The Transformation Of Britney Spears From Childhood To 39 Years Old

Britney Spears is no stranger to headlines. From breaking into the music world as America's sweetheart and opening the proverbial door to the Y2K era of pop culture, to dealing with swarms of paparazzi and a divorce that led to a public meltdown, to garnering the support of the world as the artist fights back against her conservatorship, the life of Britney Spears has been all but simple.

Born in a small town in Louisiana, the young southern girl began her plight for fame as a child on "Star Search" before auditioning for "The Mickey Mouse Club." Unfortunately for Spears, the audition would not pan out how she wanted as the child star was just too young to join the cast of Mouseketeers. Three years later, however, Spears auditioned "one more time," ultimately joining fellow future A-listers Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera as part of "The Mickey Mouse Club." 

After two seasons, Spears went on to sign her first deal with a major label, Jive Records, at the young age of 15, according to All Music. From there, within a few short years, the Louisiana hopeful would become one of pop's biggest stars. Here's how Spears transformed into the superstar we have all come to know.

Britney Spears went from America's Sweetheart to Pop Princess

In 1998, Britney Spears released her first single "...Baby One More Time," which immediately hit No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The hit song became the lead single off Spears' debut album of the same name, which was released the same year as fellow Mouseketeer Christina Aguilera's self-titled debut album. The album solidified Spears' place in the war of the female pop stars, a battle the "(You Drive Me) Crazy" star would often win with regard to critical acclaim and popularity.

In 2000, Britney Spears released "Oops!...I Did It Again," which hit the top 10. According to All Music, the corresponding album to the single sold "over a million copies in its first week of release" and broke the record for "single-week sales by a female artist." Since then, Spears has sold about 150 million albums total worldwide, according to Billboard.

With 35 Hot 100 songs, including five No.1 songs, Spears' musical career gave the artist the title of pop princess of the early 2000s. Yet, despite her musical highs, it was the lows of her personal life that were all anyone could talk about. Once the pop icon began dating equally famous pop boy bander Justin Timberlake, the couple became tabloid gold.

Britney Spears became a mother of two

Britney Spears' relationship with Justin Timberlake took the pop world by storm, as the two hot young celebs ran around Hollywood in matching denim outfits and embodied the puppy love teens were vying for. The relationship would last just three years, but the breakup would be the start of a change in Spears' public image.

Although never confirmed by the couple themselves, the video to Timberlake's hit single "Cry Me a River" alluded to the rumor that Spears cheated on the *NSYNC star, leading to the couple's public breakup. The claim tampered with Spears' image as the innocent American teen virgin, marking the start of the pop singer's transformation into a more adult persona. 

A few years after Spears split with Timberlake, the artist moved on to one of the "SexyBack" singer's backup dancers, Kevin Federline, and quickly fell deeply in love. "We just hit it off right away. I was madly in love with her," Federline revealed to People in 2008, claiming the couple met at a nightclub in 2004. That same year, the couple wed in a private ceremony. By 2006, Spears and Federline were welcoming their second son, but their marriage was already on the rocks. Two months after giving birth, Spears filed for divorce, which took a toll on the pop star's life. To deal with the divorce, the "Lucky" singer began partying with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, leading headlines to call the once pop princess a pure Hollywood party girl.

Britney Spears' divorce led to a public breakdown

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline officially divorced in 2007, the same year Spears' so-called "downfall" began. In February 2007, the infamous paparazzi shots of the blonde pop star shaving her head surfaced on the internet, leading the press and fans to believe Spears had lost control.

In her custody battle with Federline over the couple's two boys, Spears attempted to see her kids on multiple occasions to no avail, all while going in and out of rehab, according to E! News. One evening, Spears was followed by a photographer who refused to leave the pop star alone, leading the singer to attack his car with a green umbrella. That same year, Spears attempted to take back her image as a performer at the MTV Video Music Awards, but the unusual performance led to even more concerns about her mental health. The singer lost custody of her two sons shortly after the appearance. 

A source told E! News at the time that it was her failed marriage to Federline that sparked Spears' behavior. "All she wanted was to raise a family and find pleasure in the small things," said the insider. "We all knew it was probably never going to happen, but that was the place she went to in her head when she needed an escape from her celebrity existence." By 2008, Spears was put under a controversial conservatorship led by her father Jamie Spears.

Britney Spears' fans began the #FreeBritney movement

Britney Spears eventually got back on the stage with a Las Vegas Residency in 2013. The "Piece of Me" residency brought in a whopping $137.7 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Since 2008, Spears has also released four albums, "Circus," "Femme Fatale," "Britney Jean," and "Glory." Yet, behind the scenes, fans noticed Spears' was in need of support as the star's conservatorship turned ugly.

Super fans of Britney Spears began the #FreeBritney movement, as the singer gave clues to her fans she wanted out of her father's control. By early 2021, the movement gained worldwide support after the release of The New York Times' documentary "Framing Britney Spears." The doc looked back at Spears' musical career and how the tabloids contributed to the artist's "downfall," shedding light on why Spears was trying so hard to get out of her conservatorship. 

Ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake spoke out after the release of the doc, apologizing for not standing up for Spears in the years prior. "I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right," Timberlake wrote in an Instagram post. By summer 2021, details of Spears' conservatorship went public, as the pop star spoke to the judge about the horrors she went through at the hands of her family.

Britney Spears revealed horrendous details about her conservatorship

In June 2021, Britney Spears spoke in detail about her conservatorship to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge after spending more than a decade under the control of her father, Jamie. The pop star made an eye-opening public statement, revealing the horrendous actions taken to keep her working and remove her autonomy. "I feel ganged up on, I feel bullied and I feel left out and alone," the singer said (per Variety). "And I'm tired of feeling alone."

Of the shocking revelations to come from Spears' statement, the claim that the pop star was allegedly drugged to keep her working on stage at a time when the artist was asking to take a break from performing sent shockwaves throughout the media. Spears also claimed she was forced to have an IUD and was not allowed to see a doctor to have it removed so she could have more children. "All I want is to own my money and for this to end," Spears said, adding, "I deserve to have a life. I've worked my whole life. I deserve to have a two to three year break and just, you know, do what I want to do."

The statement sparked concern from fans and celebs, who voiced their support to free Spears from her conservatorship. Only time will tell what's in store for Spears' future, as she's at the mercy of the court right now.