Britney Spears’s long-anticipated memoir, The Woman In Me, is here. The singer’s book chronicles her rise to fame, from a young performer in Louisiana to one of the world’s most famous pop stars.
Pop star’s new book details Timberlake relationship, Federline divorce, 13-year conservatorship
Jenna Benchetrit · CBC News
Britney Spears’s long-anticipated memoir, The Woman In Me, is here.
The singer’s book chronicles her rise to fame, from a young performer in Louisiana to one of the world’s most famous pop stars.
Amid details about her early performing career on the Mickey Mouse Club, her relationship with Justin Timberlake (including the abortion she had while they were together), her divorce and custody battle with dancer Kevin Federline, and her mental health struggles, Spears also writes about the conservatorship that controlled her life and finances for 13 years.
Here’s what we learned from The Woman In Me.
She alleges Timberlake cheated multiple times — and so did she
Spears and Timberlake were a couple from 1999-2002, having met years earlier while they were cast members on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club.
“There were a couple of times during our relationship when I knew Justin had cheated on me,” Spears writes, adding that she let the alleged infidelity slide because she was infatuated with him.
She describes hearing rumours about him cheating with several women, including “various dancers and groupies” and another unnamed celebrity who is “actually very popular.”
Spears writes that she cheated on Timberlake once when she kissed choreographer Wade Robson, which she then admitted to him.
Infamous Diane Sawyer interview was a ‘breaking point’
Timberlake’s hit single, Cry Me A River, was released shortly after their breakup — and Spears says the media framed her as “a harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy.”
Spears was infamously interviewed in 2003 by ABC News reporter Diane Sawyer, who asked her what she did to break the ‘N Sync singer’s heart.
“It was completely humiliating,” Spears writes. She felt that the veteran journalist inappropriately framed her as the catalyst for the breakup.
“I felt like I had been exploited, set up in front of the whole world,” Spears writes. “That interview was a breaking point for me internally — a switch had been flipped.”
Spears took Adderall to stave off depression
The book recalls Spears’s friendship with Paris Hilton in the wake of her separation from Federline. She writes about the media attention they got for partying with Lindsay Lohan: “We got drunk. That’s it!”
Spears writes that she only drank and never did hard drugs — but she did take the prescription drug Adderall to stave off depression.
“Adderall made me high, yes, but what I found far more appealing was that it gave me a few hours of feeling less depressed,” she writes.
“It was the only thing that worked for me as an antidepressant, and I really felt like I needed one of those.”
She shaved her head to rebel against the public’s watchful eyes
Spears says that after weeks of being kept away from her kids during a bitter custody battle with Federline, she was fed up with paparazzi following her.
“I went into a hair salon, and I took the clippers, and I shaved off all my hair,” Spears writes, describing the infamous 2007 moment as an act of rebellion against a watchful public.
“My long hair was a big part of what people liked — I knew that,” she writes. She says shaving her head was a way of saying “f–ck you” to a world that wanted her to be a “dream girl.”
“Nobody seemed to understand that I was simply out of my mind with grief. My children had been taken away from me,” she adds.
Conservatorship was ‘darkest chapter’ of her life
Spears also describes the conservatorship that controlled her life for 13 years, in which several court-appointed conservators — most notably her father, Jamie Spears — made personal and financial decisions on her behalf starting in 2008.
“The conservatorship stripped me of my womanhood, made me into a child,” she writes. “I became more of an entity than a person onstage. I had always felt music in my bones and my blood; they stole that from me.”
Spears says she was subjected to various indignities: potential dates were briefed on her medical and sexual history; security guards would watch her take prepackaged medication; her cellphone was equipped with parental controls.
She alleges that her father “profited heavily from the conservatorship, becoming a multimillionaire,” while she was forced to make media appearances, record albums and go on tour. She says she was given a $2,000 weekly allowance.
“If you’re asking why I went along with it, there’s one very good reason. I did it for my kids,” she explains. “Because I played by the rules, I was reunited with my boys.”
She says her dad body-shamed her, called her fat
Spears writes that after she shaved her head and her conservatorship was established, her father and then-conservator Jamie Spears “repeatedly” told her she looked fat, “and that I was going to have to do something about it.”
“No matter how much I dieted and exercised, my father was always telling me I was fat,” she writes.
She adds that around the time she started her Las Vegas residency, which was initially slated to run for two years, the elder Spears put her on a strict diet and instructed her team to enforce it.
“Two years is a long time to not be able to eat what you want, especially when it’s your body and your work and your soul making the money the everyone’s living off of,” she writes. “Two years of asking for french fries and being told no. I found it so degrading.”
She contemplated suicide during conservatorship
Spears wrote that, while working in Las Vegas during her concert residency, she was sent to a rehab facility for months against her will. She described her father telling her she’d have to go to court if she didn’t go to rehab.
“I felt like it was a form of blackmail and I was being gaslit,” she wrote. “I honestly felt they were trying to kill me. I had never stood up to my dad in all those years; I never said no to anyone.”
LISTEN | Britney Spears fights to end her conservatorship:
Front Burner24:45‘I’m done’: Britney Spears fights back against conservatorship
Featured VideoAs Britney Spears fights for her legal freedom, Dominic Patten, senior editor for Deadline Hollywood, joins us to explain the latest revelations on the 13-year conservatorship that controls every aspect of the pop icon’s life.
“How had I managed not to kill myself in that place … I believe that almost anyone else in my situation would have,” Spears also wrote. “Thinking about how close I came to doing just that, I wept.”
It was at this time that she learned about the #FreeBritney movement, after a nurse in the rehab facility showed her several video clips of people advocating for the end of her conservatorship.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenna Benchetrit is a web and radio journalist for CBC News. She works primarily with the entertainment and education teams and occasionally covers business and general assignment stories. A Montrealer based in Toronto, Jenna holds a master’s degree in journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University. You can reach her at email@example.com.