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Britney Spears tried to contact Gov. John Bel Edwards from mental health facility in 2019

The Advocate - 7/26/2022

Jul. 26—Rural Tangipahoa Parish is a fairly small place, so of course pop star Britney Spears knew Gov. John Bel Edwards, which may be why she reached out to him in 2019 after she says she was forced into a mental health facility.

Edwards acknowledged that he was the one Spears was attempting to contact in a text seeking his phone number. "The Spears and Edwards families have known each other for decades," said Eric Holl, Edwards' deputy chief of staff.

The governor never connected with nor heard from Spears in the wake of March 2019 text message exchanges with her friend Jansen Fitzgerald.

Spears, who grew up in Kentwood, blew into the pop world in 1998 as a 16-year-old wearing a plaid school uniform in the music video "...Baby One More Time." Edwards grew up about 20 miles south in Amite, where his father was sheriff of Tangipahoa Parish.

Now 40, Spears posted screenshots of text messages on Instagram — "a little different with proof" — in answer to her mother posting text messages about the star, according to Page Six, a New York-based magazine and website that covers celebrities.

Spears accused her mother, Lynne Spears, of abusing her after a series of texts from when the singer was in a mental health facility were released publicly Monday.

One of the texts cryptically involved Louisiana's Democratic governor without identifying him as such. And she noted having tried unsuccessfully to contact "Mrs. Donna," the first lady of Louisiana, who is friends with Lynne Spears.

Britney Spears had a series of public breakdowns in 2007 and 2008 following the dissolution of her marriage to dancer Kevin Federline, to whom she lost custody of her sons. She was under intense media scrutiny and at one point, she shaved her head and, in another incident, attacked paparazzi with an umbrella.

Her father, Jamie Spears, took control of her medical care and financial affairs in 2008. She had been taking medicine that treats mood disorders including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to Page Six.

In 2019, Britney Spears texted her childhood friend Fitzgerald to help her find a lawyer.

"I need John bells number please. When u can," Britney texted Fitzgerald in 2019, seemingly referencing Edwards and his wife.

In fighting the conservatorship, Britney Spears said in court that her father forced her to take birth control and other medications; that she was denied the right to get married; and that her father wielded heavy control over her work schedule, business decisions and many aspects of her personal life.

A Los Angeles judge gave Britney Spears the right in 2021 to hire her own attorney, who promptly ended her father's conservatorship in November.


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