Framing Britney Spears: everything you need to know about the show and how to watch it

It's going to be available in the UK this week

Britney Spears - how to watch the Hulu Framing Britney Spears documentary online

by Lucy Smith |
Updated on

If you haven't watched the Framing Britney Spears documentary then to you Britney Spears is probably just the 00s pop star whose catchy songs you used to Bluetooth to your mates - remember that?

Thing is, if you do watch the documentary you'll never think of the 39-year-old's story in the same way again.

Framing Britney Spears follows the singer's rise to fame, from her early days on the Disney Channel to her inevitable stardom in the late 90s. It also sheds a particularly bright light on the mum of two's relationship with her father Jamie.

It isn't a documentary about some paternal father-daughter bond, but more of an expose.

Here's everything you need to know about the documentary that's left both fans and fellow celebs in uproar...

What is Framing Britney Spears?

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Britney performing in Las Vegas in 2018. ©Getty

Framing Britney Spears is a single episode from the ongoing FX series, The New York Times Presents. It is directed and produced by Samantha Stark and it brings what's been going on behind the scenes in the pop-star's career into the public sphere.

Namely, it explains how her father Jamie Spears' initially-short-term legal conservatorship (which he gained in 2008, shortly after Britney's public issues in 2007) has extended for more than ten years and is still ongoing. In essence, Jamie Spears has power over his daughter's finances and career (it's a bit similar to power of attorney in the UK).

In 2020, after Britney lost the battle to suspend the conservatorship, allegations surfaced that she was "afraid of her father [and] will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career."

Now, a year on, Samantha has addressed the ins and outs of the court case(s) and exposed the injustices in the singer's early career that, she says in an interview with Sky News, were "appalling" and "misogynistic."

How to watch Framing Britney Spears in the UK - is Framing Britney Spears on Netflix?

Framing Britney Spears has so far been released on US streaming platform Hulu. It has not yet been aired in the UK, but will be going live on Sky Documentaries tonight (16 February) at 9pm. Alternatively, if you don't have Sky, you'll be able to watch it through Now TV with an Entertainment Pass (which is available on a seven-day free trial...).

It has not yet been released on Netflix.

Reaction to Framing Britney Spears

The director of the documentary, Samantha, claimed that it was not possible to speak to Britney in the documentary but earlier this week, the singer herself seemed to react to it on social media.

Sharing a clip of herself performing her hit song Toxic on Instagram, the star wrote, "I'll always love being on stage... but I am taking the time to learn and be a normal person.

"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 📷✨!!!!".

In terms of the fan reception, tweets about the documentary have been blowing up ever since the episode aired in the US on 5 February.

"I’m glad the world is finally realizing the f---ked up things that happened to @britneyspears and the things that still continue to happen! It makes me so hopeful that some good will come from this and she can finally be herself again ❤️. #FreeBritney #FramingBritneySpears," wrote one user.

"I hope she gets the freedom she deserves #FreeBritney," added another.

On top of the fans, celebs from across the globe have been stepping up to show support for the pop-star, with fan reports of Ariana Grande liking #FreeBritney posts on social media and Miley Cyrus giving the singer a mention at the end of her Super Bowl appearance.

During her performance, Miley, who also started her music career on Disney Channel, finished her song Party in the USA (in which she sings, "...and a Britney song was on,") by saying to viewers, "Hey, we love Britney."

What is Free Britney?

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A Free Britney protest outside the star's 2020 courthouse hearing. ©Getty

Free Britney is a movement that was launched in defence of Britney's freedom (from her conservatorship) in 2009. Its website, explains that the conservatorship prevents Britney from having control over her children's custody, with her ex husband Kevin Federline having 70 per cent custody, or even her medical care.

The movement's supporters have protested on behalf of Britney, and do so under the belief that she herself does not want to be constricted by her father any longer. This belief has been addressed by the star's family in the past, with her brother Bryan telling podcast host Drew Plotkin that, "She's always wanted to get out of [the conservatorship]."

Britney Spears conservatorship battle

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Britney Spears' father, Jamie Spears, in 2008. ©Getty

Britney's conservatorship battle started back in 2008. The star was put under psychiatric hold following her public breakdown which saw her hit a paparazzi car with an umbrella. As a result, her father petitioned for temporary conservatorship.

According to the New York Times, this conservatorship allows Jamie to take control over most aspects of Britney's life and it allegedly includes things as small as whether she can buy "a drink at Starbucks".

Since Jamie became his daughter's conservator, it has been reported by his representatives that he has likely saved Britney from financial ruin. Also, in his court filings, the 68 year old said that his, "sole motivation has been his unconditional love for his daughter and a fierce desire to protect her from those trying to take advantage of her."

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Britney Spears with her father Jamie, brother Bryan and mother Lynne. ©Getty

However, according to, in 2018, Britney's conservator admitted to "acting outside the scope of his duties."

In 2019, it was then reported that Jamie had stepped down as conservator on account of health issues. A professional conservator then stepped in to take his place.

Last year, Britney's lawyer claimed that his client's "conservatorship must be changed substantially," after the singer requested that the conservator who had taken her father's place might continue permanently. In this court hearing, it was revealed that Britney "strongly opposed" to her father's conservatorship.

In November 2020, the singer's request was denied, but a professional co-conservator was appointed.

After 13 years, Britney remains a conservatee. Her next hearing is on 11 February.

The Britney Spears Diane Sawyer interview

In November 2003, US broadcaster Diane Sawyer interviewed Britney Spears when she was 21 years old.

As a result of the Framing Britney Spears documentary, the interview has recently resurfaced, and fans aren't happy.

In the interview, Diane told Britney that Kendel Ehrlich (wife of Maryland’s former governor) had said, "If I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would".

Diane seemed to support Kendel, telling the ...Baby One More Time singer that the comment had been made because "of [Britney's] example for kids."

She went on to refer to Britney's appearance and deemed it "highly explicit" and after holding up magazine shots of the star, Diane and asked Britney, "What happened to your clothes?"

Britney Spears Diane Sawyer
Five years after the interview in question, Britney appeared on Good Morning America with Diane as anchor. ©Getty

Diane then questioned the star's behaviour towards the end of her relationship with fellow pop-star Justin Timberlake, remarking that she was "[wasn't] faithful."

She said, "You did something that caused him so much pain, so much suffering, what did you do?"

Though Britney defended herself time and time again throughout the interview, telling Diane that other people's children aren't her responsibility and that she's comfortable in her skin, fans still took to Twitter to fume on the star's behalf.

"Diane Sawyer made it sound reasonable that the First Lady of Maryland wanted to shoot Britney Spears because being a parent is hard," wrote one user.

Craig Ferguson's Britney Spears monologue

While fans have been calling out to the likes of Diane and The Tonight Show's Jay Leno, accusing the interviewers of piling onto Britney, one talk show host, Craig Ferguson, memorably refused to make fun of the young pop-star.

In 2007, The Late Late Show host Craig Ferugson took a moment to acknowledge that it's "not a joke" to laugh at vulnerable people. The 58 year old (then 44) cited Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith who died of a drug overdose in 2007, telling viewers, "People are falling apart! People are dying!

"I'm starting to feel a little bit uncomfortable about making fun of these people."

Finishing up his speech in stark contrast to his competitors, Craig then announced that he would not be making any Britney Spears jokes during the episode.

"This woman has two kids," he said, "She's 25 years old. She's a baby herself. She's a baby."

The monologue has been circulating around social media once more following the release of the Framing Britney Spears documentary. Congratulating the presenter, one fan wrote on Twitter, "I’ll always remember this astonishing monologue. Britney - being bashed from everyone in the media & Craig stood firm and showed humanity. I never forgot that."

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake

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Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in 2002. ©Getty

Britney Spears dated Justin Timberlake for three years from 1999 to 2002. The pair were both stars of Disney's Mickey Mouse Club as tweens but didn't start dating until they were around 18 years old.

While Diane Sawyer hinted that Britney had cheated on Justin, there is no public evidence to suggest that this is the case. And though, it was speculated whether Britney had been unfaithful with her and Justin's music video/tour director Wade Robson - this has not been confirmed.

Speaking about the couple's relationship in 2001, Britney told The Observer, "I'm not ashamed at all to say that I love him from the bottom of my heart. As far as love is concerned, with him, too much is not enough. He's everything."

After their split, Justin then spoke to The Telegraph, telling the publication, "The break-up was absolutely heartbreaking for me."

Britney Spears and Sam Asghari

Sam Asghari is Britney Spears' current boyfriend. They have been together since 2016 when they met on the set of one of Britney's music videos.

Sam works as a model and personal trainer, and starred in Fifth Harmony's Work From Home music video. He was born in Iran and moved to the US at the age of 12. When the pair first met, Sam was starring in Britney's Slumber Party video; the 26 year old told Men's Health that he had "butterflies."

Since framing Britney Spears aired last week, Sam spoke to People magazine about the documentary.

"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," he said.

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Is Britney Spears on Instagram?

Yes, Britney Spears is on Instagram @BritneySpears.

Is Britney Spears on Twitter?

Yes, Britney Spears is on Twitter @BritneySpears.

How old is Britney Spears?

Britney Spears is 39 years old.

Does Britney Spears have children?

Yes, Britney Spears has two children, Sean Federline, 15, and Jayden Federline, 14, with her ex-husband of two years, Kevin Federline.

Does Britney Spears have siblings?

Yes, Britney Spears has two siblings, Jamie Lynn Spears (who you might recognise from the 00s kids show Zoey 101) and Bryan Spears. Bryan is the oldest sibling at 43, followed by Britney and then Jamie Lynn at 29.

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