Britney Spears breaks her silence in her memoir ‘The Woman in Me’

Photo Courtesy of Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

For 13 years, the “Princess of Pop”, Britney Spears, was restrained from her rights to an adult life. Controlled by her father, Spears dealt with limitations to all aspects of her livelihood. Her new memoir, titled “The Woman in Me”, presents her life in a simplistic and straightforward writing style, properly illustrating her harrowing journey to where she is today. 

The memoir, released on Oct. 24, sold over one million copies in just the first week published. 

Britney Spears opens up with her humble beginnings in Kentwood, Louisiana. She recalls her relationship with music began as a young girl listening to the family’s housekeeper singing gospel. 

“Music stopped the noise, made me feel confident, and took me to a pure place of expressing myself exactly as I wanted to be seen and heard,” Spears writes. “Singing took me into the presence of the divine. As long as I was singing, I was half outside the world.” 

She characterizes her father as someone who had a battle with alcoholism. During those times, his businesses would fail, causing financial distress for the entire family. Spears described her father as someone who was “reckless, cold, and mean”, and ultimately never showed affection to Spears and her siblings.  

In her memoir, Spears sped up time, shifting from her early childhood days in rural Kentwood to auditioning for the Mickey Mouse Club at the age of 11, where she eventually won the role, working alongside actors Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling. Spears recounts her time on the Mickey Mouse Club in a positive manner, writing “performing on that show ignited me. From then I knew I wanted to do what I did there — singing and dancing.” 

Spears reflects on her beginning teenage years back home, including the time she was introduced to alcohol in the eighth grade by her mom. She recounts some of the happiest moments with her mother drinking daiquiris by the beach. Around this time, she also shared her addiction to smoking cigarettes in the eighth grade with her friends. 

Another example of Spears’s quick shift in time is her story of working on her hit song “… Baby One More Time”. Spears intentionally stayed up late the night before recording in order to have a more “mature” voice. Along with the vocals, Spears came up with the concept for the music video that involved a school setting, mixed with students in uniforms, as they began to dance at the sound of the school bell. 

Her debut album released on Jan. 12, 1999 sold over ten million copies and ranked on the Billboard 200 chart in the US.  Spears recalled this moment writing, “I could feel my life start to open up. I didn’t have to perform in malls anymore.” 

Spears developed a deep relationship with Timberlake from their time on the Mickey Mouse Club, where at one point, Spears joined the NSYNC band on tour. Spears delved deep into their time as a couple, revealing that she became pregnant with Timberlake’s child when they shared a house together in Orlando. 

As Spears perceived the news as a happy opportunity to start a family, she stated that Timberlake wasn’t fond of the pregnancy due to their young age. Spears recounted the immense pain she went through during the at-home abortion process as she felt pressured by Timberlake to not have the child, writing, “I don’t remember how it ended, but I do, twenty years later, remember the pain of it, and the fear.” 

Spears added she felt pressured by Timberlake to not go through with the pregnancy, expressing her regret for undergoing the medical abortion at home in order to avoid the chances of the media or family from finding out. 

In response to the memoir being published, readers have found disdain for Timberlake. He has since come out and apologized for his actions toward Spears and has also canceled future concerts next year. 

Spears reflected in the memoir that their relationship went downhill, admitting that she knew of Timberlake’s “couple” affairs and that he eventually broke up with her over text. 

Throughout the memoir, Spears pointed out the double-standard that occurred between the media’s portrayal of male versus woman stars. Spears writes that the media focused on questions tailored to her physical looks and incited blame for “corrupting America’s youth.” 

Spears added that the media berated her for her role as a mother. As opposed to male figures, Spears wrote that male stars were allowed to show up late to events, drink alcohol, cheat, etc. 

After the breakup with Timberlake, Spears developed social anxiety from the media tabloids and took Adderall as her “drug of choice” to help with her depression. 

Spears decided to shave her head in February, 2007, in an act of frustration and depletion not just from the media ridiculing her looks, but also because she was denied access to her two children with ex-husband Kevin Federline. 

Just over a year later, Spears was placed under a conservatorship by her father who deemed her incapable of living by herself. Spears makes a distinction in the memoir about how she was deemed “incapable” to do anything despite performing world tours to millions of people and acting in live television shows.

Spears detailed that through the conservatorship, she couldn’t drive, spend her own money, drink alcohol, and at times, couldn’t be with her kids or close friends. Spears recalls her diet of “chicken and canned vegetables” and only allowed an allowance of $2,000 a week during the peak of her touring career, a miniscule amount compared to how much she was making through her tours. 

The conservatorship contract details that Spears’ father received a percentage of the revenues made from her tours and $16,000 a month from Spears. Also, documents revealed that Spears’s father made over $6 million dollars throughout the 13 year conservatorship. 

“I wasn’t free under the conservatorship,” Spears writes. “I wanted to be a woman in the world. Under the conservatorship, I wasn’t able to be a woman at all.” 

Towards the end of the memoir, Spears expresses gratitude for her fans who stood up for her through the #FreeBritney movement during her tumultuous days in rehab. 

In June 2021, Spears reported her father to the authorities for conservatorship abuse. Starting a fourth month publicized, highly anticipated and nerve-wrecking battle that eventually ended in justice for Spears in Nov. 2021, as her conservatorship was officially terminated by California court.

A captivating read, “The Woman In Me”, opens readers’ perspective to the world of Britney Spears, highlighting moments from her childhood and her journey to womanhood.

For those who didn’t know much about Spears before reading, readers can expect to gain an appreciation for the resilience that defined Spears’ formidable journey to freedom. “The Woman in Me” offers a universally great story, making it a must read for loyal fans and those discovering her story for the first time. 

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