I was experiencing rattle at the driver side front. When I removed the bolts holding the upper control arm housing and the two lower strut bolts,
I was surprised that the strut assembly wasn't coming out, but was pushing down on the lower control arm.
I had to hammer the strut assembly off of the lower control arm by hitting it side ways and when it finally reached the end, the spring decompressed and the strut shot down like a bullet towards the garage floor.
Turns the strut was seized, this broke off the big metal washer that held it to the strut tower and destroyed the upper control arm housing built in bushing.
Glad I had the replacement on hand to slide it in it's place.
So yes in my case the strut wasn't held to the vehicle by the body, but really by the lower control arm only. The lower control arm was the only thing preventing the spring from decompressing.