time and ask questions of what was going on, she would go innocently hide in the house and she wouldn’t speak up.

It was always like, ‘I don’t know what to say, I just don’t want to say the wrong thing, we’re praying for her’.

I feel like she could’ve gotten me a lawyer, in literally two seconds. My friend helped me get one in the end, but every time I made contact with a firm, my phone was tapped, and they would take my phone away from me.

And again, I get nothing out of sharing all of this. I have offers to do interviews with Oprah and so many people, lots and lots of money, but it’s insane. I don’t want any of it. For me, it’s beyond a sit-down, proper interview. [laughs]

I had no contact in that place for so long, and my heart would just want to stand up in my family’s faces and just scream and cry and throw a tantrum, and go back in time and do exactly what I wanted to do at those times, yeah, and might even spit in their f**kin’ faces.

Why? Because the pain my family gave me, sitting me there all day and not being able to use my feet, as they watch their grandchildren run bases to base in a family neighbourhood, as if I’m dead, or I don’t exist, honestly makes me look up and say ‘how. The fuck. Did they get away with it?’ How is there a God? Is there a God? Giving eight [vials] of blood weekly? Not being able to stand up? I was so so weak, and my family’s at my beach house? I was scared, broken. 

I’m sharing this because I want people to know I’m only human. I do feel victimised after these experiences, and how can I mend this, if I don’t talk about it?

I have an amazing song right now with one of the most brilliant men of our time, and I’m so grateful.

But if you’re a weird, introvert oddball, like me, who feels alone a lot of the time, and you needed to hear a story like this today so you don’t feel alone, know this: my life has been far from easy, and you’re not alone.

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