Before Conservatorship, Britney Spears And Her Father, Jamie, Had A Rocky Relationship

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Britney Spears’ relationship with her father was clearly in trouble by the time she was just 19, the director of her only movie role has revealed.

Tamra Davis directed Spears in “Crossroads” in 2002, and told Page Six that it was clear that Jamie Spears was not an active and involved father — even though six years later he became her conservator.

Davis spoke ahead of the movie’s re-release and after Spears herself lifted the lid on her toxic relationship with her father in her new memoir, “The Woman in Me.”

The 2002 coming of age film, written by Shonda Rhimes, follows Spears’ character Lucy and her childhood best friends, played by Zoe Saldana and Taryn Manning, as they reunite after graduating high school and make a cross-country road trip to Los Angeles.

“I rarely saw her dad, maybe once or twice, but I could tell that her and her father did not have the best relationship,” Davis told Page Six.

Tamra Davis (right) directed then 19-year-old Britney Spears in her first movie role as Lucy in the 2002 coming of age film “Crossroads,” which will be re-released this week.
Spears starred alongside Zoe Saldana (left) and Taryn Manning (middle) in the 2002 movie “Crossroads.” Davis recalled Spears relished her independence on set outside of pop stardom and admired the singer’s ability to take charge of her career amid her explosive stardom.

“She [Spears] was definitely calling the shots. Lynne, her mom, would come in and out … Felicia [her manager] was the one who was mostly there,” Davis said, noting that she sensed Spears had tension with her father, who remained mostly absent from the set.

Spears’ now estranged father placed her into a conservatorship — in which a court appoints an individual to manage finances and personal affairs for someone who is mentally incapable — in 2008, a year after a breakdown when she was committed for psychiatric care.

In June, 2021 Spears revealed the arrangement was “abusive” leading to the viral #FreeBritney movement, and prompting her father to step down that September amid increasing questions about how he benefited from the conservatorship.

Davis recalled working with Spears on her 2002 film, “Crossroads,” saying she took the role seriously and was gracious to everyone on set.
Davis says Britney’s conservatorship likely thwarted them from reconnecting over the years.

“She stayed away from him [Jamie] mostly – that’s why I was shocked when I found out the father was stepping in [with the conservatorship],” Davis said.

“I was like, ‘that’s not the best relationship.’ She was really close with her mom, but I didn’t see her closeness with her father. That was not there.”

Spears’ toxic relationship with Jamie is one of the focuses of her memoir. In it, she says that her father told her, “I’m Britney Spears now,” made her perform concerts which made millions while giving her tiny sums to live on, and that he “scared me as a child and ruled over me as an adult.”

In litigation about the conservatorship Jamie Spears denied wrongdoing but has not yet responded to the memoir’s fresh allegations.

Spears advocated for the re-release of “Crossroads” in tandem with her memoir, The Woman in Me,” out Tuesday.
Davis says Spears’ father seldom visited the set of “Crossroads,” recalling at the time, “She [Spears] stayed away from him [Jamie] mostly.”

Late last year he told the Daily Mail: “I love my daughter with all my heart and soul. Where would Britney be right now without that conservatorship? And I don’t know if she’d be alive. I don’t.

“For protecting her, and also protecting the kids, conservatorship was a great tool.”

Davis told Page Six the conservatorship may also have been a roadblock to movie’s re-release.

“I tried to contact her back in the day because people would ask me — like when she was in the conservatorship — could I do these interviews and I was told not to,” she said.

The 13-year conservatorship was run by her father, Jamie Spears.
AFP via Getty Images

“I was told Britney doesn’t want people talking about her and to ‘please not do any interviews,’ so I didn’t. I don’t know to this day if that was really her telling me not to say anything or if that was her father telling me not to say anything.”

Davis told Page Six Spears advocated for “Crossroads” to be re-released in tandem with Tuesday’s publication of her memoir.

She said that at the time of the movie Spears was a bubbly, vivacious teen, eager to nail her first performance.

Jamie Spears, see with Britney (bottom left), her mom Lynn and older brother Bryan, has denied wrongdoing and said the conservatorship kept her alive.
Anaid R.

“She was 19 when I first started working with her. I was like, ‘you are controlling this whole thing in this amazing Southern way of being so nice and gracious,’ but yet if she didn’t want to talk to you, you weren’t in the room and she did it with such beautiful grace. I was like, ‘Oh I really admire this woman.’”

Spears shared in an excerpt of her memoir she didn’t realize she slipped into method acting during the filming of the drama-comedy.

“My problem wasn’t with anyone involved in the production but with what acting did to my mind,” Spears, wrote in an excerpt reported by People.

Spears was with Justin Timberlake during the movie’s filming. Her new memoir details how she had an abortion after becoming pregnant by him, and also says he cheated on her during their three-year romance. Getty Images

“Some people do method acting, but they’re usually aware of the fact that they’re doing it. But I didn’t have any separation at all. I ended up walking differently, carrying myself differently, talking differently.”

Davis told Page Six she had no idea Spears was struggling internally.

“You never know what’s going on in someone’s head. I thought she was having the best time of her life but you know that’s because I would see her smiling and do that crazy funny laugh of hers,” she said.

“When she acted she really had to play tennis with professionals and be real. It took a lot of effort for her to do that.

Davis’ description of Spears’ relationship with Jamie (left) comes amid the publication of “The Women in Me.” Davis said that Lynn Spears (right) was far more involved than Jamie.
Corbis via Getty Images

“I really just admire her vulnerability. That she went so deep and was able to access this emotion.”

Despite her fame, Spears remained humble on set, Davis remembers, but Spears never acted again,

“She could have been like ‘Hi, I’m running this and everyone do what I want people to do or whatever’ and she wasn’t.’ But she really emboldened all of us,” Davis said.

“Whether it was giving Shonda [Rhimes] her first job as a featured film writer and saying, ‘I believe in your words and this is the film I want to be in,’ and listening to what my advice was for her character – she was such an incredible professional and really trusted all the women she put around her to guide her through this experience.

“History will show that she’s a fantastic actor.”