The New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears has shed light on the pop icon’s current legal situation and sparked many discussions online. For background: Since 2008, Spears has been under a conservatorship that doesn’t give her legal control over her finances and life. Spears’s father, Jamie, is her co-conservator—an arrangement she’s “strongly opposed” to, according to People.
The Glory singer hasn’t said much publicly about the conservatorship. As Framing Britney Spears notes, in 2008, she opened up about her situation in the MTV documentary, Britney: For the Record. She never used the word conservatorship but instead talked about her life in general terms.
“If I wasn’t under the restraints that I’m under right now, with all the lawyers and doctors and people analyzing me every day and all that kinda stuff—if that wasn’t there, I’d feel so liberated and feel like myself,” she says in For the Record.
What Framing Britney Spears doesn’t show you, though, is a scene in Britney: For the Record where she compares her life to jail: “Even when you go to jail, there’s always the time you know that you’re ‘gonna get out.” And when the interviewer asks if she thinks her life is out of control, she says, “I don’t feel like [my life] is out of control; I think it’s too in control. There’s no excitement. There’s no passion. It’s just, like, Groundhog Day every day.”
For the Record is, without a doubt, the most candid Spears has gotten about her life post-2008. “I’m kinda stuck in this place and it’s like, how do you deal?” she says at one point in the doc. “And you just cope. That’s what I do. I just cope with it. Every day.” Spears also tells the interviewer she can’t “really go there in a complete state of happiness” in her life “because you’re scared it’s gonna be taken away. So it’s better just not to feel anything at all and to have hope than feel the other way.”
In one particularly eye-opening part of For the Record, Spears is having a fake tattoo drawn on her and says plainly, “I’m angry. I’m horribly angry.” But the people around her don’t take her seriously and just laugh.