The Real Reason Jamie Lynn Spears Started Acting Again

Jamie Lynn Spears is known for playing Zoey Brooks on Nickelodeon's hit show Zoey 101 from 2005 to 2008 — the same year Spears was pregnant with her oldest daughter, Maddie. Despite Spears' bun in the oven, she made it clear that filming had already wrapped and the show wasn't canceled just because she was expecting her first child. "Truthfully, I did not get pregnant when I was still under contract with Zoey," she told People TV in 2016. "We had finished shooting, but the episodes hadn't aired yet."

Now, Spears is finally returning to television — 12 years after Zoey 101 went off the air. This time, the actress plays Noreen in Sweet Magnolias on Netflix, opposite Chris Klein and JoAnna Garcia Swisher.

Spears — who shares her second daughter Ivey with her husband, Jamie Watson — lives in Louisiana, but it sounds like she's ready to take Hollywood by storm once again. "I just want to get my foot in the door again, because I'm so passionate about exploring all that I can right now," she told The Hollywood Reporter in May 2020.

But why did Spears decide to get into acting again? Let's find out.

Jamie Lynn Spears was 'waiting for a project that made sense'

There's a simple answer as to why Jamie Lynn Spears hasn't appeared on television screens in the last decade: She was holding out for the right role. "I had been in denial, not really admitting to myself how much I missed acting," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "I was working on my music for a while, and then I focused on my family for a bit. With acting, I was just waiting for a project that made sense."

Additionally, Spears was able to relate to her character, Noreen, in Sweet Magnolias. She plays a nurse who has an affair with Dr. Bill Townsend (Chris Klein), and as a result, gets pregnant and has to deal with the town gossip. Hmm... sounds all too familiar. "It didn't even feel like acting," the Hollywood star revealed to THR. "Although it was nerve-wracking to get back in front of the camera, this felt very natural to me. I remember being 16 years old, being pregnant in a small town. And then on top of it, the whole world was watching. Don't get me wrong, I didn't view myself as a victim. And with Noreen, it was important to not play the victim either."

Spears noted Noreen "put herself in a compromising situation" on the show and is "trying to take some responsibility" for her actions, which Spears also did in real life when she was pregnant with her daughter Maddie.

Jamie Lynn Spears 'fell in love with the part' of Noreen on 'Sweet Magnolias'

Despite taking an acting hiatus, Jamie Lynn Spears "fell in love with the part" of Noreen on Netflix's Sweet Magnolias. "It's that simple. I didn't want to do something just to do it. I didn't want to come back and do something that I didn't connect to, because I knew that would read on camera, and then that might blow my chances of ever getting another job," she dished to The Hollywood Reporter.

Spears is hoping Sweet Magnolias gets green-lit for a second season, but in the meantime, she revealed she is "really open to anything" when it comes to other acting jobs. "I'd love to dive deep into more characters and see how far I can push myself as an actress," she continued. "From here on out, I am looking for more juicy roles."

Clearly, Spears is ready for her big comeback. "I'm reading everything I can," she added. "I just want to get my foot in the door again, because I'm so passionate about exploring all that I can right now." 

Jamie Lynn Spears would be 'down' to do 'anything' with older sister Britney Spears

Not only does Jamie Lynn Spears act, but she can also sing. (Remember the Zoey 101 theme song? Well, Spears sang it.) So, is Spears — who released her debut EP, The Journey, in 2014 and her single "Sleepover" in 2016 — open to putting out new tunes in the future? "Obviously, music is something that will always be part of me. I love writing music, whether it's for me or for other people," she spilled to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Going out on the road, it's time consuming. I have a young baby right now, so it's not really ideal for me," she continued. "It's something that I love to do, and hopefully, I'll get to share some new stuff very soon."

But the real question is: Will Spears — who sang alongside her big sister, Britney, on the 2013 track "Chillin' With You" — do a sibling duet again? "That was such a fun time, being able to record that together as sisters," she noted. "I don't know how or when we'd do a follow-up. But, in the future, I'm down for anything with Britney. In the meantime, though, I'm really focused on acting."

Either way, it's great to see the younger Spears back in the game.