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Britney’s Memoir Is Proving She Is No Longer Being Silenced

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

Britney Spears has been waiting to tell her story, and it’s finally here. Spears wrote about her life as the Princess of Pop in her memoir The Woman In Me, and she was not afraid to tell her truth. The singer and dancer exposed both her most iconic and most notorious moments from her perspective that still remain relevant to Hollywood history. For 13 years, she was silenced in a conservatorship by her family, the media, and the state of California. With the end of the conservatorship in 2021, Spears is freely speaking out on everything the media twisted over the past 25 years. Without further ado, it’s time to unpack what actually happened to Britney Spears.

The princess of pop arises

It did not take long for Britney to become a sensation after she released her hit single “…Baby One More Time” in 1998. Performing in malls for small crowds, Spears relived the innocence that was present in recording the iconic music video that would send her soaring up the charts. Spears wrote that this was the time in her life that she had the most passion for music.

“I could look out at a crowd who’d never seen me before and think, you don’t know who I am yet,” Spears wrote. “It was kind of liberating that I didn’t really have to care if I made mistakes.”

Soon after her rise to fame, she began as an opening act for her former Mickey Mouse Club buddies, Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez, and their boy band NSYNC. Spears compared her relationship with Timberlake at this time to magnets. “We’d just find each other immediately and stick together,” Spears wrote.


Britney’s most notable photo ops of the early 2000s still ring as iconic references today, and she helped us feel what she felt in those moments through the pages of her memoir. After her 2000 VMA performance, she notes the backlash she received from the media and her family being unwarranted.

Britney Spears performed a controversial medley for the VMA’s in 2000.

“They said that I was dressing ‘too sexy,’ and thereby setting a bad example for kids,” Spears wrote. “I never said I was a role model. All I wanted to do was sing and dance.” Though many of her performances are thoroughly unmatched, the 2001 VMA Performance is where she admitted being terrified of handling a large snake. Props to her for committing, because I would be out the door.

At the height of her career, Britney faced the double standard of being pictured as pure for the tabloids, yet sexy enough to sell. She brought up a Dolly Parton quote she wished she knew at this time. “I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb. And I also know that I’m not blonde,” in reference to her hair being naturally black!

Showing off her talent in places that some stars wait their whole career for, Spears described her successes in hosting Saturday Night Live, performing at the Super Bowl, and acting in the coming-of-age film Crossroads. However, her acting career was cut short when her method acting technique took over her life.

“When the camera came on, I was her, and then I couldn’t tell the difference between when the camera was on and when it wasn’t,” she wrote. “I thought, Oh my God, what have I been doing the past few months? Who was I?”

The it couple

America’s sweetheart and the Hollywood golden boy: Britney and Justin. Their story started as cutesy kids on Disney Channel that kissed during a game of truth or dare, and Spears made sure to explain how Justin Timberlake was the absolute love of her life at the time.

The fairytale relationship had a lot more going on behind the scenes, however. In a bombshell paragraph, Spears revealed that she was pregnant with Timberlake’s baby and proceeded to have an abortion. “I don’t know if that was the right decision. If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it,” Spears wrote. She then left no secret untold when she described doing the procedure herself. “It was important that no one find out about the pregnancy or the abortion, which meant doing everything at home.”

Justin Timberlake released his album ‘Justified‘ in 2002.

In a whirlwind of cheating rumors, the relationship ended after Britney was found kissing Wade Robson in a bar. Spears wrote how the 2000s were a time for women to be shamed for their mistakes, perishing the thought that Justin was unfaithful as well. “Cry Me A River did very well. Everyone felt very sorry for him. And it shamed me,” Spears wrote.

The Spiral

Not long after the split, Spears explained in her memoir that she felt her mental health was too sensitive to return to work through the last of her multi-million dollar Dream Within A Dream Tour. She described the years of 2002 until 2007 as a time of twentysomething rebellion. “I was this little girl who had worked so much, and then all of a sudden the schedule was blank for a few days, and so: Hello, alcohol!” Paris Hilton is named by Spears specifically as a good friend who rode along for some rambunctious nights.

Paris Hilton posts throwbacks for Britney’s birthday.

In 2004, Spears married Kevin Federline and soon became pregnant with his children. “I was just so mean. You did not want to hear from me those whole two years,” Spears wrote on her back-to-back pregnancies. Along with an emotional divorce, Spears wrote about postpartum depression. “Being a new mom is challenging enough without trying to do everything under a microscope,” she wrote.

In 2007, Spears wrote about her family’s emotional chokehold and the loss of custody of her sons that drove her to the edge. After her notorious public retaliation at a barber shop, her family had enough.

The conservatorship

Early into the memoir, Spears explained her family dynamic to be problematic, particularly describing her alcoholic father, temperamental mother, absent brother, and for lack of a better word, her b*tch sister. By 2008, these were the people that would determine every single aspect of her life. “I’m a five-foot-four-inch pop singer who calls everyone ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’. They treated me like I was a criminal or predator,” Spears wrote.

Spears compared the 13 years of the conservatorship to imprisonment under her father, Jamie Spears. “I sometimes thought that it was almost funny how I won those awards for the album I made while I was supposedly so incapacitated that I had to be controlled by my family,” she wrote.

Britney faced a complete loss of her independence, and she wrote a quick explanation. “If you’re asking why I went along with it, there’s one very good reason. I did it for my kids.” After more than a decade of asking permission to drive a car, ‘earning’ an allowance from her own bank account, being drugged, entered into rehab centers, and performing for the world with a happy smile, she fought back with a simple yet tabooed word: no.

Despite the long list of hardships Britney endured, she wrote how the #FreeBritney is what kept her pushing towards freedom. “If you stood up for me when I couldn’t stand up for myself: from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

Sarah Vial is a Sociology and Journalism double major at the University of Connecticut. Sarah is a writer for the UConn HerCampus team where she writes articles about various subjects in culture, style, wellness, life, and career. Sarah uses her course opportunities to write newsworthy articles on campus life at UConn. Sarah is also the social media chair for Survivor UConn where she does multi-media editing for the production team and marketing handles. She works with others to encompass a cast of college students in a reality television sense. Sarah enjoys working out at the gym, reading fiction books, and attempting to improve her rock climbing status to a level 2 . She likes to dabble with her creative side when practicing the piano on ballad classics and following baking recipes on Pinterest.