"Let her be a civilian for a while," Larry Rudolph tells Variety. "She's given so much. Give her time."
By Jem Aswad
By Jem Aswad
CREDIT: Stephen Lovekin/REX/Shutterstock
Britney Spears’s longtime manager Larry Rudolph says the singer may never perform again. Speaking to TMZ, Rudolph said, “As the person who guides her career — based on the information I and all of the professionals who work with her are being told on a need-to-know basis — from what I have gathered it’s clear to me she should not be going back to do this Vegas residency, not in the near future and possibly never again.”
Rudolph has managed Spears for most of her career, going back to her first album, “Baby… One More Time,” in 1999. “I’ve been with her for two-thirds of her life,” he tells Variety. “I look at her almost like I look at my own daughter. It’s very emotional for me … and really rough. Personally, I want for her to just find a peaceful, happy place — whatever that means for her. It’s not about a career anymore — it’s about life.”
The singer is scheduled to undergo psychological evaluation after postponing her Las Vegas residency in the wake of her father’s recent treatment for a ruptured colon. Rudolph says that, though Spears had rehearsed the show (the residency was due to launch on February 13), the Vegas engagement is effectively off, which is what prompted his speaking out in the early hours of May 15.
The decision was made “not to move forward with the Vegas residency,” he explains, adding that the question of what she’s going to do next is not the focus Spears or her family is concerned with right now. “She’s taking time to regroup and get her head together,” says Rudolph. “She’s putting herself ahead of everyone else, and I’m proud of her for that. If she never works again, she never works again. My role is to handle her career when she wants a career. If she comes back strong and full of desire and passion and wants to do it, great. If she takes off six months or six years, it’s totally fine. To me, it’s about her finding her happy place.”
Spears’ father Jamie Spears has been her co-conservator since 2008 when she suffered a very public breakdown. He became sole conservator this year after attorney Andrew Wallet resigned from his co-conservatorship in March. Jamie Spears’ recovery from his ailment evidently has not been smooth; after postponing her residency, Britney later checked herself into a health facility for a month-long stay, suffering from stress due to his illness.
Rudolph says that “[Britney] is the one whose focus is on on [getting better]. She’s driving it.” This runs contrary to the belief put forward by the “Free Britney” movement that she’s effectively imprisoned against her will. “I understand how much these fans love her and support her and I love that,” says Rudolph. “The part that concerns me is that it has no factual basis. The personal issues that Britney is dealing with are highly complicated and the conservatorship is there for a reason. The courts of the State of California take this very seriously. I hope the people allow her to have her private time.”
Spears’ business team is not involved in the conservatorship, nor is Rudolph privy to her medications or private life, which explains why he hasn’t spoken to his client “in four or five months.” At the same time, Rudolph says he’s happy that Spears “is not thinking about her business and her career — she’s dealing with these issues. Her not calling me tells me that she’s taking care of herself.”
Spears checked herself into a facility in late March, but left for several hours multiple times during her treatment, including an Easter Sunday visit to the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills with her longtime boyfriend, Sam Asghari.
Some unconfirmed media reports, citing an unidentified tipster, claimed the singer was refusing to take medication that had been prescribed in the wake of her erratic behavior in 2007 and 2008. The tipster reportedly claimed that Jamie had insisted the residency be postponed, and that Britney cite his illness as the cause.
Rudolph has been in touch with Spears’ parents, but reiterates that his involvement is “on a need-to-know basis.” Still, he remains “very close” with the singer.
As far as her music is concerned, Spears is still signed to RCA Records and “at some point, she’ll record again,” says Rudolph. “There’s a slow-moving project she’s been dabbling in and out of that’s the beginning of something.” Variety reported earlier this year that hit songwriter Justin Tranter came aboard as an executive producer of a forthcoming album. “She’ll come back to it when she’s ready,” says Rudolph. “She’s been working since she was a kid. At 37 years old, she’s worked more than most people who hit retirement age.”
Since she left treatment late last month, she has shared several Instagram posts, including one released following a widely reported public protest in West Hollywood organized by the “Free Britney” movement. Said spears in a video posted on April 24: “Hi guys, just checking in with all of you who have been concerned about me. All is well. 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 will be back very soon.”
However, the drama amped up last week when Britney’s mother Lynne, who divorced from Jamie in 2002, filed court documents asking permission for an attorney to appear on her behalf at today’s hearing. In the documents, her attorneys wrote that it was in the singer’s “best interest to allow Lynne Spears to have a voice at the Status Hearing,” according to CNN.
The singer appeared at a conservatorship hearing last week and caused some alarm when she was photographed leaving it barefoot, evoking memories of her erratic behavior in 2007 and 2008, which led to her father being appointed her conservator. The next court date is set for Sept. 18.
“Let her be a civilian for a while,” says Rudolph. “She’s given so much. Give her time.”