A Los Angeles judge has suspended the father of Britney Spears from his 13-year role as the controller of the singer’s business affairs.
“The current situation is not tenable. It reflects a toxic environment which requires the suspension of Jamie Spears effective today,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny said during a court hearing on Wednesday (local time)
Mr Spears would be replaced temporarily with an accountant, Judge Penny said.
The hearing was continuing on Wednesday and Judge Penny had not made any decision on whether to terminate entirely the conservatorship that also controls the singer’s personal life.
Members of the #FreeBritney movement gathered outside the court in Los Angeles erupted in cheers as the judge’s ruling was conveyed.
Spears is yet to react specifically – but she did post a video to her Instagram within minutes of the decision. It showed her at the controls of a small plane.
“On cloud nine right now. First time flying a plane and first time in a prop plane. Geez I was scared,” she wrote.
But her lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, spoke to the crowd outside the courtroom.
“It’s been intense. I’m proud, Britney’s proud,” he said.
“I think the support of the FreeBritney movement has been instrumental. To the extent that it allowed my firm to carry the ball across the finish line, I thank them as well.”
Jamie Spears has been in charge of his daughter’s business affairs since 2008, when he put in place a court-approved conservatorship after she suffered a mental breakdown.
The singer, 39, has demanded for months that her father be removed from any role in her life. She did not take part in Wednesday’s hearing but was represented by Mr Rosengart.
Mr Spears made a surprise request earlier in September for her conservatorship to end. His lawyers on Wednesday argued there was no need for him to step down because all sides had agreed the contentious arrangement should end.
Mr Rosengart said it would take time to wind down the conservatorship of her $US60 million ($A83 million) estate, and he said Jamie Spears wanted to avoid having to answer questions about his actions.
A New York Times documentary released last week alleges the singer’s phone and bedroom were bugged by security staff working for her father.
Spears stepped up her efforts in June to break free of the conservatorship, telling the judge in her first public comments that she found it abusive and humiliating.
Public support for her has swelled and some restrictions Spears complained about have been loosened. Two weeks ago she announced her engagement to Sam Asghari, 27, her personal trainer boyfriend of more than four years.