The 9 biggest moments from the groundbreaking documentary, Framing Britney Spears.

Almost all of Britney Spears' life has been lived under a microscope.

From her time as a child star on The Mickey Mouse Club, to her pop domination, to her highly publicised personal and professional setbacks, the public know so much about the 39-year-old's career and private life.

Her mother Lynne released a tell-all memoir about Britney in 2008, at the same time her daughter's struggles played out daily in tabloid media and a court placed her under a conservatorship led by her father, James "Jamie" Spears.

The trailer for Framing Britney Spears. Post continues below video.

Video via New York Times.

Thirteen years later, the conservatorship remains. Now, a new documentary aims to reveal the latest developments in Britney's legal battles and explore the increasingly loud #FreeBritney movement.

The New York Times Presents Framing Britney Spears dives into the life and career of Britney Spears, how she has been failed by other people and the belief that she is being held "captive" by her family and management.

The documentary aired in Australia on Tuesday, March 2. You can watch it now for free on 9Now. Here are the biggest moments.


Listen to The Spill hosts break down the most shocking moments from Framing Britney Spears.

The misogynistic media.

At the beginning of the documentary, we see footage of an incredible performance by Britney as a 10-year-old on Star Search. After she's performed, the MC, Ed McMahon, asks her is she has a boyfriend.

She says no, boys are mean, because she's 10. McMahon, then 69, says "I'm not mean, how about me?"

At other points, we see interviewers ask Britney about her "breasts" and whether she is a virgin.

Image: Getty. 


During a 2003 chat that aired on ABC's Primetime Thursday, Diane Sawyer talked to Britney about "upsetting a lot of mothers in this country" for being a 'bad example'.

Britney would hit back against inappropriate questions, which is interesting to watch in contrast to the common view that she was a manufactured star without much control over her career.


Following her 2007/2008 troubles, there are various clips of Britney being the butt of comedian jokes and a Family Feud category in which contestants were asked to name things "Britney Spears has lost". One of the top answers was "her mind".

Britney's father wasn't heavily involved in the beginning of her career.

Interviews in the documentary claim Britney's father wasn't around very much when she was growing up and throughout the beginning of her career.

Image: Getty. 


He attended rehab for alcohol abuse issues and drifted between several careers, including construction, a chef and opening a gym business. He later filed for bankruptcy.

"Her mother would do whatever it took personally and for the family's sake, for Britney to be a star," Kim Kaiman, the senior director of marketing at Jive Records, Britney's first label, said.

"Lynne supported Britney. I want to say Lynne because I never talked to her father. The only thing Jamie ever said to me was 'my daughter's going to be so rich, she's going to buy me a boat'. That's all I'm going to say about Jamie."

Justin Timberlake launched his solo career off sl*t-shaming.

Britney Spears' and Justin Timberlake's relationship was major tabloid fodder, with her the biggest pop star and him part of the boy band NSYNC.

Image: Getty. 


And when they broke up, Justin took control of the narrative and made it seem like Britney cheated on him. In his video for Cry Me A River, about their breakup, he hired a Britney look-a-like.

"The way that people treated her, to be very high school about it, was like she was the school sl*t and he was the school quarterback and he essentially weaponises the videos to one of his singles to incriminate her in the demise of the relationship," said Times critic-at-large Wesley Morris.

Image: Details. 


In a radio interview for Star and Buc Wild Morning Show, Justin is asked "did you f*** Britney Spears?"

"Okay, yeah I did," he replied, to cheers.

The wife of a senator said she would shoot Britney.

On October 3, 2003, the first lady of Maryland, Kendall Ehrlich, spoke at a domestic violence function and made the statement, "You know, really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would."

She later apologised and said she'd been using a figure of speech.


Diane Sawyer told Britney she'd said that because of the example Britney was setting for children.

"Well that's really sad that she said that, ew. 

"I'm not here to babysit her kids," Britney replied.

Behind-the-scenes of those infamous umbrella paparazzi images.

First, some context: In the documentary, the former photography director for US Weekly spoke of how as the magazine published more and more 'unposed' (read: unflattering) paparazzi images, sales went up.

Then, after the birth of Britney's first child Sean Preston Federline in 2005, her paparazzi presence exploded and tabloids bent over backwards to portray Britney as an unfit mother.

She told Matt Lauer in a 2006 interview she feared for Sean's safety as paparazzi banged on their car doors and did everything to get the shot.


Following the birth of her second son Jayden in 2006, and divorce from Kevin Federline, images of Britney partying became commonplace on magazine covers. 

There are multiple shots of her crying as men with cameras swarm her cars.

In early 2007, those infamous photos of Britney shaving her head went viral.

"She's saying essentially with no hair, I quit. Whatever you guys are looking for in terms of me coming back and being that person again, that person is gone, and you have destroyed her," Wesley Morris said.

"The idea that you could look at [those images] and only see a 'crazy person' that just tells me what a vulturous society she was working with."

Soon after came more photos, of Britney smashing a car with an umbrella.

The paparazzi whose car it was told the documentary the images took place after she'd driven to Kevin's house hoping to see her sons, but he had not opened the gate for her to do so.

Image: Getty. 


The paparazzi told Britney he wanted to ask her a couple of questions and she grabbed that umbrella and hit his truck.

"That night was not a good night for her, and it wasn't a good night for us. But it was a good night for us, because it was a money shot," he said. 

Britney tried to hire her own lawyer when her conservatorship was being set up.

In 2008, Jamie Spears filed for a temporary conservatorship over Britney's person and her estate, alongside attorney Andrew Wallet. Last year, he took over as sole conservator when Wallet stepped aside.

Before the conservatorship was granted, Britney had contacted lawyer Adam Streisand. He met with Britney and after finding her sound of judgement, Britney told him she didn't want her father in charge of the conservatorship.


"The day that I went to court for her, the judge said 'I've got a medical report, and you haven't seen it Mr Streisand, and I'm not going to show it to you, and it shows that she's not capable of retaining counsel or directing counsel on her own,'" he recalled.

"When the judge told me 'Mr Streisand, I'm not going to let you represent her, I'm going to appoint somebody', I felt that was not the right decision by the judge. I felt based on my interactions with Britney that she was capable of retaining and directing me, and a judge should've allowed that to happen."

He said he still didn't know what was in the health report.

The conservatorship business.

In the years since her conservatorship, Britney worked tirelessly.

She went right back to work in 2008 with her Circus album, award show performances and a guest star appearance on How I Met Your Mother

She toured in 2009, appeared on Glee in 2010, and released another album and held another tour in 2011.

In 2012, she replaced Nicole Scherzinger as a judge for the second season of the U.S. version of The X Factor with a reported salary of US$15 million, and the following year she announced her Las Vegas residency, worth to her bank account about a million dollars a week.

All this is to show the money she brought in - which she had no control over.

"She's living the life of a busy pop singer and yet we're also being told that she's at risk, constantly," said Times pop music reporter Joe Coscarelli.


The #FreeBritney movement.

Image: Getty. 

Concern over Britney's wellbeing entered overdrive when she canceled her second Vegas show, Domination, in January 2019, citing her father's recent health emergency and wanting to be with her family.

Then she vanished from public life and social media.

In April that year, it was confirmed she had checked into a residential treatment facility for her mental health. 


Later that month, Tess Barker and Babs Gray, hosts of the Britney's Grams podcast, received a voicemail they'd received from an anonymous caller who claimed to be a paralegal who used to work at a law firm that represented Britney and claimed she had not voluntarily entered that facility, and she supposedly checked in all the way back in mid-January.

Her manager Larry Rudolph denied the claims, but the #FreeBritney movement was born.

The future of the conservatorship.

In September 2020, Britney filed to open up parts of her case, arguing the public should know what is happening to her.

She also gave what #FreeBritney fans took as a message of support for the movement.

"At this point in her life when she is trying to regain some measure of personal autonomy," the filing said, "Britney welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her many fans."

At a November 2020 court hearing, Jamie Spears was upheld as Britney's conservator, but the court did not close the door on ousting him in the future.

The court heard how Britney is reportedly afraid of her father and would not perform again until he no longer had control of her career.

In December, the conservatorship was extended until September 2021 and in January, Britney's lawyer said it would be "highly detrimental to Britney's interest" for her father to gain any more power.


There are to be at least three more hearings before the current September deadline, and it appears Britney is determined to fight to live her life on her own terms.

Framing Britney Spears is streaming now on 9Now.

Feature image: Getty.

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