Home News Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys Placed Under Conservatorship by Family

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys Placed Under Conservatorship by Family


Beach Boys co-founder and virtuoso songwriter-producer Brian Wilson was placed under a conservatorship this week, following a petition from his family after his wife, Melinda Ledbetter, died in January.

Wilson, 81, who was diagnosed with a “major neurocognitive disorder,” was placed under the conservatorship at a Tuesday hearing overseen by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gus T. May. The hearing was the culmination of a series of proceedings initiated by Wilson’s family and friends after Ledbetter, who famously extracted Wilson’s affairs from his former psychologist via a court-ordered separation and then became his manager, died at their Beverly Hills home on Jan. 30.

“I find from clear and convincing evidence that a conservatorship of the person is necessary,” May said at Thursday’s hearing, according to the minutes viewed by The Hollywood Reporter. 

Wilson consents to the conservatorship, May declared, noting that the 11-time Grammy nominee cannot make health care and financial decisions given the state he is in. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriting Hall of Fame inductee’s publicist Jean Sievers and manager LeeAnn Hard will be his conservators.

Wilson’s path to a conservatorship began just over two weeks after Ledbetter’s death with his family — including his daughters, Carnie and Wendy Wilson of the pop group Wilson Phillips — filing the petition and a doctor’s capacity declaration. In that declaration, doctors state Wilson is taking medication for dementia and “is unable to properly provide for his own personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter.”

Carnie and Wendy Wilson asked the court that they be privy to medical decisions regarding their father. Other than some minor delays, the process was smooth with everyone seemingly agreing this was the best path forward for Wilson, who in a report filed by his attorney, agreed that Sievers and Hard are trustworthy in the capacity as his conservator. 

In a statement signed by his seven children — five of whom he and Ledbetter adopted — and Wilson after consulting with his attorney and the caregiver who is with him day-to-day, it was declared the conservatorship would ensure “there will be no extreme changes” for Wilson following Ledbetter’s death.

“Brian will be able to enjoy all of his family and friends and continue to work on current projects,” the statement reads. 

Wilson formed the Beach Boys with two of his brothers and two friends in 1961 and, by 1963, the group was topping the charts and ranking high as touring artists. Working as the group’s songwriter, producer, co-lead vocalist, bassist and keyboardist put extreme pressure on him as the group’s de facto leader, as they found near-instant international success, and he famously had a nervous breakdown in 1964 and began taking marijuana and LSD.

This culminated with the 1966 release of Pet Sounds, which is widely considered one of the best albums of all time but was not initially well-received. Over the next several decades, Wilson faced troubles with his bandmates and label, and battled his personal demons, becoming reclusive for several years and falling into a creative and business partnership with his psychologist, Eugene Landy; he was lifted out of his entanglements with Landy by Ledbetter and the two married in 1995. 

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