You may have seen the hashtag #FreeBritney trending across social media, and you might be wondering what the hashtag actually means, and how it all started?

When did #FreeBritney begin?

The hashtag #FreeBritney first began circulating back in 2009 after being created by a Britney Spears fansite after news broke of her conservatorship. This conservatorship started after Britney’s iconic meltdown which resulted in her hospitalization and rehab. But since then the movement has gained support by thousands of Britney fans.

What does it mean?

A Conservatorship is a legal concept in America, which means a guardian is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs of another, as well as many other aspects of their life, due to their mental or physical limitations.

For a long time, the details of Britney’s conservatorship have been sealed, but she has recently filed documents to allow elements of the legal side to be open to the public. She has also said that she appreciates and welcomes the support of her fans – which contrasts her father’s claim that its a social media hoax.

The singer was put under the conservatorship due to a year of erratic behaviour which led to the breakdown. During this year she shaved her head, attacked a paparazzi car, and eventually was held in a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. At the time, her father Jamie petitioned for a temporary conservatorship. From which, he was given the legal right to oversee her finances, health, business deals and personal life. He has continued to manage these up until 2019. This means that Britney Spears has not been in control of her finances or career in 12 years.

Why is it trending now?

Although the hashtag has been making an appearance on social media regularly over the last decade, it has recently begun trending again, due to Britney’s conservatorship being extended to September 2021. Meaning the 39-year-old pop star is still not in control of her finances.

This extension also led to the recent release of the documentary, ‘Framing Britney Spears’. Although the documentary does not involve Britney herself, it instead speaks to her former assistant and other people who were once in her circle. These interviews are broken up with footage of Britney performing throughout her career.

Britney’s fans have been wary of the legal hold Jamie has on her for a while, but recently the hashtag re-emerged following the extension, film, and an episode of the Britney’s Gram podcast, wherein a lawyer expressed concern that Jamie was ruining Britney’s life.

This is entirely believable, considering the 39 year old popstar needs to ask permission to leave the house or spend money, let alone signing contacts etc. She is legally not her own person.

Britney’s brother has even spoken about the conservatorship, in an interview in July he discussed that Britney has never wanted the conservatorship, and is desperate to leave it.

Who supports #FreeBritney?

As well as the thousands of Britney fans supporting the movement, many celebrities are also showing their support, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus. Britney herself has not yet shown direct support for the hashtag, but she did acknowledge it in court last year.