The Highs & Lows Of Britney Spears’ Life
Britney Spears is one of the most recognizable names in pop music. She dominated the genre in the late ’90s and early ’00s with hits such as “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops!… I Did It Again.” But like many stars who are thrust into the spotlight at an early age, Britney struggled in her personal life. While undergoing intense professional success, Britney also experienced some major setbacks involving her relationships, children, and mental health. These are the highs and lows of Britney’s life…
She Was A Contestant On Star Search & Lost When She Was Only 11
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Britney got her musical start early, beginning when she sang in the choir of her Baptist church. She took voice lessons and participated in several talent competitions. At age 11, she pulled off an impressive performance on Star Search but still lost. She competed against Marty Thomas in 1992.
Thomas later recalled he was shocked that he won: “I remember walking offstage thinking, ‘She’s going to beat me.'” He added that she clearly possessed a star quality. “She wanted it. She wanted it bad,” he said. “She worked. That’s what you’ve got to do…I’ve never for a minute felt anything but sheer pride for her.”
She Joined The Mickey Mouse Club Alongside Several Other Future Stars
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Also in 1992, Britney earned a spot on The Mickey Mouse Club (joining the ranks of future stars Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Ryan Gosling, and Keri Russell). The experience was quite memorable for the singer, who 25 years later said she’d make a guest appearance if Disney ever made a reboot.
“They would have to plan it,” she told Entertainment Tonight in June 2018. “I would definitely show up. I would go. Definitely.” She added, “It was a really good time. It was a great time. It was probably one of the most special times in my life.”
…Baby One More Time Became The Fastest Selling Album Ever By A Teen Artist
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According to Spears, “…Baby One More Time” was about teenage stress. “I knew it was a great song,” she told The Guardian in August 2018. “It was different and I loved it, [but] I don’t think you can anticipate how a song is going to be received.” When it was released in America, it sold 500,000 copies on its first day of release.
It didn’t take long for the song to hit number one (which it did in every country it charted in). The music video was also a huge hit, and it was Britney’s idea to be stuck in a classroom thinking about boys.
2000’s Oops!… I Did It Again Was Also A Massive Hit
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In 2000, Britney released her second album, Oops!… I Did It Again. It debuted at number one, selling 1.3 million copies. She broke the record for the highest debut sales by a solo artist. The titular lead single hit number one in various countries and was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards.
Britney also made over $40 million during the “Oops!… I Did It Again Tour.” Her provocative appearance at the MTV VIdeo Music Awards also made headlines.
She Broke Justin Timberlake’s Heart
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Britney met Justin Timberlake while starring on The Mickey Mouse Club. She had her first kiss with the future boy bander. Britney allegedly cheated on Justin, leading to their break up. Justin wrote a song about their relationship, Cry Me A River, which became a big hit.
The pair split up in 2002. Britney said at the time, “It’s a strange feeling getting used to being single again, but I suppose I’ll have to cope. I’m just starting to get the knack of it because ever since I was 15 I’ve been in a serious relationship.” Justin later said the breakup was “absolutely heartbreaking.”
A Self-Titled Album And That Performance With A Python
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In 2001, Britney released her third studio album, Britney. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling over 12 million copies worldwide. She received two Grammy nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Her single “I’m A Slave For You” became a top 10 hit, and her MTV VMA’s performance also made headlines. The performance involved a sexy dance with an albino python and a caged tiger on stage. The set up angered the animal activist group PETA.
Triumph And Failure In 2002
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Forbes ranked Britney as the world’s most powerful celebrity in 2002, so she was flying high when she released the film Crossroads, in which she had her first starring role.
Critics mostly panned the film, although many thought her acting was pretty good. The film performed well at the box office, earning $61.1 million with a $12 million budget. But not everything was successful that year. Britney opened her first restaurant, Nyla, in New York City in June 2002, but it closed within six months.
2004: A Quickie Marriage And A Cancelled Tour
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In January 2004, Britney shocked fans when she spontaneously married her childhood friend, Jason Alexander. The wedding took place at A Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. The marriage was one of Hollywood’s shortest lived. It was annulled 55 hours later. A petition claimed Britney “lacked understanding of her actions”.
Two months later she started “The Onyx Hotel Tour,” which she was forced to cancel midway through after injuring her knee while filming a music video for “Outrageous.” She had surgery and wore a brace for six weeks. She then required several months of rehab.
Marriage, Children, And Divorce, All Within Three Years
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Six months after she annulled her first marriage, Britney got engaged to her backup dancer, Kevin Federline even though they had only known each other for three months. The move made headlines because Federline left actress Shar Jackson, who was pregnant with their second child, for Britney. The pair held a wedding ceremony in September 2004 but the paperwork wasn’t made official until October.
The couple’s first son was born one year later. She gave birth to their second son in September 2006. Two months later, she filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. It was finalized in July 2007, and they shared custody of their children.
That Major Breakdown In 2007
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In February 2007, she went to rehab but only stayed for one day. The next night, she shaved off all her hair, which was documented by paparazzi (one of whom she attacked with an umbrella). She later admitted herself to other treatment facilities. In October, she lost physical custody of her children.
In 2017 she opened up about the breakdown, telling Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, “From an early age I always felt that everyone was testing me. If [something] was not in place, it would have been enough to get me to this point of anxiety. I could get overwhelmed by a lot of very small, disproportionate things.”
Up next: Britney makes another shocking VMA performance.
She Experienced Significant Backlash For Her “Gimme More” Performance At The 2007 VMAs
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In September 2007, Britney released “Gimme More” and performed the single at the VMAs wearing a black sequined bikini and hair extensions (to cover her botched haircut). It was the first time in three years that she had executed a major performance, and she failed miserably. Known for her electric VMA performances of the past, this one was lackluster and involved lip syncing.
Fans were shocked by her lack of enthusiasm and trademark energy. BBC’s David Willis called it “one of the worst to grace the MTV Awards.” She was reaching a tipping point, and she was about to break.
Despite Personal Struggles In 2007, Many Believe Blackout Is One Of Her Best Albums
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Spears dropped her fifth studio album, Blackout, in October 2007. It debuted at number two in the US and number one in Canada and Ireland. The album cemented her status as the only female artist to have her first five studio albums debut in the two top spots of the chart.
Blackout and the single “Gimme More” were certified platinum. Blackout won Album of the Year at the MTV Europe Music Awards. “Gimme More” hit number one in Canada and the top 10 in nearly every region it charted. Britney did not focus on promoting the album, seemingly due to her personal struggles.
Her problems were about to get worse, unfortunately.
She Was Placed On An Involuntary Psych Hold In 2008
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Britney started dating a paparazzo in December 2007 and the following month she refused to allow her ex-husband’s representatives to have access to their children. When police arrived at her residence, they determined she was under the influence of an unknown substance, so she was hospitalized.
The next day, Federline was granted sole physical and legal custody of their sons during an emergency court hearing. The singer’s visitation rights were suspended. She was then subjected to a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold. Her father was made the conservator of her assets, and she was released from the psychiatric facility five days later.
Britney Bounced Back Big Time
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It didn’t take too long for Britney to make a comeback. By July 2008, she was once again allowed to visit her children after making an agreement with her ex-husband. In September, she attended the MTV VMAs and won awards for Best Female Video, Best Pop Video and Video of the Year for “Piece of Me”.
She dropped her sixth studio album, Circus, in December 2008. It debuted at number one in the US, Canada, and the Czech Republic. She became the youngest female artist to have five albums debut at number one. The single “Womanizer” became her first number one in the Billboard Hot 100 since “…Baby One More Time”.
Would Britney’s winning streak continue?
She Got A Restraining Order Against Her Former Manager, Ex-Boyfriend & Lawyer
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2009 started off a little rough. Britney and her father believed her former manager Sam Lutfi, ex-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib, and attorney Jon Eardley were attempting to take control of the singer’s affairs, so they filed a restraining order against them. Lutfi and Ghalib were ordered to stay at least 250 yards away from Britney, her family, and her property.
Lufti later sued Britney’s parents for defamation. In court, he claimed that Britney’s dad had threatened him with a text message which read, “If and when I meet you I am going to jail and you are going to the hospital.”
Britney’s Rise Back To The Top
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In August 2011, Britney received the prestigious Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards. The following spring, she replaced Nicole Scherzinger on the second season of the U.S. version of The X Factor, joiningfellow judges Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, and Demi Lovato.
She became the highest-paid judge on a singing competition, earning $15 million for the role. Also in 2012, she collaborated with on will.i.am on his song “Scream & Shout,” which peaked at number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The single was one of the top-selling songs of 2012 and 2013, selling over 8.1 million copies worldwide.
With The Ups Come The Lows
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Britney came full circle in 2012. She was named the highest-paid female musician of the year by Forbes, with $58 million in earnings. She last topped the list in 2002. She dropped her eighth studio album, Britney Jean, in December 2013. Unfortunately, it debuted at number four and only sold 107,000 copies during its first week.
Britney Jean was the singer’s lowest-selling and lowest-charting album to date in the United States and England. The single “Work Bitch” peaked at number 12 in America, but it did hit the top 10 in several other countries. The second single “Perfume” peaked at number 76 in the US.
Next: Britney takes Vegas
Her Las Vegas Residency Was A Huge Success & She Took The Show On The Road
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On Dec. 27, 2013, Britney began her two-year concert residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Britney: Piece of Me ran through 2017. She performed a total of 248 ticketed shows during the four-year run. According to Caesars Entertainment, she grossed over $137 million from the residency.
In July 2018 she took the show on tour, with plans to visit the East Coast of the U.S. and Europe. The touring show closely resembles the Vegas production and is Britney’s first international tour in six years.
She May Have Finally Found True Love With Boyfriend Sam Asghari
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In October 2016, Britney met a guy while filming the music video for “Slumber Party.” Sam Asghari is an Iranian model who happens to be 12 years her junior. Despite their age difference, they hit it off.
A source close to Britney told Us, “He’s become a stabilizing force in Britney’s life, without stifling her or trying to make her into someone she’s not. He accepts her for who she is, which has been a struggle for Britney in the past.” The insider added, “Britney’s relationship with Sam has truly given her a purpose and a joy she never had with any other man in her life.”
The Future Looks Bright For Britney
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In addition to her “Piece of Me Tour,” 2018 has turned out to be a successful one for the pop star. She released her 24th perfume with Elizabeth Arden and became the new face of the French luxury fashion house KENZO. In April, she received the 2018 GLAAD Vanguard Award at the GLAAD Media Awards for her role in “accelerating acceptance for the LGBTQ community”.
She is scheduled to perform at the Formula One Grand Prix in October and is also working on launching her own fashion line in conjunction with Epic Rights in 2019, which will also feature accessories and electronics.