It seems as though we’ll all be reading celebrities’ tell-all memoirs this autumn, as the likes of Julia Fox and, of course, Britney Spears are due to share their most personal stories. Following 13 long years trapped within a conservatorship implemented by her own family, Spears (AKA the princess of pop) is finally ready to tell her side of the story in her upcoming memoir, The Woman in Me, releasing October 24th.
Spears’ personal life has been plastered across the tabloids for the past two decades, with seemingly endless scandals and paparazzi mistreatment plaguing the star’s personal life. However, Spears will finally have the chance through her memoir to address each of those situations, an opportunity she addressed on her Instagram story in September. “There’s so much I’ve kept private that’s gone on with me personally,” said the singer. “Until then, there’s three sides to every story! Your side, my side and the truth!”
In the early days of Spears’ career, the industry had moulded her into a pure, innocent mid-western girl next door. And that label was developed even further when she coupled up with noughties heartthrob Justin Timberlake, making the pair the hottest Y2K it-couple (who could forget the iconic matching denim outfits at the 2001 American Music Awards?).
However, her teen image was soon shattered following her heavily publicised split from Timberlake, which marked the beginning of the tabloids’ obsession with capturing Spears in her most vulnerable moments. Of course, the most controversial are the notorious shots of her shaved head following her turbulent and rocky marriage with Kevin Federline. That debacle led her father, Jamie, and younger sister, Jamie Lynn, of Zoey 101 fame, to impose a strict conservatorship on Spears in 2008 in an attempt to shield her from the limelight. Following a lengthy court battle, the star was finally freed from her conservatorship in 2021, telling People Magazine, “Over the past 15 years or even at the start of my career, I sat back while people spoke about me and told my story for me. After getting out of my conservatorship, I was finally free to tell my story without consequences from the people in charge of my life.”
To say that Spears’ life and career has been a rollercoaster would be an understatement, so the world is watching with wide eyes before her memoir’s release. And with the release of The Woman In Me only one day away, Spears has already made some revelations on what it will entail, so let’s take a look at everything we know so far…
Spears’ forced abortion
Spears and Timberlake were one of the most publicised couples of the early 2000s and even starred alongside each other during their time in Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club. They began dating in their late teens, and it would seemingly last forever. However, it has been revealed that their relationship was far from perfect, with Spears dropping the bombshell that she had an abortion after Timberlake claimed he wasn’t ready to be a father.
A devastated Spears ultimately terminated her pregnancy following Timberlake’s disapproval, which substantially affected their relationship. As a result, Spears would then go on to kiss music video choreographer Wade Robson, whilst Timberlake cheated on Spears with an unnamed celebrity. However, tabloids fixated on Spears’ adultery, and she soon became branded a harlot.
The relationship breakdown prompted Spears’ heartfelt ballad ‘Everytime’, where the music video depicts a woman giving birth to a baby in a hospital before a visibly upset Spears appears – and fans have speculated the music video references her abortion. Meanwhile, Timberlake responded to Spears’ ballad with ‘Cry Me a River’, where the lyrics imply Spears was being melodramatic over their split.
The shaved head was an attempt to bring back control
Spears has also stated how at the breakthrough of her career, following the hit success of ‘…Baby One More Time’, reporters often asked the teenage star inappropriate questions concerning her innocence and physical appearance. She also revealed how she struggled with her position in the limelight and the constant hounding by the press and paparazzi, leading her to be prescribed the anxiety drug Prozac.
Following the constant sexualisation during her teenage years, Spears had had enough, and she infamously shaved her head back in 2007, which was arguably one of the most infamous celebrity controversies we’ve seen in the modern era. It was everywhere, and Spears had no escape from the media circus around her. “Shaving my head and acting out were my ways of pushing back,” the musician revealed in her memoir. “I’d been eyeballed so much growing up. I’d been looked up and down and had people telling me what they thought of my body since I was a teenager.”
The year 2007 had also brought a lot of grief to an already suffering Spears; Her marriage had broken down with Federline, who was taking Spears to court over a custody battle of their two children, while her beloved aunt Sandra had also passed away – all factors led to the decision to shave her head. Of the turbulent year, she says in her memoir, “I am willing to admit that in the throes of severe postpartum depression, abandonment by my husband, the torture of being separated from my two babies, the death of my adored aunt Sandra, and the constant drumbeat of pressure from paparazzi, I’d begin to think in some ways like a child.”
There was never a drinking or drug problem
As the press circled like sharks around Spears, highlighting her personal struggles and losing custody of her children, rumours began to circulate that she had a severe drinking and hard drug problem. However, Spears has cleared that up in her memoir, stating that the combination of Prozac and ADHD medication, Adderall, “made me high, yes, but what I found far more appealing was that it gave me a few hours of feeling less depressed.”
Her conservatorship had a deep impact
Following her incredibly publicised breakdown, Spears’ father was appointed as her conservator by a Californian court in 2008 – and the conservatorship restricted Spears’ life heavily. “Security guards handed me prepackaged envelopes of meds and watched me take them,” she writes in her memoir. “They put parental controls on my iPhone. Everything was scrutinised and controlled. Everything.” It made her feel like a “child robot.”
“I had been so infantilised that I was losing pieces of what made me feel like myself. The conservatorship stripped me of my womanhood and made me into a child. I became more of an entity than a person onstage. I had always felt music in my bones and my blood; they stole that from me.”
By 2018, 10 years into the conservatorship, her father placed her in a Beverly Hills rehab facility after the two argued about her restrictions. “They kept me locked up against my will for months,” she writes in her memo. “I couldn’t go outside. I couldn’t drive a car. I had to give blood weekly. I couldn’t take a bath in private. I couldn’t shut the door to my room.” The harsh treatment of Spears over the past decade ignited the “Free Britney” movement among her fans, and finally, in 2021, she was released from the conservatorship’s shackles.
The documentaries were “rough”
Speaking to the New York Times, Spears said, “It felt like every day there was another documentary about me on yet another streaming service. Seeing the documentaries about me was rough.” She also revealed that she felt betrayed by close friends, who were granting interviews and sharing details about her life, unbeknownst to her. She goes on to say, “I understand that everyone’s heart was in the right place, but I was hurt that some old friend spoke to filmmakers without consulting me first.”