Britney Spears - Biography
Britney Jean Spears (born
December 2, 1981) is an American pop music singer. Her career
encompasses chart-topping records, high-profile advertising and a
foray into both acting and reality television. She is considered an
American cultural icon recognized throughout the world, but has also
been the subject of controversy surrounding the sexuality of her
music and image.
Born to Lynne and Jamie Spears in
McComb, Mississippi and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears first
came to fame as a member of the Disney Channel's New Mickey Mouse
Club in the 1993 and 1994 seasons.
Her castmates on the show included
Justin Timberlake and Joshua Chasez (who later became members of the
pop band *NSYNC), Keri Russell (star of the TV show Felicity),
Christina Aguilera, also a pop singer, and actor Ryan Gosling.
Spears dated Timberlake for about five years.
In 2004, Spears, 22, announced her
engagement to dancer Kevin Federline, 26. Federline was formerly
linked with actress Shar Jackson, with whom he has two children.
On the night of September 18, 2004,
Spears married Federline before 20-30 guests in a private,
non-denominational ceremony at a residence in Studio City,
California. Spears wore an off-white dress and Federline wore an
off-white tuxedo. The men and women attending the ceremony wore
light blue and pink sweatsuits, respectively. The legitimacy of the
marriage was initially questioned, but on November 18, 2004 a
representative of the Los Angeles County registrar's office
confirmed that Spears and Federline had successfully filed their
marriage license with the county within ten days of their ceremony
and were therefore legally married.
In April 2005, she announced
through her website that she was pregnant with her first child,
reportedly a girl, and is due sometime in Autumn.
...Baby One More Time
Her first album on Jive Records,
...Baby One More Time, debuted at #1 on the Canadian charts as
well as the US Billboard 200 album chart on January 12, 1999, where
it remained for six weeks. The single of the same name was also a #1
hit in many countries, including the US and UK, and was accompanied
by a music video in which Spears wore a schoolgirl outfit and danced
down a high school corridor. Follow-up singles included the top 30
"Sometimes", top 10 "(You Drive Me) Crazy" and the top 20 "From The
Bottom Of My Broken Heart". Another single, "Born To Make You
Happy", was released outside the US and went to #1 in the UK.
Spears broke the record for the
youngest artist, at age 17, to have his or her first single reach #1
on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with "...Baby One More Time".
Spears also broke the record for the youngest artist, at age 17, to
have his or her first single and first album simultaneously reach #1
on the Billboard charts. Spears still holds this record. The album
...Baby One More Time is to date the best-selling by a
teenager, with over 10.5 million copies sold in the US and over 22
In 2000, Spears was nominated for
two Grammy awards; Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the single
"...Baby One More Time", and Best New Artist. She did not receive
Oops!... I Did It Again
Her follow-up album, Oops!... I
Did It Again, released on May 16, 2000, also debuted at #1 in
the US and Canada, and was a similarly huge hit. It sold over 1.3
million units its first week in the US, making it the
fastest-selling album by a female artist. The album has sold over 9
million copies in the US alone and over 18 million worldwide.
Singles off the album include the title track, which was a top 10
hit in the US and a #1 in several countries around the world, the
top 30 "Lucky" and the top 20 "Stronger". Another single, "Don't Let
Me Be The Last To Know" was also released, but failed to achieve
Following the success of her first
two albums, Spears' career skyrocketed, and a multimillion-dollar
music, film, advertising, concert and TV-special "industry" sprang
up around her. Her most popular ads were for Pepsi, for which she
earned a reported $7-$8 million. In 2003, there was media
speculation that the soft drink behemoth were planning to replace
Spears with Destiny's Child frontwoman Beyoncé Knowles. This
speculation turned out to be false, and Spears has since gone on to
sponsor other Pepsi products. During this time, Spears also branched
out as an author by co-writing a novel with her mother Lynne called
Britney Spears' Heart to Heart.
In 2001, Spears was again nominated
for two Grammy awards: Best Pop Vocal Album for Oops!... I Did It
Again, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the single of
the same name. She did not receive either award.
Her next album, Britney, was
released on November 6, 2001, and again debuted at #1 on both the US
and Canadian charts, selling over 740,000 units its first week in
the US. This made her the only female artist in SoundScan history to
have her first three albums debut at #1. The first single, the top
30 hit "I'm A Slave 4 U", was produced by The Neptunes, and its R&B
stylings heralded the starlet's attempt to grow with her audience,
young and old. Other singles included "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A
Woman", "Overprotected", "Boys", and "I Love Rock 'N Roll". Though
these tracks did well internationally, they all failed to make much
of a stir on US radio. Over 4.5 million copies of Britney
have been sold in the US alone, and the album went on to sell over
11 million copies worldwide. While the album was very much a hit by
anyone else's standards, these figures are low in comparison to the
sales of her previous two albums.
In 2002, Spears starred in a movie,
Crossroads, which reached #2 in the box office charts. Songs
from the album Britney appeared in the film. Spears'
performance was poorly received by critics, and she netted herself a
Razzie Award for Worst Actress, tied with Madonna. One of the tracks
from Britney, "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman", also won the
Worst Original Song award, and in 2005 Spears was again 'honored' by
the Golden Raspberry judges when she was proclaimed Worst Supporting
Actress for her cameo role in the documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.
In June 2002, Spears branched out as a restaurateur with the opening
of a New York City eatery, NYLA; but the venture was not a success,
and the restaurant closed in 2003. In addition, she also released
the follow-up novel to Britney Spears'
Heart to Heart; this one was entitled
A Mother's Gift.
In September 2002, she took a break
from the spotlight, and in 2003 many music industry critics
speculated that her career was in decline. Over the course of her
first three albums, Spears had sold over 50 million copies
In 2003, Spears was nominated for
two Grammy awards yet again: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for
"Overprotected", and Best Pop Vocal Album for Britney. She
did not receive either award.
In the Zone
Her fourth album, In the Zone,
was released on November 18, 2003. Jettisoning the Max
Martin-produced synth-pop of her earlier releases, the album took in
lesser-known producers such as RedZone,
as well as such big names as Moby and R. Kelly. Spears co-wrote
eight of the album's thirteen songs. Zone rose straight to
the top of the US album charts in its debut week, making Spears the
only female in music history to have her first four albums debut at
#1. After an opening performance in which she kissed Madonna at the
August 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, the pop legend was also featured
on the album's first single, "Me Against the Music". The single only
went top 40 in the US, though it was a #1 hit in many other
countries around the world. Zone, however, has sold over 3
million copies in the US and close to 8 million copies worldwide.
The day before the release of
Zone, Spears received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
On January 3, 2004, Spears married
her childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander at The Little White
Wedding Chapel on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. The
couple promptly arranged for an annulment, which was granted on
January 5, ending their 55-hour marriage. Following the wedding,
Spears released the second single from Zone, "Toxic", which
became a worldwide and #1 hit in over twenty different countries.
The single also marked Spears' first top 10 hit on the Hot 100 since
In March, Spears embarked on her
fourth world tour, "The Onyx Hotel Tour", which grossed over $34
million dollars and was seen by over 600,000 fans in North America
and Europe. Meanwhile, the album's third single, "Everytime", was
starting to receive radio play. While the song was only a top 20 hit
in the US, it was a #1 hit overseas in such countries as the UK and
Australia. In June, she cancelled the remaining dates of her tour
after injuring her knee during the filming of a video for the fourth
single from Zone, "Outrageous", which was released only in
the US; however, it did not perform well on the charts (besides
becoming a moderate dance hit), possibly due to the fact that the
video was never released.
In September 2004, Forbes
estimated Spears' net worth at $125 million USD.
In 2005, Spears received her first
Grammy award for "Toxic" in the category of Best Dance Recording.
During the later half of 2004,
Spears announced that she would be taking another career break in
order to start a family. Though she stopped making many public
appearances, the 'Britney Spears industry' seemed to continue
In September 2004, Spears released
her first fragrance: "Curious". It is a floral scent with vanilla
and musk. The fragrance had the biggest debut in sales in history
from Elizabeth Arden. Spears is expected to earn a reported $12
million from the fragrance. In addition, the scent ended up as the
#1 fragrance of 2004 in department stores, and in 2005, "Curious"
was honored by the Fragrance Foundation, naming it Best Women's
On November 9, 2004, Spears
released her first hits collection: Greatest Hits: My Prerogative.
The album debuted at #4 on the US charts, selling over 255,000
copies in its first week of release. As of Spring 2005, the set has
sold over 1 million copies in the US and over 5 million copies
worldwide. Spears also notched up the biggest-selling first week for
a greatest hits compilation by a female artist in UK chart history
(115,341 copies), smashing the first-week sales of previous
high-profile collections from Whitney Houston, Madonna, Kylie
Minogue, Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Shania Twain.
The collection includes all of her
biggest hits, such as "...Baby One More Time", "Oops!... I Did It
Again" and "Toxic", as well as two new songs and a cover of Bobby
Brown's "My Prerogative", which was featured as the lead single. A
second single, one of the two new tracks entitled "Do Somethin'",
was released in early 2005. Both singles did moderately well
internationally, though they were poorly received in the US
(possibly due to the fact that they were given little-to-no
Mona Lisa (working
On December 29, 2004, Spears did a
live interview on the KISS FM radio station in the US, stating that
her new album was already half done and that it would be named
Original Doll, appropriately enough for her changing image.
Additionally, after the interview, the first single from the new
album, entitled "Mona Lisa", was played. She announced that the
album would probably be out in the late Spring or early Summer of
2005. However, Jive Records later released a statement saying the
album would not be released until at least next year (2006). Spears
called into TRL US in early 2005 and mentioned that there
would probably be no new album for this year, though she did say
that she was working on a song for an upcoming show. Although
reports claimed that the song was for a Madonna special for MTV,
Madonna's representatives later dismissed these rumors.
In late March 2005, a rumor
circulated that Jive had announced that a new album would be
released on March 7, 2006 and would be titled Mona Lisa.
According to a "The Fabulous Life
of..." VH1 special about Spears and husband Kevin Federline, she has
renewed her contract with Jive, marking a three-album deal for a
reported $10.5 million.
Spears' success has rested on a
mixed fanbase. Millions of girls became enthusiasts for her work,
adopting her as an idol. Writers on popular music for the mainstream
press, however, have generally been dismissive of Spears' music,
considering it to be commercial and shallow.
Some parents of young daughters
have ambivalent or even negative feelings towards Britney Spears. To
many critics, the singer has combined a very raunchy public image
with a major marketing "play" for the hearts, minds and pockets of
prepubescent girls, often as young as seven or eight. The
sexualization of such girls is arguably a trend that is visible
elsewhere in popular culture, for example in the film and fashion
This has raised the question of how
fast girls or young teens should move from childhood towards an
early emotional adolescence. Spears' popularity has certainly been a
catalyst for exposing the complex feelings that come with sexual
maturity. Some parents may worry that Britney Spears provides an
unsuitable role model for their daughters' life and career plans.
In October 2003, Maryland First
Lady Kendel Ehrlich, the wife of
Governor Robert Ehrlich, was criticized for saying that she would
like to "shoot Britney Spears" in an address to a domestic violence
conference. After her comments made national headlines, she was
compelled to apologize.
The sexualized public image of
Britney Spears once again became a topic of debate as a result of
her 2003 semi-nude photo spread for the men's magazine, Esquire.
Prompted by this, Playboy reportedly offered the star over a
million dollars to pose nude for their magazine. Spears has publicly
declined the offer.
The 2004 "Onyx Hotel" tour brought
new criticism. While Spears and her on-stage dancers performed her
songs "Touch Of My Hand" and "Breathe On Me", they were seemingly
nude and were performing explicit routines simulating gay sex,
orgies, and masturbation. Given that some underage fans were in the
audience, there was some outrage at the raunchiness of the
performances, and there were reports of adult chaperones angrily
storming out with children they brought to the concert. It has been
said that the tickets should have originally come with a warning on
them to caution parents.
While young girls seldom address
this debate in the same terms as their parents, many are divided on
whether they consider Britney Spears appealing, especially in the
light of more recent developments in her career.
For her part, Spears has responded
to their concerns by stating that she is "not their babysitter. It's
the parents' responsibility. If you don't like it, turn the T.V.
off. The only person I want to be a role model is to my sister,
Jamie Lynn." (From ABC's Primetime interview with Diane Sawyer).
The criticisms leveled against
Spears are similar to those Madonna received at the start of her
career. Indeed, Madonna's early fans belonged to a similar
demographic to Spears' current fanbase. Spears' show-stealing kiss
with Madonna at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards received much media
attention, as have her recent marriages. Her provocative image and
seemingly down-to-earth personality have contributed greatly to her
In common with a number of other
popular female figures in show business, Britney Spears' private
life has attracted considerable media attention. Indeed, some people
feel that she has courted it by cultivating, in her early years at
least, a chaste, God-fearing and "wholesome" image somewhat at odds
not only with the traditional pressures, temptations and
opportunities of "pop 'n' roll" but with the increasingly sexualized
content of her own songs. Regardless of where the responsibility for
the gossip industry surrounding the pop star lies, Spears' public
response has been to repeatedly express regret and resentment at the
intrusive media coverage.
Spears' sister, Jamie Lynn, is currently starting a career as an
entertainer in the Nickelodeon shows All That and Zoey
101; Britney herself wrote the theme song "Follow Me" for
Zoey 101, though it is sung by Jamie Lynn. Zoey 101
drew record numbers with the premiere of the show which gave the
kids channel 1.6 million viewers age 9-14 — its biggest viewership
in that demographic for a premiere in eight years. Her brother,
Bryan Spears, is one of her co-managers. Britney's parents, Lynne
and Jamie, have divorced.
One of Spears'
best friends, Jenny, was in the unsuccessful girl-group
Innosense. Spears was also a
member of the group, but she left and debuted as a solo artist
before the band released their first record. One of Britney's
closest friends is Felicia Culotta, her assistant.
In May 2004
Spears had a Hebrew tattoo (מהש) inked into the nape of her neck.
She was under the impression that it meant "new era", while a more
scholarly reading would be "protection". A source said, "She's
taken Kabbalah pretty seriously and this was a big deal for her."
Ironically, in getting a tattoo, Spears has committed one of the
worst Jewish taboos. This echoes a similar incident in 2003 when
Spears was informed by her friend, actress Taryn Manning, that her
hip tattoo (the Japanese Kanji character
read "strange" rather than "mysterious".
publicly declared that she was a virgin early in her career, but
after her split from Justin Timberlake he revealed that this was
no longer true. Spears has been quoted as saying, "I thought he
was the one".
favourite colours are baby blue and pink.
She has been
photographed smoking cigarettes.
She spent her
21st birthday at a restaurant in Englewood, New Jersey with family
and friends after her Giants Stadium Concert.
for Huckabees, The Notebook and The Dukes of
Spears Official Website
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