Five things we learnt from extracts of Britney Spears’ new memoir

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Extracts from Britney Spears’ highly anticipated memoir, The Woman in Me, were released on Wednesday, offering a glimpse into the pop star’s account of her conservatorship arrangement and relationship with ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake.

Published by People ahead of the book’s release next week, the extracts cover some of the most controversial and highly publicised moments from the 41-year-old’s upbringing and music career. Here are five things we’ve learnt.

Britney Spears has released extracts of her upcoming memoir. Here are the five things we’ve learnt.Credit: Invision

The conservatorship made her feel like a ‘child-robot’

One of the most publicised aspects of Spears’ life is her 13-year conservatorship arrangement, which was managed by her father, Jamie Spears. During this time, he reportedly had full control over his daughter’s financial and medical affairs, leading to a global #FreeBritney movement on social media.

Writing in her memoir, Spears said the experience stripped her of agency, making her feel like a “child-robot”.

“I became a robot. But not just a robot – a sort of child-robot. I had been so infantilised that I was losing pieces of what made me feel like myself … The woman in me was pushed down for a long time. They wanted me to be wild on-stage, the way they told me to be, and to be a robot the rest of the time.”

Spears was released from the conservatorship in 2021 after a series of court hearings.

Spears’ father has not commented on Spears’ account in her memoir; however, he defended the conservatorship to Britain’s Daily Mail last year, arguing that the arrangement had potentially saved her life.

Britney Spears’ The Woman in Me memoir cover.

She underwent a pregnancy termination while dating Justin Timberlake

Between 1999 and 2002, Spears and Timberlake – a member of the boy band NSYNC at the time – were one of the most high-profile celebrity couples. They were both in their late teens when the relationship began – Spears was 17 and Timberlake was 18.

In her memoir, Spears says she became pregnant while they were dating and ultimately decided to have an abortion, describing it as one of the most “agonising” things she had experienced in her life.

Timberlake, who has two children with actress Jessica Biel, has not commented on Spears’ account.

She shaved her head to ‘push back’ at critics

By 2007, Spears had become a constant target for tabloids and paparazzi. While going through a difficult divorce, she decided to have her head shaved, resulting in arguably the most infamous pap shots of the musician to date.

Many, including tabloids, assumed Spears was having an emotional meltdown, but Spears wrote in her memoir that it was, in fact, a reaction to the intense public scrutiny she had been under since she was a teenager.

Britney Spears recalls performing with a snake at the 2001 VMAs in her new memoir.Credit: AP

“I’d been looked up and down, had people telling me what they thought of my body, since I was a teenager,” she wrote. “Shaving my head and acting out were my ways of pushing back.”

Spears says she and her mother bonded over alcohol

Spears claimed that from as early as the eighth grade (when she would have been around 13 or 14 years old), she drank cocktails with her mother, Lynne.

“For fun … my mom and I would make the two-hour drive from Kentwood to Biloxi, Mississippi, and while we were there, we would drink daiquiris,” Spears wrote. “We called our cocktails ‘toddies’.”

“The way we drank was nothing like how my father did it. When he drank, he grew more depressed and shut down. We became happier, more alive and adventurous,” she wrote. Lynne Spears has not commented on these claims.

She accidentally went ‘method’ while acting in Crossroads

In 2002, Spears starred in the film Crossroads. “I think I started method acting — only I didn’t know how to break out of my character,” she wrote in her memoir.

“Some people do method acting, but they’re usually aware of the fact that they’re doing it. But I didn’t have any separation at all.”

Britney Spears (left) as Lucy, Anson Mount as Ben and Taryn Manning as Mimi in Crossroads.Credit: AP Photo/Richard Foreman

She said she began walking, talking and carrying herself differently while filming – something that ultimately aided her decision not to pursue acting further.

“I hope I never get close to that occupational hazard again. Living that way, being half yourself and half a fictional character, is messed up. After a while, you don’t know what’s real anymore.”

The Woman in Me will be released in Australia on 25 October.

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