Fans Are Speculating That Britney Spears May Be a Victim of Parental Alienation
Fan theories are growing that the singer could potentially be dealing with a family issue that's not often discussed.
Britney Spears has been free of her conservatorship (which lasted around 13 years) since November of 2021, but that doesn’t necessarily mean her life has been any easier. The star’s mental health is constantly in question, which has been cited as a potential reason to withhold her from the children, Sean Preston, 16, and Jayden, 15, she shares with her ex-husband, Kevin Federline.
However, it hasn’t been widely discussed if Spears may possibly be a victim of parental alienation, a vicious abuse tactic that breaks down the relationship between exes and their kids. But now, some fans are starting to speculate on social media whether or not this could be the case for Spears.
Spears has been vocal about her struggles to form a healthy connection with her two teenage sons. The boys lived much of their young lives with Jamie Spears, Britney’s father and the main appointee of her conservatorship, while Britney and Federline duked it out in post-divorce custody battles.
What’s adding fuel to the theory of parental alienation is that Federline has not been shy about depicting his ex-wife to be a bad mom to the media. Many years ago, he publicly shared videos of what looked like Britney yelling at her children. Some are alleging that this behavior is in line with parental alienation, as it paints Spears as an unfit parent and works to distance her from her children.
But first, it’s important to understand exactly what is parental alienation, why it happens, and whether or not these theories have any credibility in Britney Spears’s case.
What is parental alienation?
To learn more, we spoke with Joni Ogle, LCSW, CSAT, CEO of The Heights Treatment, a treatment center for substance use disorder, trauma, and mental health conditions.
“Parental alienation is a term used to describe the psychological manipulation of a child by one parent against another,” Ogle tells HelloGiggles. “It can have a profound effect on the entire family dynamic, not just on the parent-child relationship.”
Signs of parental alienation come in many forms, some of which include:
- Attempts to denigrate and discredit the other parent.
- Actively encouraging the child’s hostility toward the other parent.
- Withholding love or support from the child due to their interaction with or expression of positive feelings toward the other parent.
“Given the circumstances surrounding Britney Spears’s divorce from Kevin Federline, I believe it is very possible that she may be a victim of parental alienation,” Ogle assesses.
It has been reported that Britney was denied access to her children following her divorce in 2007 and issued numerous court orders in attempts to regain custody.
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“This can create an atmosphere of animosity between both parents and lead to the child being emotionally manipulated,” Ogle further explains. “One parent may use the other’s absence to their advantage.”
How does parental alienation impact the family dynamic?
Life without Spears was discussed during an interview with Federline and son Jayden for 60 Minutes Australia in September 2022. In it, the younger son explained his reasons for not attending his mother’s third wedding to model and fitness trainer Sam Asghari, and how her social media content has made life difficult for him.
Spears responded with an audio post on Instagram, clearly distressed by the media attention as well as her son’s own words and feelings. But then, she got real about what co-parenting was really like:
“Do you guys want me to get better so I can continue paying your dad 40 grand a month, or is the reasoning behind you guys deciding to be hateful is because it’s actually over in two years and you don’t get anything?” she said, alluding to the fact that Federline will no longer be eligible to collect their child support payments once her sons turn 18.
Whatever the reasons behind Federline and Jayden’s choice to address the media, one thing is evident: older brother Sean is noticeably absent from most commentary opportunities.
Nothing has surfaced to reveal how the past decade has impacted the relationship between Sean and Jayden.
As Ogle explains, if this is a case of parental alienation, it can potentially have an impact on sibling relationships. “It can cause siblings to resent each other and create an environment where communication and meaningful relationships are no longer possible,” she says.
“It can also cause children to feel guilty for having any positive feelings towards the alienated parent, which in turn, can lead to low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety,” she adds.
This fan theory about Spears is currently not confirmed
Although the posts alleging that she may be a victim of parental alienation are growing, Britney has never personally acknowledged the theory.
The star continues to share her love for her sons on Instagram. Recently, she mentioned the boys in an Instagram post on her birthday, saying, “To both of my boys … I love you … I would die for you !!! God speed my precious hearts !!!” she wrote. “I would give anything just to touch your face !!! I send my love … Mamasita🌹🌹🌹”
Last year, Spears purchased a home in Calabasas, CA, just a few minutes from Federline’s, which many assumed was an attempt for Britney to be closer to her children.
However, it seems the transition from her old mansion to her new one proved too difficult; reports emerged that she re-listed the house on the market, and has been residing back in her Thousand Oaks home for several months now.