Despite the challenges Spears has faced after the termination of her 13-year-long conservatorship, an insider says she is making decisions on her own and feeling “free"
Britney Spears is still adjusting to life post-conservatorship.
In the year and a half since her 13-year conservatorship ended, the pop superstar, 41, has seen some wins, including her Elton John collaboration "Hold Me Closer" going No. 1 and inking a $15 million book deal.
However, she's also faced challenges, including a stalled intervention amid worry from those in her circle and rumors of struggles in her marriage.
Still, a source says what's most important to Spears is that she's been a "free" woman through it all.
"She had been under lock and key for 13 years. Have there been ups and downs? Yes," a source tells PEOPLE exclusively. "But some of the amazing things she's done recently have all been her choice. She is a survivor. Despite whatever ups and downs she's going through, she remains a survivor."
In November 2021, Spears' conservatorship — under which she was placed in 2008 following a public mental health crisis — was terminated by a California judge.
"What's next for Britney is up to one person — and this is the first time we can say this in a decade — it's up to Britney," Spears' lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, stated after the ruling.
Since then, the star has said she was "victimized" by the conservatorship, and she has regularly used social media to vent her frustrations and air grievances with family members, including her dad Jamie Spears. She has said he forced her to work and spend time in a mental health facility.
Spears' family has long denied her claims, and they have said they only wanted to help.
Sources previously told PEOPLE in February that Spears' inner circle had to cancel a planned intervention for her. Insiders added at the time that Britney did, however, meet with a doctor.
"Britney has been acting increasingly erratically and those around her have grown more concerned," one source said. "She is often up all night, sleeps during [the] day and has a lot of anger."
RELATED VIDEO: Britney Spears' Inner Circle Has 'Grown More Concerned' for Her as Plans for Intervention Stall: Sources
Another insider in Spears' circle told PEOPLE that things behind the scenes had been "very difficult" and "chaotic" as those close to her encouraged her to get help.
"Everyone had hoped Britney could be convinced to seek treatment before things got any worse but they knew it wouldn't be easy," the insider said. "She's been going through a lot and has been increasingly combative."
The next month, Asghari's rep Brandon Cohen from BAC Talent had to speak out after rumors circulated about his marriage to Spears being on the rocks.
Addressing photos that showed Asghari, 29, and Spears without their wedding bands, Cohen said that Asghari simply took off his ring because he was filming a movie. (While it was unclear what movie Asghari was filming, he announced in November that he landed a role in the Taylor Sheridan-created television series, Lioness.)
Spears also offered a public apology to her two sons, Jayden, 16, and Preston, 17, after Jayden gave an interview to the Daily Mail and ITV, saying it would "take a lot of time and effort" to repair their fractured relationship.
"I just want her to get better mentally. When she gets better I really want to see her again," Jayden told the outlet. (Neither Jayden nor Preston attended Spears and Asghari's wedding.)
Addressing the boys' decision to not see her, Spears said in a since-deleted Instagram post that she had reservations of her own.
"I'm afraid to inform you guys, I'm not willing to see you until I feel valued," she said. "All I know is my love for my children is more than anything and I'm sorry if I ever hurt you guys in any way."
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