In his first interview in over a decade, Jamie Spears defends placing daughter Britney Spears under the 13-year-old conservatory that fueled the #FreeBritney movement, calling it a “great tool” that the pop star and her two children, Sean Preston , protected. 17, and Jayden, 16.
The Mail on Sunday has published a rare interview with the Spears patriarch, 70, his first since the conservatory ended in November 2021. Speaking to interviewer Daphne Barak, Spears defended his actions but declined to answer conclusively whether the conservatory, which began in 2008, also took a long time.
“Not everyone will agree with me,” he told Barak. “It’s been a great time. But I love my daughter with all my heart and soul. Where would Britney be now without that conservatory? And I don’t know if she would still be alive. I don’t know.
“To protect her, and also to protect the kids, conservatory was a great tool. I don’t think she would have gotten the kids back without it,” he added.
But only in September has the “Stronger” singer spoken out about estranging her two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline, all of whom have criticized her social media activities. The pop star, who recently celebrated her 41st birthday, is also estranged from dad Jamie, who reportedly lives with his youngest daughter, former Zoe 101 star Jamie Lynn Spears, in rural Louisiana. Although Britney lashed out at her sibling on social media — at one point calling her a “scum” — she recently posted a post praising 31-year-old Jamie Lynn for her performance on the Fox reality show Special Forces: The World’s Toughest Test. Jamie, who is said to have had health problems in recent years, says he too has lost touch with Britney’s boys, although at one point he claims they were “my close grandchildren”.
“I miss my two boys very, very much,” he says. “I know. You know, we were very, very close. They were around the age where you could have fun with them. But they developed a mind of their own. God makes things happen for a reason. I don’t know I don’t know what that is, but it’s been three hard years without them. The family is a mess. All we can do is keep praying.”
Spears added that he sometimes thinks “the boys are being used as a pawn” but said it’s up to their father, Federline, to decide if he can see his grandsons. “The guys need to feel comfortable,” he noted.
Britney has described her father as abusive and controlling. But during the lengthy interview, retired Spears insists he had his daughter’s best interests at heart. The conservatory, he claimed, allowed her to have 50% physical, if not legal, custody of her sons, though he or Federline were present during her visits with her children.
“We could take the kids to Europe,” Spears said. “They didn’t miss time with their mom. They didn’t miss time with their dad. Not many people knew that. The main goal was to get Britney back with her kids in a comfortable relationship. We did everything in the world with them.”
He also claimed that his superstar daughter was “broke” at the time the conservatory was established.
“She had no money at all,” Spears said. “The conservatorship provided a resource that she could come back to financially. And, you know, we worked – and she worked – and she got back on track financially. … Thanks to the conservatory, the finances were better.”
Spears also maintained that his intervention “made a difference” that benefited his daughter, despite her testimony disputing this.
“My understanding of a conservatory is to help someone get their life back and get back into society, and be able to live normally,” he said. “I want to say I made a difference. There were a few people behind me that really helped bring it to a point where we could help her.”
The public, he claimed, has a wrong idea of what the conservatory entailed.
“All I can say is most people have no idea what the truth is,” he continued. “Her lawyer has no idea what the truth is. The media has not heard the truth. They heard Britney’s accusations.
“I don’t mind taking that beating because I know it’s not true, and because I don’t want to start something else. That my daughter will end up further down the hole than she had been,” he said.
Though Spears and Federline are now back in touch, despite the latter man filing a 2019 restraining order (now expired) against his former father-in-law. Federline also charged Spears with battery, claiming Jamie broke down a locked door and “violently shook” Sean Preston. Spears stepped down as his daughter’s conservator after the incident, citing health concerns.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Spears expressed hope his family could work out their issues together.
“Each individual has a lot of work to do,” he said. “I don’t know if some of them want to do the job or not. It’s going to be hard, but that’s the goal. As I said, the family is not in good shape at the moment. That’s all I can say.
“It’s better – but we have a lot of work to do.”
Britney and her team have yet to respond to Spears’ interview.