She’s arguably one of the most photographed women – in the world. Every day we see pictures of her going to Starbucks, walking into the store or even coming out of the gas station, and for some reason we care. She’s the most searched female celebrity, but why? Whatever it is, Britney Spears seems to have it! For example, earlier this week FOX’s hit show ‘Glee’ had a Britney themed episode, it was an entire hour dedicated to Ms. Spears and to the surprise of no one, Britney spiked the show’s ratings up by 4%. 13.3 million people tuned in to hear the kids of ‘Glee’ belt out their best Britney tunes.
Britney, for some reason, always spikes up ratings. In 2008 when she made a short guest star role in the hit comedy show ‘How I Met Your Mother’ she gave them their highest ratings yet. In 2008, after her infamous mental breakdown, she won 3 VMAs and increased the ratings by 15%. For some reason everything Britney touches seems to turn to gold.
Maybe it has to do with the fact that we feel like we’ve seen Britney grow up before our own eyes? Before she married Kevin Federline and popped out two kids, she was performing her hit ‘…Baby One More Time’ on a mostly sold out mall tour in 1999. Her first album, ‘…Baby One More Time’ reached #1 – as most Britney albums always do – and from that moment on she was a household name.
Of course, as the media does, they had to create some kind of conflict and they stirred up rumors that Britney and other teen pop star Christina Aguilera were feuding because of “jealousy.” In 2003, When Britney famously locked lips with Madonna at the VMAs, everyone seem to have forgotten that Aguilera too was included in that kiss, but it was Britney who made headlines and was the talk everywhere – not Aguilera.
In 2000, after years of speculation, Britney admitted that she was seeing N’Sync front man Justin Timberlake. For years, Britney and Justin seemed to be living a fairytale life. They walked Red Carpets wearing matching outfits and there seemed to never be a bad picture of them together. But in 2002 it all ended when Timberlake announced that he and Britney were over. Rumors swirled that Britney cheated on him but those rumors were never confirmed or denied. By the time 2003 rolled around Britney ditched her sweet pop girl image for a more sexed up party girl image. It’s safe to say that the lyrics she sang in 2000, ‘I’m Not That Innocent’ probably was the theme song to her life at this moment. Fans worried, the Britney that never left the house without makeup and seemed to be perfect was now showing cracks. Not only would she leave the house with no makeup but she was smoking and throwing her middle finger at the paparazzi, she was doing things that Britney Spears wouldn’t normally do.
And it only got worst. Fast forward to mid 2004, she had already had one marriage that had been annulled and now she was seeing backup dancer Kevin Federline. Maybe the world was shocked that Britney Spears, one of the richest women in the world, was dating a backup dancer. But again, maybe she decided to date a backup dancer as a way to rebel? Kevin, pre-Britney, was dating former ‘Moesha’ star Shar Jackson and as most of us would do, when he met Britney he left Shar to live a life with Britney that included flying on jets across the world and partying at some of the most exclusive clubs in the world – obviously, Shar couldn’t offer him those things, which is why for years people speculated that Kevin used Britney.
Kevin probably wasn’t the best influence on Britney, but she didn’t care. She proclaimed her love for Kevin to the world when they released the UPN show ‘Chaotic’. ‘Chaotic’ it was – Britney was clearly at a crossroads in her life and was tired of being seen as a little girl, even though by this point she was only 22. Most scenes in ‘Chaotic’ would be Britney making out with Kevin, or talking about her sex life. The show was panned by critics, most critics described it as “immature” and “embarrassing”.
On September 18th, 2004 Britney and Kevin married and the world was not happy. Our Brit Brit married a backup dancer. Around this time, during her marriage to Kevin, is when her image suffered its biggest hit. You were likely to turn on Mad TV and see endless skits making fun of Britney and Kevin. In all honesty, Britney didn’t seem to care. She and Kevin had their first son, Sean Preston, September 14th, 2005. They then had their second, Jayden James, on September 12th, 2006. But the world wasn’t focused on the birth of Jayden, at this point. There were endless rumors that the marriage was on the outs due to Kevin’s wild partying and his nights spent out in Vegas instead of at home with Britney. To the surprise of no one, Britney filed for divorce on November 7th, 2006 and that’s when it all began.
Britney – most likely feeling like she missed out on her teenage years. Remember this was the same girl who peaked before she was 20! – decided to party all night in LA with party girl Paris Hilton for months after her divorce. Fans were shocked. Everyone was excited when Britney ditched Kevin because they thought the Britney we all knew and loved would magically return, but in true Britney fashion, she rebelled and did the complete opposite. Britney and Paris eventually had a falling out – and at this time Britney’s image would only continue to get worse as her parenting skills would continue to be in the headlines in 2007. The divorce from Kevin left Britney lost, “I think I married for the wrong reasons,” Spears would later say in her 2008 documentary, ‘For The Record’. “Instead of following my heart and doing what made me really happy, I just did it for the sake of the idea of everything.”
As most people know, 2007 and 2008 were the years of the infamous “Britney breakdown” still ’til this day people speculate about what exactly caused Britney to throw away her career, shave her head, date a paprazzo, and endless stints in rehab. Reports have swirled that she is being treated for bipolar disorder, but that has never been confirmed. Now those days are long gone. These days Britney is back on top, maybe higher than she was before. Her ‘Circus’ tour was the highest grossing tour of 2009. Her CD ‘Circus’ debuted at #1 and the Britney brand is back in place. Maybe that’s why we’re so obsessed with Britney? – just like her idol Madonna, Britney is constantly able to reinvent herself.