Over a decade ago, just before Britney Spears was put under a conservatorship, which has since become permanent and a source of public scrutiny, the pop icon frequently had a questionable man by her side: Sam Lutfi.
Spears, 39, has been under the conservatorship of her father since 2008, following her very public mental health crisis. The pop star was routinely swarmed by paparazzi and famously documented shaving her head — which at the time was reported in tabloids as a symptom of her instability — and at one point in early 2007, seen attacking a paparazzi’s vehicle with an umbrella. By October 2007, she had lost custody of her children, estranged herself from some of her relatives and fired her longtime manager. Eventually, she was taken in for a mental health evaluation by ambulance.
As detailed in “Framing Britney,” a new documentary that looks at both the conservatorship and perceived unfairness that the pop star endured, Lutfi became a close associate of Spears during the tail end of her crisis. It appears they connected following her head-shaving incident, the Associated Press reported in 2009. They apparently met in a nightclub after Spears did a stint in a rehab facility, Yahoo! Entertainment reported in 2019.
In the documentary, Joe Coscarelli, a reporter for The New York Times, described Lutfi, whose given name at birth was Osama, as someone known for “attaching himself to celebrities, often at vulnerable moments for them."
Lutfi soon claimed to be Spears’ new manager, but her family has said that he was actually more of a catalyst for her downfall. Some have hypothesized that it was the alleged power he had over Spears’ life that prompted the conservatorship in the first place.
By 2008, the same year that the pop star’s father, Jamie Spears, was named the conservator over her affairs, her family filed a restraining order against Lutfi. In a 2008 motion, her mother, Lynne Spears, claimed that Lutfi "essentially moved into Britney's home and has purported to take control of her life, home and finances,” the Associated Press reported in 2009.
Lynne Spears alleged that Lutfi took control of her medication, cut her phone lines, and controlled and manipulated her. As the documentary reveals, her family said they believe he even intentionally drugged and confused her. A three-year restraining order was granted against him in 2009.
Lutfi has denied the allegations and long maintained he had the best intentions for Spears. Her family successfully took out a second, five-year restraining order on Lutfi in 2019, barring him from contacting Spears and referring to him as a “parasite” who was “falsely claiming to have been [Spears’] manager,” E! News reported. Additionally, Spears herself, in rare form, addressed allegations against Lutfi on her Instagram account that same year, claiming that he “was pretending to be me and communicating with my team with a fake email address.”
Who exactly is Lutfi?
While his past, profession, and intentions have long remained elusive, the Associated Press reported in 2008 that he was born and raised in Los Angeles, where his mother owned several gas stations. He also has an IMDB page, in which he is described as a producer and production manager. He’s listed as an executive producer of “Under the Silver Lake,” a 2018 crime drama starring Andrew Garfield.
Lutfi sued Spears in 2009 for defamation, and also claimed that he was owed money because of an oral agreement about him being her manager. In 2016, they reached a six-figure settlement, Fox News reported. In 2012, Spears’ former nanny claimed that Lutfi didn’t actually do any managerial work and that he had no input in anything to do with her music.
Lutfi has also become an outspoken opponent of Spears’s conservatorship. In fact, her family has said they believe he may have even been behind the #FreeBritney movement, PageSix reported in 2019.
On Saturday, Lutfi tweeted, “I've been saying this for 13 years... I've always been one hundred percent truthful and soon you'll all see that for yourselves.” He followed that up with a Sunday meme that alludes to standing up for oneself while also being a “kind person with a good heart.”
Lutfi has not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
Get all your true crime news from Oxygen. Coverage of the latest true crime stories and famous cases explained, as well as the best TV shows, movies and podcasts in the genre. Sign up for Oxygen Insider for all the best true crime content.