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The Life and Career of Britney Spears

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born on December 2nd, 1981 and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, Britney Spears was barely a teenager when she first appeared on television singing and dancing. With several number-one pop albums under her belt, the entertainer has definitely had her ups and downs throughout her career. Despite her personal troubles and the ever-present media in her life, Spears continues to fascinate and pump out the hits. In this video, takes a look at the life and career of American pop princess, Britney Spears.

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Musical Beginnings

Britney Jean Spears was born on December 2nd, 1981 and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana. She began singing early, but her big break came in the early 1990s when she competed on the television show, “Star Search,” and was then cast on the variety show, “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club.”

Number-One Debut

After that show’s cancellation, she recorded a professional demo that eventually caught the attention of executives at Jive Records. Her first album, …Baby One More Time, was released in 1999. The pop record topped the charts worldwide, and debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. Its lead single, “…Baby, One More Time” quickly turned her into a pop phenomenon.

Number-One Sophomore Effort

After embarking on her first headlining tour, Spears’ sophomore record, Oops!…I Did It Again, came out in 2000. It hit the top of the Billboard 200 chart in its first week of release and followed a pop vein similar to her first album. The effort spawned hit singles such as “Stronger” and the title track.

MTV Awards and Justin Timberlake

While touring for the album, Spears made a provocative performance at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards. It was around this time that the starlet also confirmed she was dating Justin Timberlake of the boy band ‘N Sync.

Number One Again and First Movie

Album number three dropped in 2001 and was simply called Britney. It gave Spears her third number one record, and had more hip hop and sexually-influenced lyrics. This was especially notable in the international hit, “I’m a Slave 4 U.” Another single from that album, “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” was also featured in 2002 film, “Crossroads,” in which Spears had her first starring role.

A Star

Following that album was one of the highest grossing tours of 2002, making Spears one of the most powerful and sought-after celebrities on the planet. That year also marked the end of her high-profile relationship with Timberlake.

Madonna and Album Number Four

In 2003, Spears made another highly publicized performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, this time sharing a kiss with Madonna. Her fourth album, In the Zone, was released a few months later. Debuting again at number one, the dance pop record yielded the duet with Madonna, “Me Against the Music” and the Grammy-winning, “Toxic.”


The next few years were filled with ups and downs for the pop star, who was constantly being hounded by the media. Spears married twice in 2004. The first marriage was annulled in less than three days. Her second was to dancer Kevin Federline, and the pair’s courtship was recorded and became the reality show, “Britney & Kevin: Chaotic.”

"My Prerogative"

2004 also saw the release of the compilation, Greatest Hits: My Prerogative, with her cover of Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” becoming a global hit. In 2006, though she had two children with him, Spears filed for divorce from Federline due to irreconcilable differences.

Bizarre Behavior

In early 2007, Spears’ behavior began to take a bizarre turn. She also endured several stints in rehab, and lost custody of her children.


Her attempted comeback album was 2007’s Blackout. The urban-influenced record featured lyrics about love and dealing with the media. Hitting the second position on the Billboard 200, it generated the worldwide hits, “Gimme More” and “Piece of Me.”


In early 2008, Spears was briefly hospitalized after refusing to give up custody of her sons to Federline’s representatives. Her father and attorney subsequently gained temporary control of her estate following this incident. After her release, she guest-starred on the television show, “How I Met Your Mother.”


Her sixth album, Circus, came out at the end of that year, and became her fifth number-one debut. With its electro-pop and urban sound, Circus had several successful singles, such as the title track and “Womanizer.”

"Femme Fatale"

In 2009, Spears had another number one single with “3,” taken from the compilation, The Singles Collection. The next year, she made a cameo on “Glee,” which gave the television show its highest ratings yet. 2011 saw the release of her seventh album, Femme Fatale, and its lead single, “Hold it Against Me,” which debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Pop Princess

Thanks to her best-selling albums and an image that mixes innocence with sexiness, Britney Spears is a pop culture icon.

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