64 Enlightening Revelations From Britney Spears’ Memoir ‘The Woman In Me’

Britney Spears’ highly-anticipated memoir, The Woman in Me was released on October 24, 2023. In it she discusses her entire life and career. While I assumed that ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake would come off as the villain of the book, that role is instead filled by the state of California as Britney details the 13-years she spent as basically her father’s legal slave as a result of the state ruling she be placed in a conservatorship. Read on for details from Britney’s story and one of the most upsetting legal sagas of our time.

Early life

[*] Growing up in small town Kentwood, Louisiana, Britney loved to capture an audience. She started work as a performer at age 9 in New York City. On breaks back home in Louisiana she also (probably illegally because she was so young) waitressed at her aunt’s restaurant. She was cast in Mickey Mouse Club at age eleven, got a record deal at fifteen and released her first album when she was seventeen.

[*] While working on the Mickey Mouse Club, Britney’s grandmother died. She and Lynne were staying in Orlando with Jamie Lynne and couldn’t afford to travel back to Louisiana for the funeral. Justin Timberlake’s mother, Lynn Harless, lent them plane fare.

[*] During this time Britney talks about being a people pleaser and always wanting to be working. She lived for singing and dancing and generally went along with whatever her team told her to do. For instance, although Britney lost her virginity at 14 (to her brother’s 17-year-old friend), her team made up the idea that she was a virgin.

Career

[*] Britney learned on the Mickey Mouse Club that she LOVED singing and dancing and wanted to do it for the rest of her life.

[*] Britney says her vocals on “… Baby One More Time” were inspired by Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”.

[*] Britney came up with the school concept for the iconic “… Baby One More Time” video. Originally the video was going to see Britney as a “futuristic astronaut”. Her longtime chaperone and family friend Mama Fe plays the teacher in the video.

[*] She says she aspired to sing and dance, not be a role model and it was confusing how the media kept coming for her personal life in a way they never did with male artists, even though the male artists were much more wild. She started taking Prozac as a result of dealing with all the criticism of her in the media.

[*] During her iconic 2001 MTV Video Music awards dance to “I’m a Slave 4 U” the giant snake she was wearing started hissing in her face, but luckily she was able to pass the snake off before anything happened.

[*] Acting has been tough for Britney as she gets into the character but has trouble getting out of character when work is over. It was down to her and Rachel McAdams for the lead in The Notebook (with fellow Mickey Mouse alum Ryan Gosling) but she’s happy she didn’t get the role and got to make her In the Zone album instead because singing comes more naturally for her.

[*] Britney was the youngest person to host and perform as the musical guest on SNL.

[*] She wasn’t close with her family when she got drunkenly married in Vegas. Britney saw it as a fun mistake she made when she was young and bored but suddenly her furious family showed up and immediately started the annulment process. Britney thinks they got scared that she might have a stronger connection with someone else and this may be when the scheming around the conservatorship started.

The Spears family

[*] Much of the memoir discusses Britney’s relationship with her family. Growing up, she was afraid of her father, Jamie Spears, who drank too much, disappeared for days and abused everyone in the family. Her mother, Lynne Spears, started giving Britney alcohol at age 13. Miraculously, the state of California decided in 2007 to allow Jamie Spears to be Britney’s legal conservator for the next 13 years. During this time Jamie continued drinking and abusing (an incident between Jamie and Britney’s minor son resulted in Kevin Federline obtaining a restraining order against Jamie) while making $6 million dollars a year as Britney’s conservator.

[*] One of the wildest parts of this saga is that Jamie’s father, June Austin Spears, had institutionalized his wife, Emma Jean Spears (this is where Britney gets her middle name), in the 1960s. Not only was the asylum she was sent to the site of historic sexual abuse, Jean was forced to take lithium. Despite Jean’s subsequent death by suicide, June also had his second wife institutionalized. A generation later, Jamie Spears repeated this cycle of family trauma with his daughter, both institutionalizing Britney and forcing her to take lithium.

[*] Britney says that her dad is a mean drunk and suspects that her parents also used speed when she was growing up. She said she hated getting in the car with him as a child because he was reckless and the way he talked to himself scared her.

[*] Although her mom wasn’t aggressive and violent like her father, she also felt uncomfortable growing up with Lynne Spears because she would stay up all night screaming at a passed-out Jamie Spears.

[*] Lynne Spears also began giving Britney alcohol at age 13. Britney began smoking with her friends around this time and described herself as “precocious with boys”.

[*] While Britney grew up poor, she was supporting her whole family by the time her little sister Jamie Lynn was growing up. She thinks Jamie Lynne was much more entitled as a result. While Britney was punished for disagreeing with her parents, Jamie Lynn grew up yelling at her parents and being served by Lynne.

[*] Britney says she has never had an alcohol problem but any time she would party, her family would act like she was shameful and bad. It was never a problem to them that Justin and Kevin drank and smoked weed, the standards for her were always different.

[*] Jamie had Britney go to rehab even though Britney didn’t drink excessively or do drugs. She felt her real problem at that time was rage and grief.

Justin Timberlake

[*] Justin Timberlake was Britney’s first love and one of the most significant relationships in her life. They met on the set of Mickey Mouse Club and kissed during a game of truth or dare during that time.

[*] Justin and Britney reconnected when she was on her first tour and she quickly fell deeply in love with him.

[*] One day while walking around New York City the couple ran into R&B legend Ginuwine and Justin said, “Oh yeah, fo shiz, fo shiz! Ginuwiiiiiine! What’s up, homie?”

[*] The relationship with Justin was the first time Britney noticed how poorly she was treated by the media because Justin was not asked the same creepy and invasive questions that she was. Interviewers asked Justin about his music but asked Britney about her breasts (they’re real).

[*] Britney says the infamous denim outfits the couple wore to the 2001 American Music Awards is a Southern thing, as Southern moms will coordinate the kids outfits for church. She loves seeing the outfits parodied in Halloween costumes.

[*] Justin cheated on Britney throughout their relationship but Britney cheated just once, with choreographer Wade Robson, who was in a relationship with Michael Jackson’s niece Brandi.

[*] Britney became unexpectedly pregnant during the relationship and wanted to keep the baby until Justin told her he didn’t want to be a father. She didn’t want to have the baby if he was against it and agreed to an abortion.

[*] Justin was paranoid about the pregnancy leaking and didn’t want Britney to go to a doctor or hospital so she had the abortion at home. She says she still remembers how incredibly scary the day was. Britney was in so much pain she wanted to go to the doctor and see if everything was okay but just stayed in the bathroom all day. Justin came in and played guitar for her.

[*] Justin became “standoffish” while working on his first solo album, Justified, and eventually broke up with Britney over text message — though later he did fly to Louisiana to bring Britney a handwritten letter.

[*] Britney was devastated by the breakup and wishes she would have taken time off from work to properly deal with the loss.

[*] Part of Britney’s grief was the loss of Justin’s family, who she says is the “only real, loving family I had”.

[*] After the breakup Justin released a lot of music “inspired” by Britney including ““Don’t Go (Horrible Woman)” and “Cry Me a River”. The public took Justin’s side and viewed Britney as a villain even though Justin cheated many more times than Britney did.

[*] People booed Britney wherever she went during this time and she developed social anxiety as a result. She began second guessing herself and the second guessing started affecting her career.

“There’s always been more leeway in Hollywood for men than for women. And I see how men are encouraged to talk trash about women in order to become famous and powerful. But I was shattered.”

Kevin Federline

[*] Britney says she felt connected to Kevin immediately when they met. She felt like Kevin loved her for who she was.

[*] Kevin withheld that he had a toddler and was expecting another baby from his pregnant ex-girlfriend until they’d been dating awhile.

[*] Britney asked Kevin to marry her on a flight. He said no but then proposed to her.

[*] Exhausted from constant work and pregnant, Britney feels she became mean during this time.

[*] She loved having her sons and being a family but hated how hard it was to keep them safe with the paparazzi stalking her. The photographers would often heckle her about her parenting, her weight and her looks hoping to goad her into a reaction that they could capture on film and sell to tabloids.

[*] After Britney got pregnant the second time, Kevin disappeared. He started “working on his album” but when Britney would visit the studio everyone was just smoking weed all day. She thought “maybe this is just what adult relationships are like” and tried to ignore Kevin pulling away from her and ignoring his family.

[*] Of Kevin’s music career, Britney said “He really thought he was a rapper now. Bless his heart.”

[*] Britney experienced severe post-partum depression which was compounded by Kevin abandoning his family, her Spears family drama and the constant antagonistic presence of the paparazzi.

[*] During the time that Kevin was absent, he still talked about how “family is everything” to him.

[*] During the divorce, Kevin took the boys and refused to allow Britney to see them for weeks at a time even if she would beg.

“Other people—and by other people, I mean men—were afforded that freedom. Male rockers were rolling in late to awards shows and we thought it made them cooler. Male pop stars were sleeping with lots of women and that was awesome. Kevin was leaving me alone with two babies when he wanted to go smoke pot and record a rap song, “Popozão,” slang for big ass in Portuguese. Then he took them away from me, and he had Details magazine calling him Dad of the Year.”

[*] She said she never trusted anyone again after Justin and Kevin.

The Conservatorship

“I remained shocked that the state of California would let a man like my father—an alcoholic, someone who’d declared bankruptcy, who’d failed in business, who’d terrified me as a little girl—control me after all my accomplishments and everything I had done.”

[*] Britney’s parents called her and told her the cops were looking for her and they had to meet at her beach house. When she got there, there were twenty cops there and her father announced that he was going to be her conservator.

[*] Under the conservatorship her parents became multi-millionaires.

[*] While a conservatorship is meant to be a temporary (a few months) injunction to help a mentally unwell person who cannot care for themselves, Britney was taking care of herself and her entire family. She had guest roles on television shows and worked beyond full time at her Vegas residency.

[*] After the conservatorship started, Jamie sat her down and said “I’m Britney Spears now.”

[*] Jamie Spears paid himself a salary of $6 million a year as Britney’s conservator. He gave Britney an allowance of around $100k a year. She couldn’t even buy dinner for her dancers under the conservatorship.

[*] Under the conservatorship, Jamie controlled (via “security guards”) where Britney lived, what she ate, what medications she took, whether she could drive, whether she was on birth control and her entire career. If Britney went to a dinner party, no one at the dinner party could have any alcohol (as enforced by the “security guards”). She couldn’t even take over-the-counter vitamins without her father’s permission. She says it was like being in a cult and Jamie was the cult leader.

[*] Jamie would constantly call Britney fat and send her to the gym under-nourished.

[*] She was legally not allowed to eat desert because her father said no. She ate only chicken and canned vegetables for years.

[*] Britney was given a court-appointed lawyer and told she could not get her own counsel (which wasn’t true).

[*] Jamie was in $40k of debt to Lou Taylor at Tri-Star (a conflict of interest) at the time the conservatorship began. Under the conservatorship Britney’s Circus Tour earned over $130 million of which Tri Star got 5 percent in addition to flat fee.

[*] Britney thinks her family just saw her as a cash cow and wondered whether the goal may have been for her to end up dead.

“Think of how many male artists gambled all their money away; how many had substance abuse or mental health issues. No one tried to take away their control over their body and money. I didn’t deserve what my family did to me.”

[*] Her relationship with Jason Trawick ended after he became co-conservator because she couldn’t find him attractive anymore after he was involved in legally controlling her.

[*] Eventually Jamie institutionalized Britney and had her put on lithium against her will. She says this broke her spirit but eventually she found the will to fight for herself and try to get out of the conservatorship.

Other Celebrities

[*] Britney’s first job was an understudy for an off-Broadway musical. Natalie Portman worked with her as another understudy.

[*] Britney says she was in the same clique as Christina Aguilera on The Mickey Mouse Club because they were the younger girls in the cast along with Nikki DeLoach. The older kids were Keri Russell, Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake and Tony Lucca (who Britney had a crush on).

[*] She says Mariah Carey invented the ring light and used to have the best lighting in her dressing rooms.

[*] Britney’s rebound from Justin was Colin Farrell, she describes their relationship as “a two-week brawl”.

[*] Growing up she was punished for disagreeing with her parents, so it took her years to learn how to stand up for herself and express her opinions instead of just going along with what others said. Britney said Madonna was a powerful friend in helping her figure this out. She says Madonna taught her that “the music industry—really the whole world—is set up more for men. Especially if you’re “nice,” like me, you can be completely destroyed.”

[*] Britney also says of Madonna “She demanded power, and so she got power. She was the center of attention because she made that the condition of her showing up anywhere.”

[*] Britney speaks fondly of friend Paris Hilton, remembering dancing on tables in Vegas and running around and having fun. However, she also says this is more wholesome and light-hearted than almost anyone believes. During Britney’s club days she only drank and took Adderall and never took anything harder.

[*] Britney says Jennifer Lopez strikes her as someone who is really good at being famous.

The Woman in Me is available everywhere.


About the author

Chrissy Stockton