A day after delivering explosive courthouse testimony about the pain being subject to a conservatorship has caused her, pop music icon Britney Spears apologized to her fans for misleading them by maintaining a happier facade on social media.
In an Instagram post Thursday afternoon ― her first public statement since pleading with a judge to end her “abusive” 13-year-long conservatorship on Wednesday ― Spears revealed what many of her followers had long assumed: that her upbeat online presence was her way of masking a much darker reality.
“I believe as people we all want the fairy tale life and by the way I’ve posted … my life seems to look and be pretty amazing … I think that’s what we all strive for !!!!” she wrote in a lengthy caption.
“I’m bringing this to peoples attention because I don’t want people to think my life is perfect because IT’S DEFINITELY NOT AT ALL,” she continued, “and if you have read anything about me in the news this week … you obviously really know now it’s not !!!!”
Spears’ widely covered testimony alleged that those in control of her conservatorship, which includes her father Jamie Spears, had forced her on birth control despite her desire to have a baby; prevented her from getting married; forced her to take the mood-stabilizing drug lithium; and made her perform when she did not want to, a situation she likened to “sex trafficking” that has made her “cry every day.”
Under the conservatorship, which Spears was put under following a psychiatric evaluation in 2008, she is essentially barred from making any personal decisions ― from whom she can be in a car with to her own reproductive freedoms.
Though concerns about the possibly exploitative nature of her conservatorship have circulated for years, Spears maintained on social media that she was doing well, saying in a video post as recently as April that she’s “extremely happy. I have a beautiful home, beautiful children. I’m taking a break right now because I’m enjoying myself.” She put out a similar message late last year, telling her followers: “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”
Those weren’t accurate portrayals of her life, Spears said in her Instagram post Thursday.
“I apologize for pretending like I’ve been ok the past two years … I did it because of my pride and I was embarrassed to share what happened to me,” she wrote, echoing some of the remarks she made in court the day prior.
But although her social media presence has been misleading, she said, making those posts helped her through rough times.
“I feel like Instagram has helped me have a cool outlet to share my presence … existence … and to simply feel like I matter despite what I was going through and hey it worked,” she wrote.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.