Take a deep breath Britney Spears’ fans: her memoir, The Woman In Me, finally has a publication date. You only have to wait until 24 October to get your hands on a copy.
She’s one of the biggest pop stars of the 21st century, scaling the heights of fame with mammoth hits such as “Toxic” and “Womanizer”. She’s conquered acting roles, raked in the Grammy nominations, and ultimately shaped what it means to be a modern celebrity.
But the almost quarter of a century she’s been in the entertainment business has been rocky, to say the least.
In 2021, she was finally freed from her controversial, 13-year conservatorship, which had seen her father, Jamie Spears, take control of her finances, personal life and career. She’s had a tumultuous relationship with her family since, including her teenage sons Jayden and Sean.
Her nine studio albums, although cherished by fans, have left many with questions about Britney’s creative control. Her team have cancelled tours in strange circumstances, while music videos have been scrapped.
Now, for the first time in her career, the star will finally have her say. It’s time to see who the real Britney, b**ch is. These are just some of the questions fans want answered in her book.
What really happened with Britney Jean?
Although fans see her discography as golden, there is unanimously one outlier: 2013’s uninspired, commercial flop, Britney Jean. While the lead single, “Work B**ch” remains a fan-favourite and permanent feature on gay gym playlists worldwide, the album as a whole was poorly received.
Besides the music itself, fans had one big concern: who was actually singing on it? There are a long, complex web of fan theories and semi-revelations, but to put it simply: fans have always suspected that much of the lead vocals on the album were actually recorded by long-time Britney backing singer, Myah Marie.
Some songs, including “Work B**ch” as well as “Body Ache” and “Til It’s Gone” are rumoured to be almost entirely sung by Marie.
While Marie has never publically confirmed it, and Britney’s team denied it at the time, others involved in Spears’ work have hinted that the album was not Britney at all.
In 2021, the album’s assistant executive producer Anthony Preston alleged that Britney told him her team would try to sabotage his work, while in 2022, he suggested that she told him she “used to have control of her career”.
Also in 2021, a former assistant of Miley Cyrus – who was on the same management team as Britney, and worked with the star in 2013 – alleged that a member of Spears’ management team confirmed that Britney’s voice was not used on her songs.
The Britney Jean era remains one of the largest mysteries of the singer’s career, and fans are hoping she will clear the situation up.
What happened with the cancellation of her second Vegas residency?
Following the success of her first Las Vegas residency Piece of Me, which ran from 2013 to 2017, a second residency entitled Domination was announced in 2018.
In early 2019, however, Britney revealed that the residency would be cancelled, because of her father, and his “life-threatening health issues”. However, during the 2021 battle to free herself from his conservatorship, she admitted that she’d asked for the cancellation, due to feeling overworked.
Her father obliged, but according to the singer, she feared “punishment” for making the request. She alleged that she was then forced to undergo four-hour-long psychiatric evaluations, made to take the mood-stabiliser drug lithium, and eventually placed in a rehab facility against her will.
Now, fans want to see Britney expand on what really went down: who decided to blame the cancellation on her dad’s health? Who decided she should tour again, despite clearly not wanting to? What else happened in the following months?
Did Original Doll ever really exist?
One of the earliest entries into the book of Britneylore was her potentially real, potentially mythical, fifth studio album, Original Doll.
While fans know that her actual fifth studio album is Blackout, released in 2007, she had supposedly created another between 2004’s In The Zone and Blackout, set for release in 2005.
Britney herself kicked the rumour mill into action in 2004 by turning up unannounced at the Los Angeles’ Kiss-FM radio station studio, asking to play a new, unreleased song entitled “Mona Lisa.”
“Well, thanks for hanging tonight. Good luck with your album. It’s untitled,” radio host Jesse Lozano said when she came on air.
“It’s probably going to be called Original Doll… it’s halfway done right now,” she responded.
While “Mona Lisa” eventually went on to be released on the Britney & Kevin: Chaotic EP as part of her reality TV series of the same name, fans have long speculated that it was destined for Original Doll, but the album was scrapped.
Her former, long-time manager Larry Rudolph previously slated the rumour as a “bulls**t story with zero factual basis,” and her label at the time, Jive Records, also rubbished the claims.
Even some fans doubt there’s any truth in it. “Mona Lisa” is one of just two potential songs that were destined for the rumoured album, while some believe she made the impromptu announcement in a bid to spite her management.
How does she feel about the Femme Fatale era?
Britney’s seventh studio album, Femme Fatale, was deemed a success by fans: “Hold It Against Me” and “Till The World Ends” were two of her top pop smashes to date, the music videos were fierce, and she was back on the road touring.
Yet something was amiss, so much so that some fans dub the 2010-2012 time of Britney’s career “the Robotney era“.
Interviews seemed staged and awkward, and, sometimes, she appeared on the brink of tears. Her live performances were stiff, with low energy, and some fans still find them unbearable to watch back.
One clip from the Femme Fatale era, in which Britney announced she’d be performing live on Good Morning America, frequently goes viral because of how spaced-out she seems, and how different her voice sounds.
Some fans believe that her dissociation at the time was due to her conservatorship being extended in 2010, and this era was the first time she realised that it would “kill her dreams” of having control of her career.
So, while the music was fun, Femme Fatale was evidently a difficult time in Britney’s life.
Why did the visuals for the Glory era change so dramatically?
Britney’s 2016’s album, Glory, was a surprising return to form. Following on from the dismal Britney Jean and with the singer still locked into her conservatorship, fans expected the worst.
But, against all odds, the record produced some of the freshest, most experimental pop songs of her career.
The stage was set: Glory would be Britney Spears’ pop superstar comeback. The lead single, “Make Me…” was set to have a video directed by Dave LaChapelle, who recorded the video for her 2003 smash hit “Everytime” – often lauded as one of the best of her career.
Leaked stills from the video appeared to show Britney in a bathing suit, surrounded by shirtless backing dancers. It promised to be one of her more risqué videos, sending fans into a spiral of anticipation.
However, the video was reshot at the last minute with a different director, and the final result seemed very far removed from the original concept. Similarly, fans believe an album cover shot for Glory was scrapped, and replaced with a borderline blurry close-up of her face.
In 2020, the album was re-released with a “new” cover.
When the original “Make Me…” video appeared to leak online in full, director LaChapelle claimed it was not his version. He added that Britney had, allegedly, asked for the video to depict her in a cage, in what he now feels was a “cry for help”.
There’s a lot to unpick, and perhaps The Woman In Me will get to the bottom of it.
What’s the backstory behind her VMA performance?
In September 2007, just six months after Britney had checked into rehab following her public mental-health crisis, she was back on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Performing her new single “Gimme More”, Britney appeared to lip-sync poorly, and move around listlessly. The performance was panned by critics and viewers, and became instantly notorious as one of the most unsettling routines to ever grace the VMA stage.
What remains largely unknown, though, is why the performance was so poor. Besides the obvious – no one should be forced back on stage within months of a traumatic, public crisis – several rumours have persisted on the internet in the years since.
Some say she’d missed rehearsals, although apparent rehearsal footage has since leaked online. Others say she had heard Sarah Silverman rehearsing cruel jokes about her career and children, which the comedian later used live on air.
Silverman’s team denied anyone had heard the jokes in advance.
Other believe Britney had become upset after seeing herself on camera during rehearsals. All this, however, is pure internet speculation – only Britney knows how she felt that night. Will she finally tell us?
What really transpired during her most famous relationships?
While Britney appears to be a happily married woman now, to model Sam Asghari, her other relationships have not been so sweet.
Her break-up with Justin Timberlake in 2002 is arguably one of the most high-profile celebrity separations of our generation, but neither party has ever clarified exactly why they split up.
Rumours swirled at the time that Britney had cheated on the former *NSYNC star, with the latter implying so in his 2002 music video for single “Cry Me A River”.
In 2021, Timberland offered a public apology to Britney for “contributing to the problem” of misogyny in the entertainment industry.
Meanwhile, when it was revealed earlier this year that Britney had finished writing her memoir, some publications reported that Timberlake was “desperate” to get a hand on an advance copy.
Then, there’s Kevin Federline, her former backing dancer turned husband and father of her two children. Their relationship history is long and winding, with ups and many, many downs.
Despite divorcing 17 years ago, Federline appears to still entangled in Britney’s life, but there have been few opportunities for her to have a say on how their marriage ended – until now.
Little wonder fans can’t wait to read The Woman In Me.