To say that there’s interest around the release of Britney Spears’ new book would be an understatement of colossal proportions.
The Free Britney movement dominated headlines for months, leading to, in 2021, the eventual termination of the controversial conservatorship that was in place for 13 years.
Once known as the Princess of Pop, Britney has chosen to put out The Woman In Me to finally tell her side of the story.
Having read it, the feeling of catharsis radiates from each chapter. Britney takes us back to her birth and early years in Louisiana, in the US.
Here are the five key takeaways from the star’s candid memoir, that has been released today.
1. Her relationship with her family, specifically her father, has always been fractious
She makes it apparent from the prologue that her dad, Jamie Spears was an alcoholic.
“I was usually scared at home…my mother and father fought constantly,” she said.
Jamie was in and out of Britney’s life as she rose to stardom, and his sudden reappearance in the time before the conservatorship, which started in 2008, was a surprise to many who were close to the singer.
2. The paparazzi made her life a living nightmare
While fame came with its perks, the increasingly invasive nature of the paparazzi caused Britney great pain, according to her book.
Wherever she went, especially after the birth of her children, she was the subject of scrutiny.
She writes: “I grew up in the south, where manners are so important. Just on the level of civility, it was incredibly painful to be treated with such disregard.”
She equates the paparazzi to an “army of zombies trying to get in every second…it was terrifying”.
3. The Conservatorship was incredibly restrictive
A conservatorship is where someone is appointed a guardian or protector to manage the personal and/or financial affairs of another person who is unable to fully manage their own affairs, due to physical or mental limitations.
Her father was made one of her conservators in 2008, after Britney’s divorce from Kevin Federline and her losing custody of her two children.
Britney claims her father once said to her “I’m Britney Spears now”, as he took control of her personal and business affairs.
“When someone wanted to date me,” the singer writes, “the security team who answered to my father would run a background check on him, make him sign an NDA and even have him submit a blood test.”
She also alleges her father degraded her by calling her “fat” and wouldn’t let her have dessert, as well as putting parental controls on her iPhone on the rare occasion she was allowed her phone.
4. She thought her family were possibly ‘trying to kill’ her
After being sent to a mental health facility in 2019 and being put on the drug lithium to help “manage” her wellbeing, Britney believed maybe her family were trying to kill her.
As a result, she went along with all the therapy sessions and doctors appointments.
She writes: “I played the game. If I’m nice to them, they won’t ever try to kill me again.”
This was just a part of the conservatorship which Britney says was like a “cult” that “stripped me of my womanhood”.
She has often been questioned why she didn’t push back harder against the conservatorship.
In response, she explains: “If you you’re asking why I went along with it, there’s one very good reason. I did it for my kids. Because I played by the rules, I was reunited with my boys.”
5. She’s got some axes to grind
No one close to the star comes out of this book looking particularly good.
She criticises former-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, who “cheated” on her during their relationship.
It was leaked last week that Britney had an abortion after she and Justin fell pregnant when they were still young.
Britney claims that after they broke up, Justin manipulated the narrative and released music that described her as “a harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy.”
Britney’s younger sister Jamie Lynn is also in the firing line.
The star writes: “As I was fighting the conservatorship and receiving lots of press attention, she was writing a book capitalising on it.
“She rushed out salacious stories about me, many of them hurtful and outrageous. I was really let down.”
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the bombshells in the book, it’s just some that stuck out as soon as I turned the last page.
I’m sure plenty more will dominate conversation as soon as the dust settles.
Britney Spears – The Woman in Me is out on Tuesday, October 24.
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