Britney Spears: photo gallery, multimedia, biography, awardsBritney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is a Grammy Award-winning American pop singer, dancer, actress, author and songwriter. She is best known for her studio albums, music videos, and songs such as "...Baby One More Time", "Oops!...I Did It Again", "I'm a Slave 4 U", "Toxic" and "Everytime." Spears has sold over seventy-six million records worldwide according to TIME magazine. Having sold over 31 million albums in the U.S., Spears ranks as the eighth best-selling female artist in American music history. Spears first came to fame as a member of the Mickey Mouse Club in the early 1990s, after which she took a five-year break from entertainment. She subsequently emerged at the forefront of the pop music scene in early 1999, thanks to her debut album, ...Baby One More Time, which was crafted by Swedish producer-songwriter Max Martin. Her second album, Oops!...I Did It Again, was released the following year. In the early 2000s, Spears' success as a singer led her way to high-profile advertising deals, most notably for Pepsi, as well as forays into other forms of media, including film and reality television. Her third and fourth albums were released during this era and included more artistic input from Spears. In 2004, she married dancer and aspiring rap artist Kevin Federline and the following year she gave birth to their son, Sean Preston. Their second son, Jayden James, was born in 2006. Eight weeks after the birth of her second child, Spears filed for divorce from Federline, citing irreconcilable differences.
Childhood and discovery
Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised Southern Baptist in Kentwood, Louisiana. Her parents are James Parnell Spears, a building contractor, and Lynne Irene Bridges (born 1956), a former grade school teacher. Spears' brother, Bryan (born 1977), is one of her managers, and her sister, Jamie-Lynn (born 1991), is an actress and singer. Her maternal grandmother, Lillian Woolmoore (1924–1993), was an English war-bride, who met Spears's maternal grandfather, Barnett O'Field Bridges (1919–1978), in England during World War II, and subsequently moved with him to the US. Her paternal grandparents were June Austin Spears (born 1930) and Emma Jean Forbes (1934–1966). Spears was an accomplished gymnast, attending gymnastics classes until age nine and competing in state-level competitions. She performed in local dance revues and her local Baptist church choirs, and was auditioning for the Disney Channel's The New Mickey Mouse Club by the time she was eight. Although she was considered too young to join the series at the time, a producer on the show introduced her to a New York agent. Spears subsequently spent three summers at NYC's Professional Performing Arts School and also appeared in a number of off-Broadway productions, including 1991's Ruthless!. In 1992, she landed a spot on Star Search, and though she won the first round, she lost in the second (her opponent would later appear on a 2001 episode of the game show I've Got a Secret with his "secret" being the win against Spears). Spears then returned to the Disney Channel for a spot on the New Mickey Mouse Club and was accepted. She was featured in the 1993–1994 seasons from the ages of 11–13. Other performers on the show included Justin Timberlake, future boyfriend of Spears, and Joshua Chasez (both of whom later became members of the pop group 'N Sync), Keri Russell (star of the TV show Felicity), fellow pop singer Christina Aguilera, and actor Ryan Gosling. After the show ended, Spears and her five friends Amanda Latona, Veronica Finn, Mandy Ashford, Danay Ferrer, and her Mouseketeer co-star Nikki DeLoach) co-formed American pop group Innosense. Finally, once Spears was not part of the group, she decided to go solo. A few years later, Spears recorded a demo tape, which landed in the hands of Jive Records. She was signed to their label and began touring American venues for a series of concerts sponsored by American teen magazines, before joining *NSYNC and becoming their opening act.
1998–2000: Early commercial success
Towards the end of 1998, Spears' debut single "...Baby One More Time" began to appear on MTV. Accompanied by a music video that featured the pop princess in a Roman Catholic schoolgirl outfit, the song became an international success, earning double platinum sales and going to number one in the UK, as well as going number one in a large number of countries throughout the world. Her first solo single achieved 9 million sales worldwide. Released in early 1999, her debut album ...Baby One More Time topped the charts in several countries, including USA (where it is certified 14x Platinum). Spears was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in April 1999. The photo shoot triggered widespread speculation (denied by her representatives) that the still-seventeen-year-old had had breast implants. That summer, she kicked off her first headlining tour, the ...Baby One More Time Tour. By late 1999, Spears had become one of the year's biggest stars. In December, she took home four Billboard Music Awards including one for Female Artist of the Year, and the next month won for Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist at the American Music Awards. At the Grammy Awards, held in February 2000, Spears received two nominations, including one for Best New Artist. Though favored to win, she lost out to Christina Aguilera. The other was for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for ...Baby One More Time but she lost that to Sarah McLachlan. Following the short-lived Crazy 2K Tour, the lead single from Spears' second album, "Oops!... I Did It Again", was released. The song broke a record for most radio station adds in a single day and quickly became a U.S. top ten hit and number one single in other countries. Released in May 2000, the album Oops!... I Did It Again debuted at number one in the U.S., where it sold 1,319,193 units during its first week (breaking the record for biggest first-week sales of an album by a solo artist, male or female). Concerning both musical content and sales, the album was very similar to Spears' debut, although it fared better with critics. "Oops..." also had input from country queen Shania Twain, who penned the track Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know with husband Mutt Lange. Twain contributed her adult-40 brand of country-crossover infusion to the record. Spears kicked off her first world tour (titled the Oops!... I Did It Again World Tour) in the summer of 2000, and co-wrote the book Britney Spears' Heart-to-Heart with her mother, Lynne which was a bestseller. During a performance at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, she ripped off a black suit to reveal a provocative nude-colored and crystal-adorned outfit that generated controversy due to her young age. In late 2000, she won two Billboard Music Awards, and in early 2001, she was nominated for two American Music Awards. At the Grammys, her two nominations were for Oops!... I Did It Again in the categorys of Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance but again she did not win.
2001–2003: Career development
In early 2001, Spears struck a US$7–8 million promotional deal with the soft drink giant Pepsi. In September of the same year, she performed at the MTV Video Music Awards, and in addition to criticism for being scantily clad, she angered animal rights organization PETA for the use of animals, including an albino python, in her performance. In November, she released her third album Britney. It debuted at number one on both the U.S. and Canadian charts, selling 745,744 units during its first week in the U.S. The success of this album made Spears the only female artist in SoundScan history to have her first three albums debut at number one. Although four million copies of the record have been sold in the U.S, it was a decline from the sales of her first two albums, and the lead single "I'm a Slave 4 U" was the album's only hit in the U.S. Britney was the first album on which Spears assumed some creative control; she co-wrote five of the album's tracks. To help promote the album, Spears embarked on the Dream Within a Dream Tour during the same year. Spears was nominated for two Grammy Awards, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Overprotected and Best Pop Vocal Album for Britney which she lost both to Norah Jones. In February 2002, Spears had her first starring role in the film, Crossroads. The next month, Spears' four-year relationship with Justin Timberlake ended. The break-up was publicized, with rumors circulating that Spears had been unfaithful. Timberlake himself left the impression that she had cheated on him through his song "Cry Me a River", and its subsequent music video. In response to this, Spears later said, "I'm not technically saying he's wrong, but I'm not technically saying he's right, either." Afterward, despite Spears' claims that she had remained a virgin ― and wished to remain one until marriage ― Timberlake insisted they had sex during their relationship. Spears later acknowledged this to be true, saying, "It was two years into my relationship with Justin, and I thought he was the one. But I was wrong!" In June 2002, Spears branched out as a restaurateur with the opening of a New York City eatery, NYLA, which was named for its mix of New York and Louisiana cuisine. It was not a success and closed the following year but Spears apparently had very little to do with management. In 2002 Spears received at least some good news when Forbes named her the most powerful celebrity in the world. Spears returned to the spotlight in August 2003 when she performed at the MTV Video Music Awards with her idol Madonna, pop singer Christina Aguilera and rapper Missy Elliott. Spears and Aguilera performed Madonna's song "Like a Virgin", danced suggestively and each locked lips with Madonna. Spears' kiss with Madonna attracted publicity that lasted several months, while Aguilera's kiss with Madonna attracted less publicity.
2004–2006: Career hiatus, children and divorce
On January 3, 2004, Spears married her childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander at The Little White Wedding Chapel on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. Spears wore jeans and a baseball cap and the bellhop walked her down the aisle. An annulment was promptly arranged (at the behest of manager Larry Rudolph and her family) and was granted on January 5, ending their fifty-five hour marriage. The annulment request stated that Spears "lacked understanding of her actions to the extent that she was incapable of agreeing to marriage because before entering into the marriage the Plaintiff and Defendant did not know each other's likes and dislikes, each others' desires to have or not have children, and each other's desires as to State of residency". Spears later said, "Honestly, I really wanted to see what it was like to be married". In 2004, Spears embarked on her fourth world tour, The Onyx Hotel Tour. The tour grossed over US$38 million and was seen by over 650,000 fans in North America and Europe, but the remaining dates were cancelled in June, after Spears injured her knee during the filming of the video for the single "Outrageous". She was taken to an undisclosed hospital, where she received an MRI that showed floating cartilage in her knee. The following thirty-seven stops on the tour were canceled, costing Spears US$750,000 to US$1,000,000 a night in guaranteed fees from concert promoters.
In February 2002, Spears starred in a film, Crossroads, which reached number two on the box-office charts in its first weekend, but had a relatively short life in the coming weeks at movie theaters. The film ended up making a bit over $60 million worldwide more than four times its budget. Songs from the album Britney appeared in the film. The movie, along with Spears' performance in it, was poorly received by critics and she netted herself a Razzie Award for Worst Actress. The film won the Razzie for the Worst Original Song "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman". Spears has made cameo appearances on the films Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) as herself, and Longshot (2000) as a Flight Attendant. She also appeared on a Documentary titled Guest List Only which focused on the Los Angeles Club Scene. For the film Chicago, producer Harvey Weinstein wanted Spears for the role that eventually went to Lucy Liu. She was considered for the part of Allie Hamilton in The Notebook, but was beat out by Rachel McAdams. She auditioned for the role in I ♥ Huckabees that went to Naomi Watts. Spears initially expressed interest in the role of Daisy Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard but lost interest in playing the character following her marriage and plans for a family. The role went to fellow pop singer and reality television star Jessica Simpson. As for theatre, in her youth Spears had a role in the off-Broadway play, Ruthless!, in which Natalie Portman was an understudy. In 2005 she was offered the title role in the Broadway musical Sweet Charity. Producers of the musical began eyeing Spears for the role of the unlucky-in-love dancer Charity after Christina Applegate announced she would no longer be returning as the character. Spears seriously considered taking that part, but decided that she did not want to move her family to New York City to appear in the musical. She was asked to appear in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "I Was Made to Love You", but turned down the role due to scheduling conflicts. This is similar to what happened in her scheduled guesting for the show Dawson's Creek. In March 30, 2006, Spears was a guest-star on an episode of NBC's television show Will & Grace titled "Buy, Buy Baby". Britney played "Amber-Louis", a closeted Democrat lesbian posing as a conservative Christian and right-wing Republican who is to cohost with Jack McFarland on his talk show "JackTalk" after a large corporation takes over "OutTv", the show's network. This marked her debut on a scripted primetime television show playing someone other than herself. NBC received criticism from conservative Christian groups for the episode. In addition, she has appeared on Saturday Night Live twice as host and musical guest: once on May 13, 2000, then again on February 2, 2002. On October 18, 2003, she appeared as musical guest with Halle Berry as host. At 18, she was the youngest person in SNL History to host and be the musical guest at the same time. Spears is also the only female to host and perform in the same episode more than once. She was set to host a third time in December 18, 2004 but cancelled due to her knee injury.