Since 2002, Britney Spears spent her life performing in front of the entire world. Millions of fans looked to her as an icon, but little did they know, the Princess of Pop had a lot more to her story.
Behind the Curtain
"[It's] far from... a conspiracy theory or a joke," a chilling court filing revealed: for years now, there's been rumors and speculation around the Princess of Pop's name.
From her mysterious conservatorship to the movement it soon called for, Britney Spears' life off-stage has had more twists and turns than we ever realized. Because hidden behind those chart-topping hits and flashing lights was a girl who wanted to share her truth. Here's her story...
Her Troubling Childhood
"This is a story of a close family but not a perfect one," attorney Leon Gladstone revealed: almost 2,000 miles away from Hollywood, Britney Jean Spears' younger years in Kentwood, Louisiana looked very different. "Mom and dad, bottom line, do not get along," she recalled of parents Jamie and Lynne.
Behind closed doors, the glue holding the Spears family together was falling apart. "Our perfect little life began to unstitch," Lynne revealed. She and Jamie were constantly feuding and by 2002? They were divorced, something Britney called "the best thing that ever happened to her family."
Pressure to Succeed
While life at home was unpredictable, one thing was always clear in the Spears household: Britney Jean was destined to be a star. Whether she actually wanted to be one was a different story... "I was in my own world... I found out what I'm supposed to do at an early age," she confessed.
By age 3, Britney was already on stage. At 8? She was flying across the country, chasing auditions with mom. But as she hopped on a plane towards sunny L.A., it was unclear what was coming her way. "My daughter is going to be so rich, she's going to buy me a boat," Jamie allegedly promised Britney's then-manager Kim Kaiman.
She Was Hurt by Love
Unfortunately, by 2003, that same question met a painful answer. All it took were 4 words, ingrained in Hollywood history: "What did you do?"After Spears and Justin Timberlake had parted ways, the pop star was painted as unfaithful. "You did something that caused him so much pain," ABC's Diane Sawyer infamously accused.
But that wasn't where the blame ended. "You don't have to say, what you did. I already know, I found out from him," JT had sung shortly after, further alluding to infidelity. Cry Me a River had climbed its way up the charts, finding its way onto radios worldwide. Only for Britney, it served as a painful reminder of what once was.
"Alienated From the Public"
As the months continued to grow, so did the number of headlines the star found herself in. Only were flashing lights really a part of the plan? "I'm a shy person... not really made for this industry," Spears confessed of the constant paparazzi coverage. Unfortunately, it was too late.
From nights out with her A-list friends (including, of course, Paris Hilton) to her memorable on-stage gigs (including that VMA's kiss with Madonna), Britney's "golden girl" image was slowly being rewritten. She felt "alienated from the public," as she recalled.
Marrying for the Wrong Reasons
But on October 6, 2004, life as Britney knew it was about to change. After signing a prenup, the star famously tied the knot with her backup dancer Kevin Federline. Only their fairytale didn't last long. "I think I married for all the wrong reasons," the artist reflected after their breakup 2 years later.
"Instead of following my heart and, like, doing something that made me really happy. I just did it... for... the idea of everything." From the pressure to settle down to the press's constant prying, Britney felt backed up against a wall. Unfortunately, that same feeling wouldn't be going anywhere anytime soon...
Separated From Her Kids
$1+ million and $20,000/month in child support later, Britney and Kevin's split had done a whole lot more than tug at her wallet: Her sons, Sean and Jayden, had become her everything. But given her messy divorce? Her time with them was suddenly cut short - dictated by courts and custody lawyers.
If it was up to Spears? "I'd be with my babies 24/7," she assured writer Jenny Eliscu. Unfortunately, judges began to rule otherwise. Britney and Kevin were granted 50/50 custody, something that caused the single mother pain. "It's very hard for any mama... seeing them grow up so fast," Britney reflected.
Pushed to Her Limits
From her childhood traumas to her custody battles, the Princess of Pop was feeling more and more deflated; something she hinted at on several occasions. And with just one hour of "scheduled quiet" to herself each day, as Rolling Stone reported? The single mother was drained - mentally and physically.
"Maybe I'm just changing and getting older, but I find I need to have my downtime, just to myself, or I'll go crazy," Spears confessed to Rolling Stone. Was she being pushed to her limits? Unfortunately, right around the corner was something so momentous it'd change the course of life for the star.
The Truth Behind Her Infamous Haircut
"I felt someone was going to get hurt, for sure, it was crazy:" on the eve of February 16, 2007, hairstylist Esther Tognozzi was getting ready to close up shop when her world was turned upside down: much to her disbelief, in through her Tarzana salon doors suddenly came Britney Spears.
With tears rolling down her cheeks, paparazzi watched from the sidewalk as Britney said goodbye to her famous locks. But why had she really opted to shave her head? "She's saying essentially with no hair, I quit," former Us Weekly photographer Wesley Morris alleged. "That person is gone, and you have destroyed her."
The Fight for Her Children
The 20-something-year-old had been feeling the pressure from all sides. But with her new haircut came a new Britney - one ready to shed more than her famous blonde locks. Unfortunately, her brazen decisions were about to take her down a difficult path.
"All I recall was... she locked herself in the bathroom with the boys," Federline's lawyer Mark Kaplan recalled of the events of January 3, 2008. The mother's fight for her sons was a lost battle: not only had she violated her custody terms, but Britney was sent away to UCLA Medical Center and placed on an involuntary hold.
Enter Jamie Spears
"I confess, I was so lost:" From chopping off her locks to her custody battle, Britney's behavior left everyone with questions - including herself. Unfortunately, the clock was ticking. And her journey to self-discovery soon left her father taking matters into his own hands.
On February 1, 2008, Jamie Spears was granted an emergency "temporary conservatorship" over his eldest daughter. At 26-years-old, the singer was deemed unable to make decisions on her own. Instead, her father was now in control of everything from financial assets to her home - for Britney's sake.
He Took Control of Her Assets
"I failed her, I was supposed to protect her from all this," Sam Lutfi confessed. Looking back now, Britney's former manager says he saw so many red flags. Unfortunately, Jamie's decision to protect his daughter was court-approved. Which meant as the years continued to pass, his "temporary" conservatorship wasn't going anywhere anytime soon...
From her credit cards to her business deals, Jamie Spears was officially in control. "I let her down, and we both paid dearly for it," Sam recalled. "Gaslighting the world into believing they were her saviors [when they were] the ones she needed to be saved from." Was there a darker truth to her father's aid?
Something Wasn't Adding Up
Whether Lutfi's words held truth or not, there was one thing fans couldn't deny; something they simply couldn't shake: Britney's success. From her Las Vegas residency to her sold-out tours to, of course, her hit singles, she was the Princess of Pop. Which begged the question: how?
"During the... conservatorship, she has repeatedly toured the world, released multiple albums, and worked on a variety of TV shows," Kevin Wu and Leanne Simmons, the founders of FreeBritney.net, explained. How had a woman deemed emotionally unfit been able to build such an empire? And perhaps more importantly: who was really behind it?
Her Sudden Hiatus
World tours and millions later, the Princess of Pop left fans speechless come 2019. "I don’t even know where to start with this, because this is so tough for me to say," she revealed: She was done singing - an "indefinite music hiatus." As she put it, she wanted to spend more time with her family.
Or perhaps was her decision to abruptly end her Vegas residency deeper? As we eventually found out, it was. But we're not there just yet. And in the months that followed, fans were... confused. What was really going on here? And why had she suddenly decided to leave the empire she spent years - decades - building?
A Darker Truth Behind Her Music?
As fans around the globe continued trying to make sense of their Queen's departure, they came across a chilling thought. "It is a gross feeling," Bradley Stern, co-host of the It's Britney, B*tch! podcast, confessed. "We've spent thousands of dollars on... the Britney brand." Where was that money really going?
Might her hit-singles have been etched with underlying messages? As Spears once alluded, "It's weird because your music is a reflection of what you're going through." From Slave 4 U to Work B*tch, fans were convinced they'd cracked the code. Only this mystery was just beginning...
#FreeBritney is Born
"The voicemail just solidified this for everybody who was wondering," Barbara Gray confessed of the moment her and best friend's podcast, Britney's Gram - which innocently poked fun at the star's Instagram - took a dark turn: on a fateful day in April 2019, the two comedians stumbled across something that changed everything.
It was never supposed to happen the way that it did. #FreeBritney was never part of the plan. Only their "emergency" episode - featuring an alleged voicemail from a former member of Britney's legal team - was explosive. As the audio claimed, Brit was being held against her will at a facility. And just like that, #FreeBritney was born...
Was She Set Up?
"I've been seeing all this stuff about the #FreeBritney movement, and I feel compelled to say something," Andrew Gallery confessed. After the mysterious voicemail, #FreeBritney was gaining momentum everywhere. Only it was one photographer's TikTok clip that truly put it at the center of the map…
After working with Spears in 2008 and 2009, Andrew alleged she'd given him a letter. Only the contents of her handwritten note were shocking: "She was lied to and set up," Gallery claimed. "Her children were taken away, and she did spin out of control which any mother would in those circumstances." But that's not all he said.
“No One Knows the Truth"
"No one knows the truth," the photographer continued. As he put it, the night she'd gotten taken away after locking herself in the bathroom was not what it seemed: "Her friend at the door kept telling her the cops are leaving don't worry, stay in the bathroom," Andrew claimed.
From sabotage to being stripped of her rights, Britney Spears' time in the spotlight was far from how it had been painted. Or at least that's how he put it. "[She] has no rights," Gallery continued. And perhaps she wouldn't be getting them back anytime soon - "as long as the people are getting paid."
“The World is Watching”
In the span of seconds, Gallery's clip was enough to send the online world into a frenzy. Only soon, that frenzy morphed into a full-fledged movement; an army of fans, desperate to join the fight for their Queen's freedom. From #FreeBritney protests to fan accounts, the battle was just getting started.
For the first time in a long time, Britney was eager to get her personal life out there. "The world is watching," her lawyer proudly revealed, upon requesting court judges open their case to the public. "[It's] far from being a conspiracy theory or a joke." Little did we know how dark those "conspiracy theories" really were...
She's Afraid of Her Dad
From whispers of mistreatment to having it confirmed by Spears' attorney, things had taken a disturbing turn. Only there were still more to be revealed. Including Britney's very own relationship with her father - when the whole world wasn't watching.
"My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father," Britney's attorney Samuel D. Ingham III revealed during a November court hearing. "The relationship between the conservatee and Mr. Spears has dwindled to nothing but fear and hatred," Britney's very own mother soon added.
Her Boyfriend Speaks Out
What was really going on? Britney and her father's relationship was clouded by daunting rumors and dark theories. But if there was one person perhaps capable of shedding some light? It was Sam Asghari. Safe to say, when Britney's boyfriend took to the keyboard to speak his truth, nobody was prepared...
"Now it's important for people to understand… in my opinion, Jamie is a total ****," the Iranian model revealed. "I won't be going into details because I've always respected our privacy, but at the same time, I didn't come to this country [from Iran] to not be able to express my opinion and freedom." What did he know that we didn't?
One of the “Scariest Moments” of Her Life
"Dear @britneyspears... we owe you an apology." On June 22, 2021, the online world was hit with yet another bombshell. Only this time, they had a different person to thank for it: Zachary Gordon. After endless years facing criticism for her time on-stage, fans uncovered a dark truth behind Brit's performances.
It all started when Gordon shared a clip of the artist performing back in 2019 - or what Britney called "one of the scariest moments of her life." Why? As court documents recently revealed, Spears had been sick with 100+ degree fever at the time. "I'm about to pass out... I'm sick," she'd warned the crowd.
"I Just Want My Life Back"
With the explosive court revelation soon came a wave of new concerns: just how much control - or lack thereof - was Britney Spears dealing with? How many other times had she been propped on stage while battling inner demons? Unfortunately, the answer might have been darker than we ever realized.
"I've lied and told the whole world I'm okay, and I'm happy," Britney confessed, as she cried in front of judges during a recent hearing. From who she dated to the color of her kitchen tiles to everything in between, every aspect of her life was out of her control. "I just want my life back." But that's not all she said...
Why She Can’t Start a Family Yet
"I was told right now in the conservatorship I am not able to get married or have a baby," Britney revealed in another court hearing. It was shocking: at 39-years-old, with a multi-million dollar career and two grown children, the artist was unable to start a family with her longtime boyfriend - as she alleged.
"I want to be able to get married and have a baby," Britney pleaded. Not only had court documents alleged she was forced to be on contraceptives, but things wouldn't be changing anytime soon. "This so-called team won't let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don't want me to have… more children."
Celebrities Share Their Truth
With each court hearing that followed, in came a new wave of revelations. But with that soon came an overwhelming influx of support. #FreeBritney's mark had been felt around the world, with even some of Hollywood's biggest names taking to our feeds to share their support.
"The industry is flawed. It sets men... up for success," Justin Timberlake confessed. "I have to be vocal about this. Because of my ignorance, I didn't recognize it... while it was happening." But he wasn't the only one. From Paris Hilton to Miley Cyrus to Madonna, just about everyone was listening.
"She's… Leaving Us Breadcrumbs"
But what other secrets was Hollywood hiding? Or more specifically, what else had been lying in plain sight? According to the online world, perhaps Britney's Instagram was letting on more than we thought. "[She's the] queen of leaving us 'breadcrumbs,'" one user alleged. And perhaps they were right.
From pictures of a dying rose to cryptic Scrabble boards, Britney's Instagram posts left lots of room for interpretation. Including her mysterious mention of a "Project Red." Were we looking at a cry for help? What was really going on behind the keyboard?
Behind her big, brown eyes and famous blonde hair, what secrets were the Princess of Pop hiding - if any? Or perhaps were online users looking for something that wasn't there? As her name continued to find its way into households throughout the country, Britney soon decided to set the record straight herself.
"Unfortunately, the news has been pretty nasty saying horrible and mean lies about me," the artist revealed, before announcing her plans on stepping back from her social media accounts. "LET ME CLARIFY … you only know the half of it." Well... what were we missing?
Was She Betrayed by Jamie Lynn?
As the weeks continued to pile on, so did the bombshells hurled our way. In another court appearance, Britney finally revealed where she stood with her family. "I'd like to be able to share my story with the world, and what they did to me - instead of it being a hush-hush secret," she shaded.
But in acknowledging her family, she also called out Jamie Lynn. "If you're gonna post something... stop with the righteous approach when you're so far from righteous," she shaded her baby sister. She also called Jamie out for using her music during a 2017 music awards performance. "My so-called support system hurt me deeply."
Why Won't Jamie Spears Step Down?
But she wasn't done. On July 14, 2021, after 13 long years, Britney's case suddenly took a sharp turn: not only did she hire a new lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, but together they already had big plans. "I'm here to get rid of my dad and charge him with conservatorship abuse," Britney Spears announced as she stood in front of a judge.
"There is a real question as to why Mr. Spears does not voluntarily step down today," her lawyer added. "Is he here for financial reasons? Does anybody really believe that Mr. Spears' involvement is in the best interest of his daughter? He'd resign if he loves his daughter..."
An Update from Mr. Spears
Rosengart's words hit deep, leaving an uneasiness in the Los Angeles courtroom that fateful day. But it wasn't just spectators with something to say about the chilling testimony. "Mr. Spears is the unremitting target of unjustified attacks," his lawyer soon shot back, before announcing a shocking turn in the 13-year battle.
Despite Jamie's recent claims that there were "no grounds" to the accusations hurled his way, he "didn't believe that a public battle with his daughter... would be in her best interest." Perhaps that's why he was finally ready to "step down [from conservator] when the time is right," as his lawyer revealed August 12. Well, what now?...
"As people, we all want the fairy tale life," Britney once said. Sure enough, ever since saying bye to Kentwood, Louisiana, her life has never been the same. But in becoming the Princess of Pop, the Lucky starlet has gone on to change more lives than her own: She started a movement.
"I feel like my life is changing as we speak," Spears, more hopeful than ever, proudly revealed. From her childhood scars to her conservatorship, her journey to Hollywood has been nothing short of bumpy. But for the first time in a long time, she can't wait for what the future has in store - and neither can her army of supporters...
Well, we could say the singer's fairytale dreams have since came true. Asghari opened up to GQ about how he proposed to the singer, popping the question in September 2021 in their home. He designed the ring himself, as he knows Britney best. He specifically told GQ, "It's a princess cut for a real-life princess." The pop princess, that is!
He continued, "I figured with her taste, she wouldn't want something super big and super celebrity… I want it to come from my heart." With the ring ready, he was ready to ask Miss. Spears for her hand in marriage, though she thought it was a puppy! Plus, there's an engagement video, but for their eyes only.
While Britney knows Sam inside and out, he has branded himself as quite a humble human being. While he followed in his father's footsteps growing up, moving from Iran to America to join him at work, he has always had big ambitions with the right mindset. However, not everyone believes he is in it for love.
Despite Britney declaring her "mad love" for the model/actor, all the people see is a 13-year age gap and bizarre intentions. It didn't take long for the internet to spiral into cheating accusations after a picture emerged of Asghari and model Morgan Osman kissing, but later questioned the fast pace the couple was moving at.
The haters will hate, and no one can change that. Sam and Spears's relationship was going from strength to strength. After Britney was set free from her father's control, she had Sam by her side for a fresh start. Despite all the rumors, they were in it for the long run and exchanged "I do's" in June 2022 at Britney's home.
Britney adorned a Donatella Versace gown as special guests such as Paris Hilton, Selena Gomez, and Madonna watched her walk down the aisle. Despite her parents being excluded from the event, her mother wrote on her Instagram, "You look radiant and so happy! Your wedding is the 'Dream' wedding… I love you!"
Since tying the knots and having to witness allegations being spread around social media, Spears and Sam have taken it all on the chin like newly-wed champs. After Britney won her trial, releasing her from her father's conservatorship, she's shared her renewed freedom with her 42 million Instagram followers.
A source told E!, "Britney is very excited to embrace her full freedom. Britney and Sam both want to live closer to the city and have discussed buying a new house… She is excited to be around more people and be able to be out and about as she pleases… This is the happiest she has been in a very long time, and she is soaking it all in."
Cry for Help?
Despite Britney embracing her happiness and a new perspective on life, her fans remained concerned. The Crazy singer posted a series of Instagram uploads, including the same picture three times in a row with the exact same caption to add confusion to the situation. More so, a video of her dancing to Yesterday further worried fans.
Followers and fans flooded her comment section with questions, particularly about Sam, wondering where he was during this whole Instagram fiasco. However, Spears clapped back, commenting, "He's been gone working!!! Supposed to be a week, but ended up being a whole month."
Drama With Her Sons
While Britney has 'freed' herself, where does she stand with her sons? She has joint custody over her two sons, Jayden James Federline and Sean Preston Federline, with her second husband, Kevin Federline. Britney was asked by Matt Lauer how she felt about being branded as a "bad mom," but laughed it off, "That's America for you."
"I love you a lot and I hope for the best for you. It's almost like she has to post something on Instagram to get some attention," Jayden expressed on 60 Minutes. Britney responded, "I looked forward to seeing you guys weekly. If I didn't shower you guys with gifts and have amazing food ready… it was never good enough." Ouch.
Concerns for Her Health
In a heart-wrenching twist to her journey, Britney Spears' liberation from her conservatorship hasn't brought the happiness and stability many hoped for. Over the past 18 months, the singer is rumored to be in an alarming and perilous situation. Whispers of resumed substance use have left her family trembling with fear.
"Every time the telephone rings, I fear that there will be devastating news," says her ex-husband, Kevin Federline. "I don't want the boys to wake up one morning and find their mother has taken an overdose." We send our best wishes to Britney and her family, and hope she finds her way through this difficult period with strength and resilience.
Britney's Memoir, The Woman in Me
With all her triumphs and challenges over the past two decades, it only makes sense that the pop icon is finally releasing a memoir! That's right. Britney Spears is releasing her very own highly anticipated memoir, The Woman in Me, dropping on October 24.
According to the press release, Spear's book is "a brave and astonishingly moving story about freedom, fame, motherhood, survival, faith, and hope." Readers will learn more about the "enduring power of music and love- and the importance of a woman telling her own story, on her own terms." Sign us up!