Britney Spears: The Next Showbiz Casualty?
What's Going on with Britney Spears and How Can We Help Her?
Before I say anything here, I want to make one thing clear. All of the points mentioned in this article are all speculation based on what has been released on the internet by those closely involved with the life of Britney Spears, as well as statements made by Britney Spears herself. Any beliefs I make in this article are purely my personal opinion based on what is available to me. I don’t claim to know anything more than anyone else. I have no first-hand knowledge of Britney Spears personal life and cannot prove anything to be fact or speculation. So please, don’t take what I have to say in this article as an attack on those involved closely with this situation, or as a pass to attack those involved or try to intervene with any court proceedings involving Britney Spears; such as hacking into virtual court rooms or anything like that. This only adds to the problem when what we really need to do is focus on how we can be part of the solution. My only intention like with any of my articles I’ve written and will continue to write about the lives of celebrities is simply to start a conversation, not gossip, but a constructive conversation that might lead us to something good in the end. With that, on with the article.
Anyone who grew up in the late 1990s and early 2000s knows about the rise, fall, and resurgence of Britney Spears. The sudden rise to stardom she made at just the age of seventeen, her marriages, the birth of her children, and what has been also seen as her ultimate 2007 breakdown. A breakdown which led to the guardianship she was placed under with her father Jamie Spears making all of the major decisions with her career as well as her personal life. At the time this all took place, many thought this arrangement was the best thing for her at the time. However, more than a decade later, fans, and many who may not be avid fans but who have genuine concerns are wondering if this arrangement is even needed, or if it’s even becoming the new detriment to Britney Spears’s health and well being. Of course before we can go into any of those more recent concerns, we have to go back to where it all began for the young star. With this, we might be able to at least vaguely grasp some of the reasons that might have led to this point, and maybe how it can lead to some kind of solution where everyone can be happy or at least content.
Britney Spears released her first album Baby One More Time when she was just seventeen years old, and became an instant success. With her iconic video for the title song of her album with her school girl outfit dancing through the hallways of a school, something completely new to the industry came into our line of vision, and everyone everywhere seemed to want a piece of it. Britney Spears was everywhere anyone can see once that album hit the shelves and the songs played on the radio. She graced the covers of numerous magazines with no signs of disappearing. On top of this, around this time she also started her highly publicized relationship with NSYNC front man Justin Timberlake, and was known as America’s sweetheart, even with a hyper sexualized undertone being placed on her image. At this time, she was the perfect package. This however, wouldn’t last for long.
What the world would soon realize is Britney Spears was a human being, no different from anyone else. The only difference from her and anyone else is simply the lack of control she had over her own life. That from the time she was a little girl growing up in Louisiana, Britney was being shaped and groomed to become a star by her mother, who was in a toxic marriage with Britney’s father who was known at the time to be a raging alcoholic. Britney Spears becoming a star would have acted as their key to get out of this toxic situation. Britney Spears would appear on shows like Star Search, act as an understudy for the Broadway musical Ruthless, and appear on The Mickey Mouse Club alongside Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, and Justine Timberlake. All of these events would lead her to being signed with Jive Records, who then began packaging her as their ideal baby faced sex symbol, something that would set in motion the events the world would see throughout the following years.
After the release of her film debut Crossroads and the release of her third studio album “Britney”, a new persona slowly began to rise. With songs like I’m a Slave for You, Britney Spears’s image become much more grown up compared to the young sexy virgin she was being packaged to be. Of course behind the scenes, this image was proving to be just that, an image. In 2002, Britney Spears and Justine Timberlake broke up with the whole world watching; many wondering if Britney Spears was indeed still a virgin, something she had been pushing every time she was asked. Justin Timberlake would be the one to make the implication that they had slept together, making what should have been a private painful life experience, all the more painful because the entire world was watching. As a woman who has experienced breakups, I can’t even begin to imagine how painful that must have been for Britney Spears. To be in love with someone, to lose that person (whatever the circumstances may be) without a single moment to process this heart break privately. Instead, to be forced to be reminded of it all through TV appearances and magazine covers. Of course many will say “celebrities choose to live a life without privacy”, and while this is true, we are also part of the problem. The world savors the destruction of another person, even if it’s a person we admire. We buy the gossip magazines; we watch all of the gossip shows like Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood. We give them the money they seek, which influences these media outlets to find the photographers who will then stalk the celebrity in question until they get that photo or that video that the world will be talking about for years to come. To live a life like this, we as a society only make it more and more difficult for these stars like Britney, all of whom who were far too young to have a choice in the matter at all.
This leads to the events that soon followed, such as Britney Spears’s 55 hour marriage to a childhood friend in Las Vegas, a marriage which was quickly annulled. Soon after this event, she married former backup dancers Kevin Federline, and would have two sons with him; Sean and Jayden. In the time of her marriage and beginning of her motherhood, paparazzi were relentless in how they stalked her every single move, blocking her car on more than one occasion, leading to the photo of her with her older son on her lap as she drove along an LA highway, which would then lead to the scrutiny of her abilities as a mother. Then her breakup with her husband began, which then lead to her coming to a place where she walked into a hair salon, where she took a pair of clippers and shaved the hair from her own head. This would only be the beginning. She would make an appearance for the MTV Video Music Awards, an appearance that was publicized to be her comeback. What ended up happening was a performance where in my personal opinion she simply wasn’t prepared for, and it just wasn’t her best. The body shaming that happened from the media was disgusting. While it wasn’t her best, she was still beautiful. You have to remember, she had two babies not long before this, and she actually was in great shape. What sucks about all of this was that no one thought to write about what might have been going on with her, and what needed to be done to help her, rather than just crucifying her in the media. This entire thing, the treatment of her by the media was disgusting and anyone who took part in all of this should be ashamed to this very day. It is those people who contributed to this insanity.
People to this day still act surprised that she ended up in the hospital with the cameras following her in the ambulance. The only other celebrity who I can compared this insanity with is what happened with Michael Jackson, who was going through his own issues with his personal life. It wouldn’t be until 2010 that laws towards paparazzi would change for the better with laws prohibiting them from interfering with celebrities in their cars or other situations that could be deemed to be unsafe. One must wonder, if these laws had been in place much sooner, maybe even as far back as even the early nineties, would any of this had happened? It’s hard to say, in my personal opinion, she would have still struggled with the exhaustion of being overworked and controlled, but I don’t think it would have resulted in the circus we ended up getting, nor do I think it would have led to the conservator-ship she is now under.
Jamie Spears, Britney Spears’s father is now the one in ultimate control with a strict conservator-ship, that initially was meant to be temporary, which given what had been going on with Britney’s mental health at the time all made sense at the time. However, she’s now thirty-eight years old, with a flourishing career. One would think she’d be able to be in control of her own life at this point.
Let’s talk about what entails with the conservator-ship. An arrangement like this is usually placed for people who are deemed mentally unable to care for themselves, using for people who are elderly with issues like dementia or someone in a coma. It’s considered very rare for someone as young as Britney to be placed in this kind of arrangement. There are numerous rules that go into how Britney lives her life these days under this conservator-ship. She has no say into who is a part of her legal team but instead has to have one picked out and approved by her father. She is only allowed a fifteen hundred dollar weekly allowance. She isn’t allowed to get married nor have more children without her father’s permission. She’s not allowed to know anything about her business deal or even how much she earns. She isn’t allowed to vote. She isn’t allowed to get take out without permission or even deviant from the strict diet she is under. She isn’t allowed to make appearances without her father’s permission. She isn’t allowed to work with other artists or colleagues without these individuals being searched and questioned by those involved with her father’s legal team. On top of all of this, Jamie Spears collects a very generous salary, all while making up Britney’s busy work schedule with recording albums and touring around the world.
With all of this being said you have to wonder, who is it that really benefits from this conservator-ship? Sure for a time it might have helped Britney in the beginning. However, with more than a decade since this all began there’s a lot of growth might have happened for her. In my personal opinion, to keep someone this young under this much control is horrendous, and she needs to be given the chance to stand on her own feet. Sure, she could probably use a little more help than the average person, from a therapist or even a life coach. She doesn’t need this much control over her life anymore. Again, this is my personal opinion. Do I think she’s in harm’s way like many who’ve started the #FreeBritney movement? Not necessarily, but I don’t think her being forced to live like this against her will isn’t healthy either. Sure, she’s going along with everything she’s being told and doesn’t appear to be upset about it. Here’s the thing about that. She doesn’t know anything else. She’s now probably medicated, as she might very well need to be for her own health and well being, and that gives her this sense of balance that she didn’t feel she had back in 2007. What I worry about is not the external explosion we got the last time. I’m worried for an internal explosion, one no one will see coming.
Britney is a grown woman and the mother of two teenage boys. She’s had her come back and has done everything the people around her have told her to do. If a judge can see how people’s wallets except Britney’s are being filled by this arrangement, then maybe she can finally be free and live the life she deserves. That’s what I hope for her.