For almost a decade, Britney Spears’ struggles have been well-documented. She went from being the girl who had everything to someone who had really hit rock bottom. Rather than giving up, she and her family have rallied to put her life back together when it really seemed like all was lost. How did she go from being stripped of custody of her two sons while being held in a psychiatric hospital to, as she describes it, being the “happiest” she’s ever been? Let’s take a look at her journey.
When Britney Spears burst onto the music scene with “…Baby One More Time” she was just a teenager. From that point forward, there was no stopping her rise to fame but many were concerned by the highly sexualized way she was marketed along with claims that she was a virgin. For a while, Spears went along with the story and even claimed that her long-time boyfriend, Justin Timberlake, had been her only lover but, eventually, she and her mother had to tell the truth – Spears was 13 when she started drinking and she lost her virginity just a year later. It was the first of many things that would turn out to be untrue about the young star’s life and, soon, the charade took a toll on her.
Marriages, Injury and Motherhood
Spears behavior became increasingly erratic and she shocked the world by marrying childhood friend, Jason Alexander, in Las Vegas in January 2004. The marriage was annulled just 55 hours later. The court papers claimed that she had a lack of “understanding of her actions.”
In June of the same year, Spears, a girl known for her love of dancing, fell and injured her left knee during a video shoot and was sidelined so long that her The Onyx Hotel Tour had to be cancelled. During her recovery, she became engaged to Kevin Federline, a dancer she had met just three months earlier. They were married on September 18, 2004 amidst some heavy criticism and controversy – the groom had only recently ended his relationship with actress, Shar Jackson, who was pregnant with his second child.
In September 2005, a year after her wedding, Spears gave birth to her first child, Sean Preston, which invited more public scrutiny. She was seen driving with her baby in her lap instead of being strapped into a carseat but she claimed it was to avoid paparazzi. The following September, she gave birth to her second son, Jayden James, but there was no happy ending. She and Federline divorced soon after and agreed to share custody of their children.
At this point, everything seemed to begin derailing in Spears’ life. Her beloved aunt Sandra died of ovarian cancer in January 2007. The following month, the singer checked into a drug rehabilitation facility for just one day in Antigua before checking herself out. Within 24 hours, she was seen shaving her head bald in a hair salon in Los Angeles. For the following weeks, she was in and out of facilities and by October 2007, she had lost physical custody of her sons.
As if things weren’t already bad enough, they actually got worse. Britney started dating paparazzo, Adnan Ghalib, and in January 2008 was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center during an altercation in which she refused to relinquish custody of her boys to Federline. Her visitation rights were suspended and she was eventually put on a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The courts granted conservatorship to her father, James Spears, and her attorney, enabling them to have complete control over her assets.
This was a turning point for Spears. After being released from the hospital, she guest-starred on How I Met Your Mother and earned high praise for her performance and gave the show its highest ratings ever. By July 2008, she and Federline were able to come to an agreement that restored some of her visitation rights.
In the months that followed, Spears appeared in the MTV documentary, Britney: For the Record, chronicling her return to the music industry and, in December 2008, she released the album Circus which debuted in the top spot in the United States and Canada. This earned her a spot in the Guinness World Records as the youngest person to have five albums enter the charts at number one.
Since then, things have only continued to improve. She released more music, was given the MTV Video Vanguard Award in 2011, and was hired as a judge on The X Factor. During this time, she was dating a man named Jason Trawick who, for a while, almost seemed like a fatherly figure as much as a partner. It wasn’t a surprise when they eventually split.
Vegas Residency and New Man
So… why go through this entire history lesson on the ups and downs of the life of Britney Spears? To demonstrate how, even the most successful people can be struggling within themselves. To show how far she’s come and how much courage and hard work it has taken for her to get to this point in her life.
Today, she’s well into her two-year residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and has been so actually agreed to stay two years longer. It seems as though the stability of working in the same place instead of being out on tour has been good for Spears. She and her sons seem to be in a very different place than they were just a few short years ago. She regularly posts pictures to her Instagram account of them vacationing and having fun together and she’s got a new man in her life.
In November 2014, Spears confirmed that she is dating Charlie Ebersol, the son of actress, Susan Saint James and NBC television executive, Dick Ebersol. The great thing about this pairing is that Charlie not only understands what it’s like to live in the public eye but he’s also experienced some incredible heartbreak in his life.
In November 2004, while Spears was in the honeymoon stage of her marriage to Kevin Federline, Charlie was in a plane crash along with his father and younger brother, Teddy. Charlie was able to pull his dad from the wreckage but his brother, pilot and the flight attendant on board were all killed. He had to find a way to go on with his life and pull through what must have been a horrible time. Today, he is following in his father’s footsteps and, in 2012, The Hollywood Reporter named him one of “Reality Television’s 50 Most Powerful Producers.”
Her Happy Life Today
In a recent interview with People, Spears says that she’s the happiest she’s ever been. Her 8 and 9-year-old boys, Jayden and Sean, respectively, are growing into “little men” who, despite their privileged lifestyle, are expected to make homework a priority and get toys based on a reward system designed to motivate them to do well. Charlie has fit right in with the family and Spears says that they “have fun together” and that the producer is “refreshing to be around and really light-hearted.”
The 33-year-old says that she believes “in the fairytale” and would “love to” get married again. She has certainly put in the work to get her life back on track and deserves to be happy. Hopefully, this is the beginning of an incredible chapter in her life!