Pop star Britney Spears addressed fan rumors Tuesday night that she was being held against her will in a mental facility, posting a video to Instagram telling her millions of followers “all is well.”
“Hi guys. Just checking in with all of you who are concerned about me. All is well,” she said to her 21.7 million followers.
“My family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety lately, so I just needed time to deal, but don’t worry I’ll be back very soon,” the "Oops!... I Did It Again" singer said.
Spears, 37, reportedly voluntarily checked into a mental health facility around a month ago to help deal with her father’s ailing health, according to TMZ and a source from Variety. The apparent decision comes three months after Spears announced she would be taking an “indefinite work hiatus” from her Las Vegas residency to focus on her father’s illness, who she said in a January post on Facebook“almost died.”
Her social media has been quieter than usual since, but she wrote on an April 3 Instagram post “We all need to take time for a little ‘me time.’”
Since then, fans have begun circulating unfounded theories that the iconic pop star was being held at the facility against her will, spurring the #FreeBritney hashtag.
Since 2008, after her public mental health crisis, Spears has been held under a conservatorship controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, and lawyer Andrew Wallet. This means the two controlled her financial decisions and assets until Wallet allegedly stepped down from his role recently, which puzzled longtime Spears fans. NBC News was unable to reach Wallet for comment.
But the rumors started to gain traction when the podcast “Britney’s Gram” released a “special emergency episode” called “#FreeBritney,” in which they played an unverified voicemail from a “tipster” who claimed to have inside information about Spears. Fans then noticed an account believed to belong to Spears' mother, Lynne, was liking posts related to the #FreeBritney movement. Representatives of Spears declined to comment.
As the theories spread on the Internet, fans decided to protest outside West Hollywood City Hall on Monday, demanding the pop star’s “release.” Fans chanted and carried “Free Britney” signs, and demanded she be released from the conservatorship they believe to be oppressive.
"We believe through the proof of her work ... she is capable of being her own person," Barbara Gray, one of the hosts of the "Britney Gram" podcast, told Entertainment Tonight at the protest.
Spears’ sister, Jamie Lynn, addressed the rumors Tuesday saying, “Don’t come for me or the ones I love anymore.”
After that, Spears posted her own explanation, with a short video and a caption.
Trying to quash the rumors, Spears explained in her caption that “...things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said."
“My situation is unique, but I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment,” she wrote.