Sunday, March 27, 2011

EXCLUSIVE : Britney Spears - A Life in Photos


Follow the star's rise, fall and comeback


Britney Jean Spears was born on December 2, 1981 in the small town of Kentwood, Louisiana (population 2,200). Her father, Jamie, had a drinking problem, and as his construction business faced a downturn, her mother, Lynne, devoted herself to nurturing her eldest daughter's talent from the time Britney was three.

When she was eight, Spears' mother brought her to an audition for The Mickey Mouse Club, though Britney was too young to be cast. For the next four years, Spears lived part-time in New York with her mom, doing commercial work, playing the lead in the Broadway play Ruthless and performing on Star Search. When she was twelve, Spears finally did join the Mickey show, where she starred alongside Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.

After the new Mickey Mouse Club was canceled, Spears returned to New York and tried to grab the attention of the music industry with demo tapes and auditions. Jive Records was interested, and she linked up with manager Larry Rudolph and went to Sweden to record with songwriter Max Martin. She returned with her first single, "... Baby One More Time," which came out in late 1998 (here Spears is pictured backstage at New York's Madison Square Garden on December 17, 1998).

In January 1999, Spears' video for "... Baby One More Time" came out and the album of the same name was released. She appeared on her first Rolling Stone cover in April, and later that year she won several Billboard and American Music Awards, and attended her first MTV Video Music Awards at New York's Lincoln Center on September 9, 1999. When the year ended, her debut album had sold ten million copies.

Spears' second album, Oops! ... I Did It Again, was released on May 16, 2000 and broke records by moving 1.3 million copies its debut week (the blockbuster single of the same name came out the month prior). Here Spears poses with her "Oops! ... I Did It Again"-inspired doll in October 1999.

By the time Spears attended the Grammy Awards on February 23, 2000 in Los Angeles, she had embarked on her first world tour for Oops! ... I Did It Again.

Spears made her debut on the Grammy Awards stage at Los Angeles' Staples Center on February 23, 2000. She was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (and won neither), and sang "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart" and "... Baby One More Time."

By the time Spears posed for this 2000 portrait, she was an international superstar and attention started to shift to her personal life. She began dating Justin Timberlake — she toured with 'NSync during her early days — in 1999, though her manager insisted they keep the relationship quiet and tell the press they planned to abstain from sex until marriage.

Spears poses with the Eiffel Tower during her 2000 Oops! tour's stop in France.

Spears stirred up her first major awards-show controversy at September 7, 2000's MTV Video Music Awards in New York, where she tore away her tuxedo and stripped down into a sparkly, tight, flesh-colored outfit and performed her cover of "Satisfaction" as well as "Oops! ... I Did It Again."

Spears and her former fellow Mousketeer Christina Aguilera (who also performed that night, with Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst) at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 7, 2000. For years the press portrayed the two pop sensations as bitter rivals.

Britney Spears and then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake at the 28th Annual American Music Awards on January 8, 2001 in Los Angeles.

Spears' third studio album didn't come out until November 2001, but she spent most of that year in the spotlight regardless. On January 28, 2001 she performed at the halftime show for Super Bowl XXXV alongside 'NSync and Aerosmith in Tampa, Florida.

Spears with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler during the Super Bowl halftime show on January 28, 2001 in Tampa, Florida.

Britney was released on November 6, 2001, and the next day Spears performed at Uniondale, New York's Nassau Coliseum on one of the first dates of her Dream Within a Dream Tour. Spears took a more active role in the album's songwriting, and strove to reflect her conflicted feelings about growing up and exploring her sexuality in public (as evidenced on the singles "Overprotected," "I'm a Slave 4 U" and "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman"). Britney debuted at Number One, replacing Michael Jackson's Invincible in the chart's top spot.

Spears acted as Grand Marshal during the NASCAR Winston Cup Pepsi 400 at the Daytona Speedway in Florida on July 7, 2001. The following summer Spears got a movie about NASCAR green-lit, but the project never developed to fruition.

Spears with Mick Jagger at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 6, 2001 in New York. Spears covered the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" on Oops! ... I Did It Again, but when she once found herself in an elevator with Jagger, she didn't know who he was. Spears made a similar gaffe while promoting Britney in 2002, telling a reporter she covered "I Love Rock 'n Roll" because she loved Pat Benatar.

When Spears said she wanted to explore her sexuality more on Britney she meant it, alluding to her newfound sexual freedom during her September 6, 2001 MTV Video Music Awards performance in which she took the stage nearly naked, save for a giant albino python. She reportedly began sleeping with her choreographer Wade Robson, one of Timberlake's close friends and collaborators.

Spears filming a Pepsi commercial for the 2002 Super Bowl in January 2002 (she inked a deal with the cola company in early 2001). In the clip, Spears portrays characters from the 1950s to the present (and future). She was seen on the big screen in February 2002, when Crossroads, Spears' road-trip/coming-of-age movie, debuted.

In February 2002, Justin Timberlake uncovered Spears' alleged affair with Wade Robson when he discovered a note in Spears' room the same night the two pop stars were scheduled to appear on Saturday Night Live. Spears tried to make amends, but a shaken Timberlake refused to reconcile, and many assumed his biting "Cry Me a River" was written about their breakup.

Clive Davis with the recently split Timberlake and Spears at his 27th Annual Pre-Grammy Party in Los Angeles on February 26, 2002. At the Grammy ceremony, Spears' "Overprotected" was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, but she didn't win.

At August 29, 2002's MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Spears presented Michael Jackson with a birthday cake, but he misinterpreted Spears' brief introduction and gave an acceptance speech thanking her for proclaiming him Artist of the Millenium.

In the wake of her split with Timberlake, Spears became a fixture at parties, nightclubs and events.
She posed with Donatella Versace at a fashion show on October 1, 2002 in Milan, Italy.

Britney Spears spent her first New Year's Eve sans Timberlake with Natalie Portman, as the two hosted a party at New York's Hudson Hotel on December 31, 2002.

As Spears became increasingly disillusioned with the music machine that made her a star, she turned her focus to her social life, seeking love in nightclubs and guys like Colin Farrell (the two attended the premiere of The Recruit together in Hollywood on January 28, 2003). Spears also had a fling with Fred Durst, who boasted of his conquest on Howard Stern's show.

Spears at the drive-thru window of a Hollywood In-N-Out Burger on February 27, 2003. Paparazzi photographs of the singer at fast-food restaurants soon became a cottage industry.

Spears with younger sister Jamie Lynn at Nickelodeon's 16th Annual Kids' Choice Awards on April 12, 2003 in Santa Monica, California. The younger Spears began appearing on Nick TV shows in 2002, but didn't score true fame (and infamy) until she revealed she was pregnant at age sixteen in late 2007.

As she became ever more salacious fodder for tabloid reports on her increasingly scandalous personal life, Spears demonstrated her feelings about celebrity coverage by rocking a Page Six Six Six shirt at an MTV party on June 28, 2003 in Hollywood, California.

Spears and Christina Aguilera teamed up with Britney's future "Me Against the Music" collaborator Madonna onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York on August 28, 2003. The threesome (plus Missy Elliott) performed Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and "Hollywood."

Spears' 2003 VMAs performance became most famous for two brief lip-locks. When Madonna kissed Spears, the camera instantly cut to Timberlake for a reaction shot, forcing Aguilera's similar kiss to lose most of its airtime. After the awards, Spears decided she and Madonna were soul mates and began to look to the elder pop superstar for advice, picking up Madonna's devotion to Kabbalah.

A few months before the release of her fourth album, Spears performed at the NFL's Kickoff Live from the National Mall on September 4, 2003 in Washington, DC.

Roger Taylor, Spears and Brian May pose for a photo during the making of the Pepsi "We Will Rock You" gladiator commercial (which also starred Beyoncé, Pink and Enrique Iglesias) in Rome on September 22, 2003.
Spears took the stage at the 31st Annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles on November 16, 2003, two days before the release of her fourth studio album, In the Zone. The record, which tackled mature topics like masturbation and hangover mornings, featured production by Moby, Diddy and Bloodshy & Avant, as well as more creative input from Spears. While the album debuted at Number One, it sold less than her prior three records did their opening weeks; the LP still yielded memorable videos for "Me Against the Music," "Toxic" and "Everytime."
Spears received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 17, 2003 in Hollywood, California.

During a November 17, 2003 appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, the talk-show host quizzed Spears on marriage and kids. "Right now I'm just having fun," Spears told Leno after saying she thought twenty-five was the ideal age to wed. She was twenty-two at the time. When Leno said, "In two years you'll be married with two kids?" Spears made a face and yelled, "Oh, I don't know ... no!"

Spears took her brother Bryan to the 31st Annual American Music Awards on November 16, 2003. A month later, she returned home to Kentwood to spent the Christmas holidays with her family, staying at a small house on her parents' property with a few childhood friends, including onetime crush Jason Alexander. After having a rough year (as she told Rolling Stone in our October 2003 cover story), she was ready to have fun again.

After arguing with her mother one morning during her Christmas break at home, Spears took off for Las Vegas and partied for three straight days, taking cocaine in the evening, Ecstasy in the morning and Xanax to sleep, according to Jason Alexander. At 3:30 AM on January 3, 2004, the couple spontaneously took a lime-green limo to Vegas' Little White Chapel and got married. When Lynne Spears got the news, she flew to Vegas and lawyers worked on an annulment. Alexander, startled by his sudden fame, cracked under the pressure and dropped out of college.

Spears reunited with her idol Madonna during the NRJ awards in France on January 24, 2004. By this point, Spears' handlers were having a hard time making the star perform on command. She was "difficult" on the set of the "Everytime" video shoot, demanding Red Bulls and her doctor, according to a friend.
In early 2004 the increasingly shiftless Spears met dancer Kevin Federline, a twenty-five-year-old high school dropout from Fresno, California, who had one child with his girlfriend Shar Jackson, and a second baby on the way. Spears became enamored with the club fixture known as Meat Pole, and invited him to join her on her Onyx Hotel Tour.

While on tour in Europe with Federline promoting In the Zone (pictured here in Rotterdam in May 2004), Spears and her new boyfriend filmed themselves obsessively with video cameras, generating the footage that would later become their reality show Britney & Kevin: Chaotic.

In June 2004, Spears suffered a knee injury during the shoot for her "Outrageous" video and underwent surgery in New York. She had to cancel her remaining tour dates, and Jive announced that her doctors had ordered the star to undergo four months of rest.

Spears and Federline announced their engagement in the summer of 2004 (Spears proposed to Federline first, who refused, then proposed himself a few minutes later). The two were married in September 2004, the bridesmaids wearing pink Juicy tracksuits. After the wedding, Spears fired Rudolph and her mother as her managers and turned to making money off interest in her private life, selling her wedding photos for $1 million.

Spears attended the 2004 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on December 8, 2004. Two months prior, she announced she'd be taking a brief break from the music biz to focus on her new family in a post on her Web site. "My prerogative right now is to just chill and let all of the other overexposed blondes on the cover of Us Weekly be your entertainment," she wrote. "Good luck girls!"
In April 2005, Spears and Federline (seen here at a movie premiere in July of that year) ended speculation that the star was pregnant by announcing that she was indeed expecting her first child. Sean Preston was born in September 2005, and his b aby pictures were sold to People for $1 million.

After Spears gave birth to Sean Preston, paparazzi attention to her every move only heightened — and she began to unravel in public. One photographer caught her behind the wheel of her black SUV with her infant son on her lap (rather than secured in a car seat) on February 6, 2006, and the public recoiled with horror at Spears' alleged irresponsible parenting.

In a surprise appearance on David Letterman's show, Spears broke the news that she was pregnant with her second child on May 9, 2006. Second son Jayden James was born in September 2006, but Spears and Federline didn't reveal any baby photos immediately, holding out instead for a bigger magazine payday that never came. Though the public craved Spears news and gossip, the singer largely abandoned her recording career (a greatest-hits album came out in November 2004 and a remix album hit the streets the following November).

As the public increasingly scrutinized her mothering abilities, Spears lost her grip on Sean Preston after emerging from the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York on May 18, 2006.

In an emotional and candid interview with NBC's Matt Lauer on Dateline in June 2006, Spears addressed the state of her marriage, "mommy mishaps" and how the paparazzi had gone "too far." Despite multiple reports that her marriage to Federline was on the rocks and he was sleeping in the basement, a pregnant Spears tearfully denied there was trouble between the pair and asked to be left alone because "we're people."

Despite Spears' protests that her marriage was stable, gossip spread that she was on the prowl for a new boyfriend, and some magazines fingered her bodyguard/nanny Perry (seen here strolling with Spears on May 30, 2006) as her latest love.

In November 2006, Spears informed Federline she wanted a divorce via text message. Federline responded by scrawling "Today I'm a free man — Fuck a wife, give me my kids, bitch!" on a nightclub bathroom wall.

After filing for divorce, Spears rehired manager Larry Rudolph (he took her ice-skating in New York for a clean-cut photo op), but Spears wanted to explore her new freedom to its fullest. She hit the Los Angeles hotspots with party girls like Paris Hilton, and was photographed without her underwear three times. The Britney/Paris friendship didn't last long, and Hilton nicknamed Spears "The Animal" because she doesn't think before she acts.

As Spears' partying became more frequent and worrysome, her handlers urged her to go to rehab. She spent only one day at Eric Clapton's Crossroads recovery center in Antigua in February 2007 before flying back to L.A. She went to Federline's house demanding her children, but was told she couldn't see them unless she checked into Promises for treatment. She left in anger and drove around until she found a random hair salon, where she grabbed a pair of clippers and shaved her head bare.

On February 20, 2007 Spears checked into the Promises rehab center, but the next day she took out her rage at the paparazzi by attacking a photographer's car with an umbrella. Livid at those who urged her to enter treatment, after she emerged she cut the people who insisted she go there — Rudolph, Federline and her parents — out of her life. Somehow during this time she was also recording what would become her next album, Blackout.

After several tracks from Blackout leaked to the Internet, word broke that Spears would make her grand return to the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, the site of many of her most heralded performances. Spears bailed on several rehearsals and ditched a rumored collaboration with illusionist Criss Angel just days before the ceremony. She opened the show with "Gimme More," but the September 9, 2007 performance was deemed a disappointing failure.

On October 30, 2007, Blackout was released to mostly positive reviews, but in the wake of Spears' shaky VMAs performance her new management team at powerhouse agency the Firm called it quits. Aside from a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest on L.A.'s KISS-FM, there were no promotional activities scheduled to help generate album sales. Still, the record debuted at Number Two with sales of 290,000, making it Spears' first studio LP not to debut at Number One.

Spears celebrated her twenty-sixth birthday at the Scandinavian Style Mansion in Bel Air, California on December 1, 2007, but the party was certainly bittersweet. In October she lost custody of her children to ex-husband Kevin Federline after months of public partying. In late December she debuted the video for Blackout's second single, "Piece of Me," but the clip became more famous for its difficult shoot (Spears kept the crew waiting for twelve hours). Stories of Spears' increasingly erratic behavior filled blogs and celebrity magazines.

Spears' custody battle with her ex-husband took a turn for the strange on January 3, 2008 when the singer refused to relinquish Jayden James and locked herself in a bathroom with her young son. Police, ambulances and helicopters swarmed her home and Spears was removed from her mansion strapped to a gurney and taken to a hospital for observation. The following day a court order stripped Spears of her visitation rights.

After being released from the hospital in 2008, Spears began spending more time with her new paparazzo boyfriend Adnan Ghalib and manager Sam Lutfi. She was photographed running errands to drugstores and Starbucks, and missing depositions and custody hearings.

On January 31, Spears was forcibly hospitalized again at UCLA Medical Center and her parents went to court to wrestle control of her affairs from Lutfi, who they claim drugged and confused the star. Despite speculation that Spears suffers from bipolar disorder or hysteria, she was released from the hospital halfway through her mandated two-week stay on February 6, 2008 and returned to driving around Los Angeles with the paparazzi in tow.

On February 1, 2008, Spears' father Jamie was granted a temporary conservatorship, meaning he assumed control of all his daughter's affairs including her medical treatment and finances. Later in the month, Spears was allowed to resume supervised visits with her children after she and Federline agreed to amend the January court order that eliminated her visitation rights.

In March 2008, Spears got back to work — on the small screen. She guest starred as a receptionist at a doctor's office on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

Spears was involved in a minor car accident in Los Angeles on April 12, 2008 when she allegedly rear-ended another motorist on the 405 freeway. Nobody was injured or arrested, but Spears but was forced to stand trial over an August 2007 fender-bender where she hit a parked car and was charged with driving without a license. That case ended in a mistrial in October 2008.

On July 18, 2008, news broke that Spears and Federline had ended their custody battle over Sean Preston and Jayden James. Federline retained full custody of the children, while Spears retained visitation rights

In a rare interview, Spears opened up to OK! magazine about getting back in the studio to record a new album, calling her fresh tunes "my best work ever." She also began appearing in commercials for MTV's Video Music Awards alongside its host, Russell Brand.

At MTV's September 7, 2008 Video Music Awards, Spears didn't perform, but appeared onstage several times to accept her first-ever Moonmen, wins for her "Piece of Me" video.

In September 2008, Spears' mother appeared on the Today show to plug her tell-all parenting book, Lynne Spears: Through the Storm.

In late September, Rolling Stone confirmed Spears' new album Circus would be released on December 2nd. On September 26, 2008, Spears' single "Womanizer" hit the radio, and only four days later she told a New York radio DJ to expect a world tour in 2009. On October 10th, the "Womanizer" video premiered on 20/20, giving fans a glimpse of a fit, impressive Spears.

On October 28, 2008, a California court awarded Jamie Spears permanent legal control over Britney and her affairs. In a documentary airing on MTV days before the release of Circus and in her exclusive interview with Rolling Stone, Spears reveals that she feels like she lives in a prison: "If I wasn't under the restraints I'm under, I'd feel so liberated."

Spears has plans to launch Circus (which received a 3.5 star review in Rolling Stone) with a media blitz including an appearance on Good Morning America live from the Big Apple Circus.

The steaming hot"Womanizer" music video was criticized because Britney showing too much of her skin

The Circus Tour : Starring Britney Spears  was the bomb & becoming one most successful tour of all time at no 5.

Her 3rd single, "If U Seek Amy", causing controversies as some of the media claiming there are obscenity in the lyrics. Unfortunately for Britney, many of  the radio stations stopped from spinning this song after that

Britney Spears at the set, shooting for her 4th single "Radar" music video and  Candies clothing line ads.

A video footage of Britney thanking her fans as she won Best Pop Video for "Circus" at the MTV Video Music Awards 2009



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