Britney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is a Grammy-winning American pop singer, dancer, occasional actress, and author. Spears is best known for her studio albums, music videos, and pop songs such as "...Baby One More Time" and "Toxic."
Spears first came to fame as a member of the New Mickey Mouse Club in the early 1990s, taking a five-year break from entertainment after the show wrapped. She subsequently emerged at the
forefront of the pop music scene in late 1998, thanks to her chart-topping debut album, crafted by producer-songwriter Max Martin. Her second album, released the following year, was a similarly huge hit.
In the early 2000s, Spears' success as a singer led her way to high-profile advertising deals, notably for Pepsi, as well as forays into other forms of media, including film and reality television. Her third and fourth albums released during this era included more artistic input from Spears, but yielded
lower sales, although they still reached #1 in the Billboard 200 and went Top 5 in many other countries. In 2004, she married dancer-rapper Kevin Federline and the following year she gave birth to their son Sean Preston Federline. Spears is currently expecting
her second child.
Childhood and discovery
Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised a 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' maternal grandfather, Barnett O'Field Bridges (1919–1978), in England during WWII, and subsequently moved with him to the United States. Her paternal grandparents were June Austin Spears
(born 1930) and Emma Jean Forbes (1934–1966); Spears claims to have some Native American heritage.
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 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 the "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. She performed several backflips for the New Mickey Mouse Club, which she would later repeat for the "...Baby One More Time" video. 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 *NSYNC), Keri Russell (star of the TV show Felicity), fellow pop singer Christina Aguilera, and actor Ryan Gosling. A few years later, Spears recorded a demo, which landed in the hands of a Jive Records executive. 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
Spears' debut single, "...Baby One More Time," started appearing on radio stations and MTV in 1998. Led by a music video that featured the 5 ft 4 in brown-eyed bottle blonde in a racy schoolgirl outfit, the single became an international success, earning Platinum sales and going to number one in the U.S., as well as in countries such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, it became the biggest selling song of 1999, and the 24th biggest selling song
of all time. Her debut album of the same name, ...Baby One More Time, topped the LP charts in the U.S. and Canada for six non-consecutive weeks. Within a year of its release, it had become
the best-selling LP by a teenager in history. This success spawned another U.S. top ten hit "(You Drive Me) Crazy" which helped the album ship over ten million copies in the U.S. in 1999 alone, and over one million
in the United Kingdom; it would go on to ship another four million copies in the following years. ...Baby One More Time
has sold an outstanding 25 million copies worldwide.
Spears was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in April 1999. The sexually suggestive Lolita-themed photo shoot triggered widespread speculation (denied by her representatives) that the still-seventeen-year-old
had gotten 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, a claim backed-up by the amount of award nominations
she received that season. 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.
Following the short-lived Crazy 2K Tour, the lead single from Spears' second album, "Oops!... I Did It Again," was released. It 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, including Australia and the UK. Released
in May 2000, the album Oops!... I Did It Again also debuted at number one in the U.S. and Canada. It sold over 1.3 million units during its first week in the U.S.,
making it the fastest-selling album by a female artist. Within a year of release, it had shipped over nine million copies
in the U.S. alone, and over 900,000 copies in the United Kingdom. It would go on to ship another million on top of that, and
yielded two more top thirty hits: "Lucky" and "Stronger." Oops! I did it Again sold has sold a whopping 20 million copies.
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. 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, one of her two nominations was for Oops!... I Did It Again in the category of
Best Pop Vocal Album, but again she did not win.
2001–2003: Career development
In early 2001, Spears struck a $7–8 million USD promotional deal with the soft drink giant Pepsi and released her second book, the novel, A Mother's Gift, also co-written with her mother. She performed at the MTV Video Music Awards the following September, 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 over 745,000 units during its first week in the
U.S. This made her 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., and almost four and a half to-date, it was a decline from the
sales of her first two albums, and "I'm a Slave 4 U" was the album's only hit single 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. Spears set off on her next world tour, the Dream Within a Dream Tour, shortly after its release. The Britney album has sold a total of 12 million copies worldwide.
In 2001, Fort Worth, Texas KEGL-FM DJs Kramer and Twitch on created a panic for her fans when they falsely reported that she and her then-boyfriend,
'NSYNC's Justin Timberlake, were in a car accident involving a pretzel truck and that she had died in the crash. In reality,
they were both alive and well and had not been in any car wreck.  Later, In October 2001, a website spoofing CNN stated again that she had been killed yet again in a car crash. 
In February 2002, Spears starred in a film, Crossroads, which reached number two on the box-office charts in its first weekend, but quickly dropped out of the top ten. 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, tied with Madonna. The film also won, among other nominations, the Worst Original Song Razzie for Spears' "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman."
Spears' four-year relationship with Justin Timberlake ended in March 2002. The break-up was publicized, with rumors circulating that Spears had been unfaithful.
Timberlake himself left the impressionCry Me a River). 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 that she had cheated on him (fueled by his song virgin, Timberlake insisted they had sex during their relationship. Spears later acknowledged this to be true. 
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. Soon after these failures, Spears took a break from
the spotlight, and in 2003 many music industry critics speculated her career was in decline. That same year, Forbes named Spears the most powerful celebrity in the world. She was also nominated for two Grammys yet again, including Best
Pop Vocal Album for Britney.
Spears returned to the forefront of the pop music scene in August 2003. That month, she appeared 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 (see Madonna at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards). Spears' kiss with Madonna attracted publicity that lasted several months.
In the Zone (2003) is generally considered Spears' most overtly sexual album to date.
November 2003 saw the release of Spears' fourth album, In the Zone. Jettisoning the Max Martin-produced synthpop of her earlier releases, the album took in lesser-known producers such as RedZone and big names including Moby and R. Kelly. Spears co-wrote nine of the album's thirteen songs and co-produced some of her material for the first
time. In the Zone went to the top of the U.S. charts in its debut week, selling over 609,000 copies. This made Spears
the only female in music history to have her first four albums debut at number one. The record has sold 3 million copies in
the United States. It also spawned the international number one and U.S. top ten hit, "Toxic," which won Spears her first Grammy in the category of Best Dance Recording. It was the 5th biggest selling song of 2004 world-wide, and the 8th biggest-selling song of 2004 in
the United Kingdom. "In the Zone" has sold a total of 8 million copies worldwide.
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. 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. Spears later said about the spur-of-the-moment marriage, "Honestly,
I really wanted to see what it was like to be married."
As the album's third single "Everytime" began to receive airplay, Spears embarked on her fourth world tour, The Onyx Hotel Tour. The tour grossed over $34 million USD and was seen by over 600,000 fans in North America and Europe, but the remaining dates were cancelled in June, after Spears reportedly injured her knee during the filming of the video for the single "Outrageous."
That same month, Spears announced her engagement to dancer Kevin Federline. Their whirlwind romance sparked criticism due to the fact that Federline had very recently been in a
relationship with actress Shar Jackson, who was still pregnant with their second child. On the night of September 18, 2004, Spears married Federline before twenty-seven guests in a surprise, non-denominational ceremony at a
residence in Studio City, California. The legitimacy of the marriage was initially questioned, but on November 18, 2004, a representative of the Los Angeles County registrar's office confirmed Spears and Federline had successfuly
filed their marriage license with the county within ten days of their ceremony, and were therefore legally married.
2004–2006: Career hiatus and family
During the latter half of 2004, Spears announced she would be taking another career break in order
to start a family. Immediately after her marriage to Federline, she had told People, "I want to be a young mom. Next year, at 23, I'm so there." Although she made few public appearances, the 'Britney Spears
industry' continued to run itself. In September 2004, Spears released her first fragrance, "Curious," a floral scent featuring Louisiana magnolia and golden Anjou pear, for which she earned a reported $12 million. The fragrance from Elizabeth Arden had the biggest sales debut in history, breaking the record for first-week gross for a perfume. After
one year of sales, the product netted more than $100 million. "Curious" was the top-selling fragrance of 2004 in department
stores, and in 2005 it was honored by the Fragrance Foundation as Best Women's Fragrance. Following the success of "Curious,"
in September 2005 Spears released her next Elizabeth Arden fragrance, "Fantasy," a fruity scent featuring red lychee, golden quince and cupcake accord. "Fantasy" too became a top-selling perfume during the holiday season of 2005
Spears' first hits collection, Greatest Hits: My Prerogative, was released in late 2004. The album debuted at number four on the U.S. charts (the lower sales perhaps due to a lack
of promotion), selling over 255,000 copies in its first week of release. It sold over 120,000 copies on its first week in
the UK; the highest first week sales for a solo female's greatest hits collection ever, surpassing even Madonna and Whitney
Houston. In addition to her biggest hits, it featured three new songs, including "My Prerogative" and "Do Somethin'." Since hitting shelves, the album has sold well over a million copies in the States. The album has sold
a total of 6 million copies worldwide. During the spring of 2005, Spears' reality show with husband Kevin Federline, Britney and Kevin: Chaotic, premiered on UPN in the U.S. The five-episode series credited Spears and Federline as executive producers. Chaotic was panned by most critics, and ratings were not as high as expected.
Spears announced her pregnancy via her official website in April 2005. That month she was rushed to a hospital in Destin, Florida, where she spent 48 hours under a doctor's surveillance. Spears later told People, "There was just a little bit of bleeding, but we went there, and everything
was fine." Despite her eagerness to have a baby, she admitted to ELLE magazine that, "I have a feeling I'm going to have an operation. I don't know why. But I hope so. I don't want to go
through the pain." On September 14, 2005, 6 lb. 11oz. baby boy Sean Preston Federline was born in the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, by caesarean section. The surgery had originally been scheduled for the next day, but after she started experiencing early
contractions, it was moved up. Federline was in the operating room and held Spears' hand during the surgery. Afterwards,
Spears was moved to a VIP suite in the maternity ward where, "The baby never once left her side." Two days later, Spears and
her son were released from the hospital.
Since the birth of her first child, Spears' career has had a few small additions. In late 2005, Jive released a remix album entitled B in the Mix: The Remixes. It lacked promotion of any kind in the U.S. and debuted outside the top one hundred, with less than 15,000 copies sold
in its first week of release. To date, however, it has sold well over a million copies worldwide. Spears made a guest appearance
on Will & Grace in February 2006 and also released a limited edition perfume in April 2006 called "In Control," which was a spin-off
of "Curious" with "added touches of crème brûlée and midnight orchid."
In May 2006 she announced her second pregnancy with a surprise appearance on the The Late Show with David Letterman.. She is also working on her fifth studio album, which has been confirmed by producer Jonathan Rotem in an interview with MTV. Dionne Warwick has confirmed on her official site that Spears will be featured on one of her new songs  on her upcoming album.
The birth of Spears' son was the inspiration behind a statue by Daniel Edwards, Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston, which was unveiled in March 2006. The statue features an idealised Spears giving birth in a provocative pose while hunched on all fours
and clutching a bearskin rug. Controversy was further stoked by it being partly supported by the Manhattan Right to Life Committee.
 The statue has no way been recognised by Spears and is therefore unofficial. It has also sparked controversy as Spears
gave birth by caesarean section, unlike the natural birth depicted in the statue.
Photos published on February 7, 2006, showed Spears driving her SUV on the Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles with her infant son, Sean, perched on her lap rather than strapped into a car seat in the back. The photos show Spears holding the wheel of the car with one hand, and her 4-month-old baby
with the other. In a statement to People, Spears said she did it because of a "horrifying, frightful encounter with the paparazzi" and that "I was terrified that
this time the physically aggressive paparazzi would put both me and my baby in danger. I instinctively took measures to get
my baby and me out of harm’s way, but the paparazzi continued to stalk us. I love my child and would do anything to
protect him." She later told Access Hollywood, "It's kind of like I made a mistake and so it is what is, I guess." No charges were pressed. Later that month, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, speaking at an event at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to mark the start of Child Passenger Safety Week said, "Recent photos of Britney Spears driving with
her infant son on her lap are troubling...and while Ms. Spears has acknowledged her mistake, her actions still send the wrong
message to millions of her fans."
On April 1, 2006, Spears' 7-month-old son fell and bruised his head after slipping from his nanny's arms as she was lifting him from his high chair and "something snapped in the chair." After an initial examination, he was thought to be fine but six
days later Spears and her husband took him to the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center for a second checkup. He got the all clear
once again. This is the third incident so far. Following this visit, child welfare officials, as well as a sheriff's deputy,
visited the Spears home. "While there was an automatic report by the hospital to the Department of Children and Family Services,
DCFS immediately responded and determined there was no problem and no reason to open a formal investigation," Spears's attorney
Marty Singer told People. "They determined that the parents were not involved in any injury and that nothing improper was done within the home."
On May 14, 2006, Spears was photographed driving in Malibu in her new convertible Mini with her 8-month-old son, Sean, strapped into a forward-facing car seat. It is strongly recommended by
the American Academy of Pediatrics that infants stay in rear-facing car seats until they are a year old or weigh at least 20 lb. "The seat
is facing the wrong way. We like it when the child's head is facing back," said California Highway Patrol spokesman Tom Marshall. "It's far safer if the seat is facing backwards to avoid head-on injuries and
whiplash in case of a collision." Since CHP officers did not actually witness Spears driving with Sean facing the wrong way,
they would not consider citing her. Spears' rep released a statement saying, "There is no law in California requiring rear-facing
car seats. In fact, there are only ten states that require a child to be in a rear-facing car seat, and in two of those states
it is not required if the infant is more than 20 lb. Britney's son Sean weighs over 20 lb."
On May 18, 2006, Spears was photographed leaving the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Manhattan with a glass of water in one hand and her 8-month-old son in the other. As Spears walked through the
people and paparazzi-crowded street, towards her car, she stumbled and nearly dropped her baby. Sean's head jerked backwards
and his hat flew off. Spears managed to regain her balance and prevent the fall with the aid of her bodyguard, who was close by. After retreating to the F.A.O. Schwarz Café, Spears started crying
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