Britney Spears first appeared in The All-New Mickey Mouse Club when she was 11 years old, and her career as a pop singer and performer began with the publication of the single “…Baby One More Time” in 1998. Before suffering a series of personal and professional setbacks, Spears earned tremendous sales with albums such as Oops!… I Did It Again and Britney. She resurfaced in 2011 with the chart-topping Femme Fatale and then had a long residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Britney Jean Spears was born on December 2, 1981, in McComb, Mississippi, and grew up in Kentwood, Louisiana. Spears has been one of the most successful—and occasionally contentious—solo acts in mainstream music for more than two decades. However, for a time, she was better known for her personal troubles.
Spears, the middle child, took a passion in performing from a young age. “Ever since I was 7 or 8 years old, my mother would have company over, and I was always performing in front of the TV for everyone.” “I was always the odd child at school; I would go outside and instead of playing, I wanted to have Star Search competitions,” Spears told the Hollywood Reporter.
She auditioned for The All-New Mickey Mouse Club on the Disney Channel when she was eight years old. Spears did not receive the position, but she did fulfill a childhood ambition by performing on the famed entertainment competition Star Search in 1992.
Spears tried out for The All-New Mickey Mouse Club again when she was 11 years old. This time, she was chosen for the cast, which included other rising stars such as Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, and actress Keri Russell. For two seasons, Spears appeared on the children’s variety show. “We had an amazing, incredible time; we got to sing and dance and do everything,” she subsequently told the Hollywood Reporter.
Breakout Songs: “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops!… I Did It Again”
After the show was canceled in 1995, Spears concentrated on her musical career. She was finally signed to Jive Records. In September 1998, Spears released her debut single, “…Baby One More Time.” The catchy song topped the pop charts at the end of January 1999, helped along by a music video in which the vocalist danced in a scant rendition of a Catholic schoolgirl outfit. Despite the harsh criticism from her young fans’ parents for her racy dress, Spears claimed to be a nice, innocent Southern girl at heart.
That same year, the…Baby One More Time album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and went on to sell more than 25 million copies worldwide. Spears won four Billboard Music Awards in 1999, including female artist of the year and best new artist. Her meteoric popularity catapulted her to the forefront of the teen pop music craze, alongside fellow Mickey Mouse Club alumnae Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson.
Spears followed up her spectacular climb with the release of Oops!… I Did It Again in 2000. The album went straight to No. 1 on the album charts, selling over a million copies in its first week. The singer’s personal life was also being scrutinized, with allegations circulating that she was dating Timberlake, who was then a member of the hit pop group *NSYNC.
A Sexier Image: ‘Britney’ to ‘In the Zone’
Spears made the first step toward losing her innocent image with 2001’s Britney, while also turning her sound in a new direction. The single “I’m a Slave 4 U” sounded more like a Prince song than her previous bubblegum pop. “I’d get tired of singing the same songs all the time.” “I love my old stuff, but you have to stretch yourself and grow,” she told Entertainment Weekly. At the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, Spears performed “I’m a Slave 4 U” while wearing a barely-there costume and a seven-foot albino python around her neck.
Spears starred in the feature picture Crossroads at the same time. The coming-of-age movie was panned by reviewers after its February 2002 premiere, although it eventually grossed more than $60 million worldwide. Later that spring, Spears suffered another setback when she and Timberlake announced their split.
Spears made news the following year for her actions at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. During a performance, she and fellow former Mouseketeer Aguilera shared a kiss with music icon Madonna. Some perceived this dramatic stage moment as another opportunity for Spears to exhibit the most sexualized form of her public character. Around this period, Spears admitted that Madonna had a significant influence on her. “I recall sitting in my living room, watching her on TV.” “I’d dance around in my shorts, sing, and fantasize about being her,” Spears told Newsweek.
That November, Spears’ next album, In the Zone, was released, featuring vocals from Madonna on the tune “Me Against the Music.” “Toxic,” the album’s lead hit, awarded Spears her first Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording.
Marriage to Kevin Federline
Spears appeared to be rebelling once more by January 2004, this time against her hectic work schedule. In Las Vegas, she married her childhood friend Jason Alexander, but the marriage was annulled two days later. She later began dating backup dancer Kevin Federline. Federline’s fiancée was pregnant with their second child at the time. The media’s scrutiny of Spears’ personal life further fueled her connection with Federline.
Around this time, Spears encountered some professional difficulties. She had to cancel the last leg of her tour because she needed surgery to repair a knee injury. Spears and Federline married in Studio City, California on September 18, 2004.
She released Greatest Hits: My Prerogative shortly after her wedding. Spears performed Bobby Brown’s smash “My Prerogative,” which appeared to be her method of responding to her detractors and lashing out at the media frenzy that surrounded her. Although it was not as successful as In the Zone, the album sold more than 5 million copies.
Spears appeared satisfied despite her dropping sales. In April 2005, she and her husband revealed that they were expecting their first child together. “Being pregnant gives me a sense of empowerment.” “I think it brings out a more pure side of you,” Spears told People. Despite the public’s interest with the young pair, few people watched Britney and Kevin: Chaotic, their 2005 reality program that detailed the narrative of their early romance through personal videos. Sean Preston, the couple’s son, was born in September of that year.
Troubles in the Spotlight
In February 2006, the new mother was captured on camera driving her automobile while holding her young boy in her lap. Her parenting abilities became a national topic of discussion, and she was even chastised by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta for her conduct. Mineta called Spears’ behavior “irresponsible” and “troubling,” saying she was sending “the wrong message to millions of her fans.”
Spears apologized for the incident, stating she was simply trying to avoid the photographers. “I love my baby more than anything, and as unfortunate as this experience has been for me and my family, if it brings more attention to child safety, then I fully support that,” she told People magazine.
With the birth of their son Jayden James in September 2006, Spears and Federline expanded their young family. Spears, on the other hand, filed for divorce two months later, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
After her divorce, Spears partied with socialite Paris Hilton, among others, in the club scene. She allegedly checked in and out of treatment before shaving her head in a California beauty salon while photographers snapped images in February 2007. She warned the salon owner that “my mom is going to freak.” Spears went to a treatment center in California the next month.
By the summer, Spears and Federline were embroiled in a contentious custody fight for their two sons, and Spears was now alienated from her mother. Despite her personal difficulties, she continued her musical career with the album Blackout. The single “Gimme More” was released in September and was well welcomed by both the public and critics.
Spears’ performance of the song at that year’s MTV Video Music Awards, on the other hand, was a flop. She appeared frightened on stage, dancing slowly and lip-syncing terribly. Spears was charged a few days later in connection with a hit-and-run in a parking lot.
However, Spears was not the only member of her family to make news in 2007. Jamie Lynn, her younger sister, announced her pregnancy at the age of 16. Jamie Lynn, who was a celebrity on the kid-friendly Nickelodeon channel at the time, became a divisive figure in the teen pregnancy movement.
Despite these failures, Blackout debuted at number two on the Billboard charts in November. This sort of return looked to be short-lived, as Spears appeared to have another breakdown in January 2008. When she refused to return her sons to their father following a court-ordered visit, she was sent to the hospital for psychiatric treatment. Federline was eventually granted sole custody of the two boys.
By the end of the month, Spears had returned to the hospital for another evaluation. Her diagnosis of bipolar disorder was rumored, but it was never proven. Lynne, her mother, subsequently recounted in her memoir Through the Storm that she thought her daughter had postpartum depression.
Spears became the target of a power struggle between her parents, Jamie and Lynne, and her manager, Sam Lutfi, while in the hospital. Lutfi, the couple believed, was a detrimental influence on their daughter and was attempting to dominate her life. Her father took her to court and won control of her personal, professional, and medical affairs.
Comeback with ‘Circus’
Spears had a well-received cameo appearance on the iconic sitcom How I Met Your Mother just a few weeks following her personal issue. That summer, she returned triumphantly to the MTV Video Music trophies, winning three trophies for her single “Piece of Me.”
Spears’ next album, Circus, was released in late 2008 and quickly soared to the top of the charts, thanks in large part to the success of her No. 1 single “Womanizer.”Caryn Ganz of Rolling Stone praised the album as “clubby, adventurous pop.” Fans agreed, propelling the singer’s tracks “Circus” and “If U Seek Amy” into the Billboard Top 10 and Top 20, respectively.
Spears appeared to have calmed down following a rough period, telling Glamour magazine, “I don’t like going out. I enjoy sitting in bed, watching Dancing with the Stars, or reading a Danielle Steel novel. “I’m kind of dull.”
‘Femme Fatale’ and ‘X Factor’
Spears proved in 2011 that she could still generate powerful pop music with Femme Fatale, which included songs like “I Wanna Go” and “Till The World Ends.” The album quickly rose to the top of the charts, becoming her sixth No. 1 album. In addition to her commercial success, Spears appeared to be happier in her personal life. She and her then-boyfriend Jason Trawick were engaged in December 2011, however they divorced in early 2013.
Spears took on a new task in 2012, when she joined the judges’ panel of the popular singing competition show The X Factor in its second season, playing the difficult-to-please critic. According to People magazine, fellow judge Simon Cowell described Spears as “very unpredictable.” “You never know what will happen. She’s taken it really seriously, and she’s surprisingly nasty.” Despite her initial excitement, Spears quit the show after only one season.
‘Britney Jean,’ ‘Glory’ and Las Vegas Residency
Spears made news in late 2013 with the release of her eighth studio album, Britney Jean, which she described as her “most personal album ever” in a tweet. “Work Bitch,” the album’s lead single, was released ahead of the album; additional tracks were “Alien,” “Perfume,” and “Passenger.”Britney Jean was met with mixed reactions, with some calling it “introspective” and “mature,” while others called it “forgettable.”
Spears also launched her residency at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas that year, with the show Britney: Piece of Me. The residency was supposed to last two years, but the singer later signed an extension to stay until December 2017.
Spears collaborated with female rap singer Iggy Azalea on the 2015 hit “Pretty Girls.” They performed it live at the Billboard Music Awards in May, however the song only reached No. 29 in the United States. The next year, she released Glory and met her new love, model/trainer Sam Asghari, while making the video for her single “Slumber Party.”
The pop star oversaw the launch of the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation’s Britney Spears Campus in November 2017, which was made possible by a $1 million donation from her ticket sales. To show her love for the Las Vegas city even further, she gave a painting for an auction to benefit victims of the October 2017 gun massacre, with noted TV personality Robin Leach bidding $10,000 for the picture.
Shortly after her Vegas residency ended at the end of 2017, the pop sensation announced a tour will begin in a few months. In late January 2018, she tweeted, “I’m so excited to announce that we’re bringing the #PieceOfMe tour to select cities in North America, Europe, and the UK!” “I’ll see you guys this summer.”
Family and Personal Troubles Resurface
Spears was ordered to pay her ex-husband Federline $100,000 in child support dues in August 2018. The singer was already spending $20,000 a month, but Federline wanted more for their two boys as they approached adolescence.
Spears stated in January 2019, just before starting another Las Vegas residency, that she will be taking an indefinite leave of absence to care for her sick father, Jamie. It was revealed in April that the singer had joined a “all-encompassing wellness treatment” facility to deal with the stress of her father’s health problems.
Concerns about Spears’ health persisted even after she checked out of the institution the following month. Lynne, the singer’s mother, was said to be requesting involvement in her daughter’s conservatorship in May. Larry Rudolph, Spears’ manager at the time, claimed that his client was not in a position to continue performing anytime soon.
After an argument at Spears’ father’s home in August 2019, Federline got a restraining order for his and Spears’ two children, Sean Preston and Jayden James. According to Federline’s attorney, there was a “disagreement” after the singer took the kids to see their grandfather, which resulted in a “physical altercation.”
Spears endured another setback in early 2020, when she was hospitalized after fracturing her foot while dancing.