The Britney Spears of today is so different from the head-shaving, window-smashing Britney Spears of 2008 that she's almost unrecognizable—yet she's still under a conservatorship. In an extensive piece, the New York Times traces Spears' journey over the past eight years, noting that today, the 34-year-old has a wildly successful Las Vegas residency and a new album coming out this year, and is now the kind of person who says things like "I’m in a real good place in my life" in interviews. So, is she ready for the conservatorship to be lifted? Spears hasn't said much of anything publicly about the conservatorship since it was first put in place, at which point she compared it to something even worse than a jail sentence. But there are signs it could be time for it to come to an end.
For one thing, her conservators (her father and a lawyer) used to work hard to protect her from having to testify in lawsuits against her, but on Monday, they allowed her to testify against Sam Lutfi, who says she owes him money after agreeing to let him act as her manager in 2007. The Times notes that the experience went "without incident." But the newspaper also looks at all the money that changes hands as part of the conservatorship—her estate has paid $6.9 million to the conservators and other lawyers helping to manage her affairs; her court-appointed lawyer has been awarded more than $2 million in fees since 2008 for his work with her; her dad takes in more than $130,000 per year. "As long as she is bringing in so much money and as long as the lawyers and conservators are getting paid, there is little incentive to end it," notes one expert. Click for the full piece (or check out pictures of Britney with Hillary).