Britney Spears was not interviewed for Framing Britney Spears, but it appears that the documentary is on her radar.
Director Samantha Stark’s film, the latest installment in FX’s series of standalone docs The New York Times Presents, chronicles Spears’ tumultuous history, from her sparkling debut as a teenage phenom through her troubled 20s and into the present, as the 39-year-old pop star still lives under the conservatorship — first put in place in 2008 following a much-publicized breakdown — of her father, Jamie Spears. In recent years, the fan-led #FreeBritney movement has campaigned for the singer’s liberation from the highly restrictive legal guardianship, about which much is still unknown (due to many relevant court documents being sealed, at Jamie Spears’ request) but under which she is denied meaningful control over decisions regarding her business, finances, and personal life.
The documentary has fanned the flames of the #FreeBritney movement in the days since its Friday release, prompting many celebrities to join Spears’ fans in expressing their support for her emancipation. On Tuesday afternoon, however, the star herself spoke out for the first time since the film’s explosive premiere (unless you count an Instagram video in which she pointedly referred to the Super Bowl as “the moment we’ve all been waiting for last week”) — though she still did not directly acknowledge Framing Britney Spears.
On both Twitter and Instagram, Spears shared a minute-long clip of herself performing at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in 2017 with the caption: “Can’t believe this performance of Toxic is from 3 years ago !!! I’ll always love being on stage …. But I am taking the time to learn and be a normal person ….. I love simply enjoying the basics of every day life !!!!”
She continued, “Each person has their story and their take on other people’s stories !!!! We all have so many different bright beautiful lives 🌹🌸🌷🌼!!! Remember, no matter what we think we know about a person’s life it is nothing compared to the actual person living behind the lens 📷✨ !!!!”
The posts don’t explicitly refer to Framing Britney Spears, though the mention of “living behind the lens” brings the film’s title to mind. On Monday night, Spears’ boyfriend of four years, actor Sam Asghari, released a similarly vague statement to PEOPLE: “I have always wanted nothing but the best for my better half, and will continue to support her following her dreams and creating the future she wants and deserves,” he said. “I am thankful for all of the love and support she is receiving from her fans all over the world, and I am looking forward to a normal, amazing future together.” On Tuesday, however, he followed it up with stronger words posted to his Instagram story, in which he called Spears’ father “a total dick” who is “trying to control our relationship.”
Neither Asghari nor any member of Spears’ family participated in the documentary (though her longtime assistant and chaperone Felicia Culotta gave a memorable interview). A note at the end of the film states that the filmmakers were unsure whether their requests for Spears’ own participation ever reached the star herself.