The saga of pop star Britney Spears has taken another turn, with the singer facing investigation over assault charges.
On Thursday, police attended Spears’ home in southern California after a staff member alleged the singer struck her.
No one was injured, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said, but reports taken by deputies will be handed over to prosecutors for consideration.
Spears’ lawyer Matthew Rosengart slammed the investigation as “overblown, sensational tabloid fodder – nothing more than a manufactured ‘he said she said’ regarding a cell phone, with no striking and obviously no injury whatsoever”.
“Anyone can make an accusation, but this should have been closed immediately,” Mr Rosengart said.
The investigation comes as the #FreeBritney movement rallies around Spears in her bid to regain control of her life.
The pop star is 13 years into a court conservatorship that leaves her without power over her money and affairs.
The agreement came into effect in 2008, after Spears suffered highly publicised mental breakdowns in 2007, culminating in her infamously shaving her head.
A conservatorship is a form of legal guardianship that allows a third party to control significant or important aspects of a person’s life if they are unable to do so themselves.
Conservatorships are generally reserved for cases of serious mental illness, old age or disability.
In court hearings, Spears called the conservatorship “abusive”, and has asked for her father, James Spears, to be removed from his role as conservator of her finances.
Her father said in a court filing last week that he planned to step down, but gave no timetable. He is speculated to have controlled his daughter’s spending and finances, access to medical care, career decisions and monitor her daily activities.
Rumours dating back to 2009 also suggest Spears is unable to use social media unsupervised, has been held against her will, and needs permission to leave her house.
But fans and celebrities are rallying behind the 39-year-old under the #FreeBritney hashtag.
Thousands of people have signed a petition demanding Spears be given full control of her assets.
The hashtag took off last year after a series of odd Instagram images and videos posted by Spears sparked theories that the singer was trying communicate with fans through coded messages.
One video showed her answering questions from fans, but her jumpy and jittery body language prompted users to share their concern in the comments.
“Pretty sure the most asked question is: ‘Are you OK?’,” one user wrote, while another asked if viewers thought Spears looked like she was being held hostage.
“Anyone else feel like they just watched a hostage video?”
In another instance, one fan urged Spears to wear yellow in her next video to signal she needed help.
In the following video, Spears was seen wearing a yellow top, holding a bouquet of flowers and bizarrely moving in and out of the frame.