image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionLarry Rudolph, pictured with Britney at the 2008 MTV Awards, has managed the star for almost the entirety of her career

The man who has guided Britney Spears' career for the last 25 years is stepping down as her manager.

Larry Rudolph, who helped Spears secure her first recording contract, said the star's "intention to officially retire" had prompted him to resign

The move comes two weeks after Spears' told an LA judge that she had been forced to perform against her will.

She is currently seeking to end a conservatorship that has governed her life and finances since 2008.

Rudolph announced his intention to resign in a letter to the star's father, Jamie Spears, and co-conservator Jodi Montgomery.

"It has been over two and-a-half years since Britney and I last communicated, at which time she informed me she wanted to take an indefinite work hiatus," he wrote.

"Earlier today, I became aware that Britney had been voicing her intention to officially retire. As her manager, I believe it is in Britney's best interest for me to resign from her team as my professional services are no longer needed."

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Rudolph noted that he had "never been a part of the conservatorship nor its operations, so I am not privy to many of these details," but said he was "incredibly proud of what we accomplished over our 25 years together".

"I wish Britney all the health and happiness in the world, and I'll be there for her if she ever needs me again, just as I always have been," he concluded.

'Like a daughter'

Rudolph has been Spears manager for almost the entirety of her career, ever since her mother, Lynne Spears, asked his opinion about Spears' singing voice.

At that time, he was a music industry lawyer, representing clients including the Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Simpson. But he was so impressed by what he heard that he took Spears under his wing, and presented the then-15-year-old to record labels in New York, eventually securing her a deal with Jive.

He then guided the teenager to global stardom, with hits like …Baby One More Time, Ooops! I Did It Again and Toxic.

Although he stepped aside briefly in 2007 and 2008, he returned to Spears' side after a series of public incidents led to her being placed under a conservatorship, and helped her revitalise her career with a string of successful albums and a lucrative Las Vegas residency.

In May 2019, as the singer announced she would not continue performing in Las Vegas residency, Rudolph told Variety: "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."

"I've been with her for two-thirds of her life. I look at her almost like I look at my own daughter," he continued. "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."

image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionBritney Spears, who is believed to have a net worth of $60m, is not in control of her own finances

Rudolph, who has also represented clients like Miley Cyrus, Aerosmith and Pitbull, announced his resignation amid increased scrutiny of Spears' conservatorship.

At a specially-convened court hearing two weeks ago, the star called the arrangement "abusive" and said she had been drugged, forced to perform against her will and prevented from having children.

The testimony was the singer's first full public statement about her situation and has sparked an outpouring of public support for her bid for freedom.

It came after years of speculation and concern from fans campaigning under the banner of #FreeBritney.

A day before her testimony, Spears called US emergency services to report herself a victim of conservatorship abuse, according to an investigation published by the New Yorker over the weekend.

In the wake of her statement, a financial firm that was appointed to help oversee her conservatorship asked to withdraw.

However, a day earlier, Judge Brenda Penny denied a request Spears made in November to have Jamie Spears removed from his position as her co-conservator.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 14 July.

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