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Britney Spears’ family has a dark history of locking up women

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KENTWOOD (La. — The local museum that houses a virtual shrine to the town’s most famous resident, mega popstar Britney Spears, used to be a funeral home. It’s one of the few places still open among the abandoned and ruined buildings in the tiny town center.

The vibe is still funereal despite the best efforts of Fay Gehringer, curator of the Kentwood Historic and Cultural Museum, a friend of both Britney’s parents. She told Britney that Britney used to wear hair bows made by her. “when she performed in everything she could when she was a little girl.”

Gehringer, who looks younger than her 80 years, gamely shows off artifacts like the angel wings Britney wore during the Femme Fatale tour of 2011 and the glassed-in replica of Britney’s entire teenage bedroom, made famous when the then 17-year-old posed seductively next to her dolls and teddy bears in a famous 1999 Rolling Stone cover story.

But it’s as if she’s describing a dead icon, not the one-time golden girl from this rough slice of northern Louisiana, just a few miles from the Mississippi border, who is still only 39 and very much alive.

Gehringer likes to point out the facial resemblance between Britney’s grandmother, Emma Jean Spears, who killed herself at age 31 with a shotgun on the grave of her infant son in May 1966, by gesturing first at a framed photo of a fresh-faced young “Jean,”As they called her, and a large poster of Britney on a wall to the side.

“That death had a big impact in that family,” Gehringer said of Emma Jean’s suicide and Britney’s father, Jamie. “It took a big toll on Jamie.”

Britney Spears’ hometown presents itself as both the starting place for the popstar and one that reveals her family’s dark past.Anaid R.

Gehringer is like many others in this small, rural community (pop. 2,120), is shell-shocked by the recent revelations and fast-moving developments in the tortuous saga of Britney’s 13-year conservatorship.

It is a topic that locals don’t like to talk about, especially to outsiders. Visitors have reported being threatened by guns or the sheriff in the 20-year history. The Post was told by Britney’s biographer in 2009 that he was warned not to enter the VFW bar. “Dub,”Oder he’d find himself. “eating gravel”In the parking lot. The manager told this Post reporter to get out of the parking lot as soon as I pulled into it.

“I know what they’re saying about Jamie, but he’s not a bad man,”Gehringer said so to The Post. “[Britney’s mom and Jamie’s ex-wife,] Lynne is a good person, too. They aren’t monsters. This is a small town. We’re good, honest country people. They got swallowed up by the Hollywood machine, by people who aren’t like us. None of them were equipped to deal with it, not Jamie, Lynne or Britney.”

Memorabilia from Britney Spears Museum, Kentwood, Louisiana.Anaid R.

Two weeks ago Britney won a big victory in court when a judge declared that her dad’s control over her life was “toxic”He was granted the request of his wife to be removed as conservator of her estate.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny agreed that it was in Britney’s “best interest” to suspend Jamie from the legal arrangement that has controlled the singer’s life and money for the last 13 years.

The ruling came after Britney’s attorney Mathew Rosengart petitioned the court to “immediately”Jamie Spears should be removed from the role. He argues that his involvement in the past has only served to prolong it. “the Kafkaesque nightmare” that has been Britney’s life since the conservatorship was established in 2008, after her very public meltdown.
Jamie mostly lives in Kentwood, although he sold Britney’s childhood home, behind Greenlaw Baptist Church, for $275,000 in February.

The Spears’ next-door-neighbor of many years still lives in the same home and told The Post that she used to babysit for a “sweet and energetic Britney.”Jamie was quick to defend the woman, although she didn’t want her name to be used.

Many local women from Kentwood and Osyka (Miss.) still remember Jamie Spears, the former Kentwood High School basketball and football star.

“Every woman wanted Jamie,”A Kentwood High classmate told The Post three years ago that he was his junior. The 64-year-old woman asked that her name be withheld because she’s afraid of repercussions, even if what she says about the Spears family is positive. “He could really have gone places. He was so handsome and so talented.”

The woman’s friend, 63, said the criticism of Jamie is unfair.

Britney’s paternal grandmother, Emma Jean Spears (top right), killed herself in 1966. Her widower’s children say he may have been abusive to her because he institutionalized his second wife and put her on lithium — just as Britney would be decades later — by her husband, June Austin Spears.Anaid R.; Dana Kennedy

“That man worked so hard for years,”She said. “He had a business building metal sheds out in the hot sun and he did that for years. He’s not some bloodsucker. I think Britney is spoiled, if you ask me.”

Some members of Jamie’s immediate family say it’s typical for people in the town to defend Jamie.

John Mark Spears, 52, who is Jamie’s half-brother, said that their father, June Austin Spears, who died in 2012, was a terrible man who was abusive to most of the 10 children he had with his three wives.

Some of the 10 have died, such as Austin, 62-years-old, who died earlier this month from liver cancer and cirrhosis following years of drinking and homelessness.

“These Spears men are something awful,” John Mark, Britney’s uncle, said. “They’ve gotten away with so much, especially to their women, for years.”

John Mark said all the family’s toxicity can be traced to his and Jamie’s dad.

“He was a monster but nobody would say a bad word about him outside the family,”John Mark. “Just like no one will say a bad word about Jamie around here.”

John Mark Spears (left) and Leigh Ann Wrather (right), the half-siblings of Jamie Spears, claim June — Britney’s grandfather — mistreated his wives. Anaid R.

John Mark, who spoke to The Post in Osyka at his home, where he is a boilermaker like his father for 22 years, stated that June Austin beat his children severely and caused his first wives to leave him.

“He ruined Emma Jean and he ruined my mama [Jo Ann, deceased,”John Mark. “He shipped them both off to Mandeville [the state’s former notorious mental hospital] from time to time. So I’m not too surprised about what Jamie’s done to Britney. It’s all about control with the Spears men.”

Jamie’s half-sister and Britney’s aunt, Leigh Ann Spears Wrather, 54, who now lives in Springfield, Tenn., said she left home at 16 after being sexually abused by their father from the age of 11. She was raped by her father one day and asked her friend to help her escape. The friend’s mother arranged to meet Leigh Ann at a local mall.

I was surprised to learn that Britney had taken lithium for a time. . . [it’s]These are the typical characteristics of this family and their treatment of their women.

Leigh Ann Wrather, Britney Spears’ aunt, whose own mother was ‘put on lithium’ at the request of Britney’s grandfather 

“I never went back except to visit a few times,”Wrather, who was a Navy veteran for 26 years, spoke to The Post. “I’ve been dealing with it my whole life. He used to line us kids up and whip us. We’d go to church where my daddy was the deacon and on the way home he’d make me beat him off. I hope he’s burning in hell.”

Wrather, who began a blog in August about her childhood, said her father forced her mother, Jamie’s stepmother, on the drug lithium for a while.

“My mom was like a debutante, she came from a good family and was considered a catch,” Leigh Ann said. “But Daddy — I hate even calling him that — drove her crazy. He institutionalized her at Mandeville a few times and put her on lithium. When I heard that Britney was put on lithium for a while I almost couldn’t believe it but it made sense. Typical for this family and how they treat their women.”

Both John Mark and Leigh Ann said they have some doubts about whether or not Emma Jean Spears’ death was really a suicide. This unusual death received a lot of attention and even made the Kentwood newspaper’s front page. The suicide was also very detailed.

“The shotgun had been pressed against the woman’s chest and she apparently pulled the trigger with a toe of the right foot from which a shoe had been removed,”The newspaper stated at the time. According to the newspaper, Emma Jean was also mentioned. “ splayed out her left leg across the grave”Before checking the shotgun’s 12-bore, make sure it was loaded with one shell.

Anaid R.

A Kentwood High classmate of Jamie’s recalled to The Post how, in May 1966, she was 8 years old in and “pushing cows”Ms. spotted a wolf in the Osyka pastures. “vehicle”Roberts Cemetery, and there is no one else.

“Then we found out who it was and how it happened,” said the classmate, who did not want to give her name but took a reporter out to Emma Jean’s grave, right next to her baby son Austin Wayne, which lies in a cemetery surrounded by bucolic fields and pastures.

John Mark and Leigh Ann doubt that anyone knows the exact details of what happened. The local newspaper reported that Emma Jean’s husband, June Austin, told the coroner his wife had tried to commit suicide several times before and was still depressed over the death of her son, who died when he was three days old.

“No one knows what happened because no one was there,” Leigh Ann said. “But you can bet my daddy pulled the trigger one way or the other even if he wasn’t there.”

Leigh Ann stated that she was stationed in San Diego as a Navy officer and, after some therapy, called her sisters and husbands to report her father’s rape.

“You know who believed me?”She said. “Only Lynne Spears. I got nothing bad to say about Lynne.”

Jamie Spears (in rouge) with Bryan, June, Britney, Jamie Lynn, Britney, and Lynne. WireImage

“The Spears men need to be held accountable,” Leigh Ann said. “Thank goodness Britney got a good lawyer. Jamie did to her what my daddy did to my mom and Emma Jean. They are mean and they will destroy you if they can’t control you. But I think Britney will survive. She’s a beautiful person with a beautiful soul.”

Jamie Spears didn’t respond to text and voice messages, so this reporter went to a gate that led to a concrete storage unit on a large area at the Kentwood edge.

He’s been living in an RV behind the unit off and on for about two years. Some locals say he has done it to show he isn’t living large on Britney’s money.

After this reporter called Jamie to see if he wanted to come out and give his side of the story, a man wearing a baseball cap and driving a golf cart — accompanied by a furiously barking dog — pulled out from behind the storage unit and drove to the gate.

He identified himself as “head of security” but looked very much like Jamie Spears, who has lost so much weight recently that John Mark said he didn’t even recognize him when he ran into him downtown recently.

“I called the law and they’s coming!”He yelled. “You got one warning. Where is your vehicle? Go get in your vehicle and get out of here now. Bye! Go! Now. BYE!”

“That sounds like Jamie,”John Mark. “He doesn’t care about what the outside world thinks. He doesn’t care about his reputation. He’s a stubborn son of a bitch and I’ll probably get a visit from him after this story.”

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