Life and career — Her maternal grandmother, Lillian Portell, was English born in London , and one of Spears's maternal great-great-grandfathers was Maltese. Spears made her local stage debut at age five, singing " What Child Is This? During her childhood, she also attended gymnastics and voice lessons, and won many state-level competitions and children's talent shows. Carson was impressed with Spears's singing and suggested enrolling her at the Professional Performing Arts School ; shortly after, Lynne and her daughters moved to a sublet apartment in New York.
Spears was hired for her first professional role as the understudy for the lead role of Tina Denmark in the Off-Broadway musical Ruthless! She also appeared as a contestant on the popular television show Star Search and was cast in a number of commercials.
After the show was canceled in , she returned to Mississippi and enrolled at McComb's Parklane Academy. Although she made friends with most of her classmates, she compared the school to "the opening scene in Clueless with all the cliques. I was the point guard on the basketball team. I had my boyfriend, and I went to homecoming and Christmas formal. But I wanted more. Lynne asked family friend and entertainment lawyer Larry Rudolph for his opinion and submitted a tape of Spears singing over a Whitney Houston karaoke song along with some pictures.
Rudolph decided he wanted to pitch her to record labels, therefore she needed a professional demo. He sent Spears an unused song of Toni Braxton ; she rehearsed for a week and recorded her vocals in a studio with a sound engineer. Spears traveled to New York with the demo and met with executives from four labels, returning to Kentwood the same day. Three of the labels rejected her, arguing that audiences wanted pop bands such as the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls , and "there wasn't going to be another Madonna , another Debbie Gibson , or another Tiffany.
For any artist, the motivation—the 'eye of the tiger'—is extremely important. And Britney had that. Spears had originally envisioned " Sheryl Crow music, but younger; more adult contemporary" but felt secure with her label's appointment of producers, since "It made more sense to go pop, because I can dance to it—it's more me.
Baby One More Time and Oops! I Did It Again After Spears returned to the United States, she embarked on a shopping mall promotional tour to promote her upcoming debut album.
Her show was a four-song set and she was accompanied by two back up dancers. Baby One More Time , was released on January 12, Billboard and was certified two-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America after a month. Worldwide, the album topped the charts in fifteen countries and sold over 10 million copies in a year. Originally, Jive Records wanted its music video to be animated; however, Spears rejected it, and suggested the final idea of a Catholic schoolgirl.
It has sold more than 10 million copies, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. It became a top-ten hit worldwide and further propelled the success of the Baby One More Time album. The album has sold 25 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.
It is also the best-selling debut album by any artist ever. The American Family Association AFA referred to the shoot as "a disturbing mix of childhood innocence and adult sexuality" and called to "God-loving Americans to boycott stores selling Britney's albums. I have strong morals. I thought the pictures were fine. And I was tired of being compared to Debbie Gibson and all of this bubblegum pop all the time. Baby One More Time Tour in North America, which was positively received by critics,  but generated some controversy due to her racy outfits.
Spears premiered songs from her upcoming second album during the show. I Did It Again , her second studio album, was released in May It debuted at number one in the US, selling 1. Halfway through the performance, she ripped off her black suit to reveal a sequined flesh-colored bodysuit, followed by heavy dance routine. It is noted by critics as the moment that Spears showed signs of becoming a more provocative performer. While on tour, she felt inspired by hip hop artists such as Jay-Z and The Neptunes and wanted to create a record with a funkier sound.
It was harshly received by animal rights organization PETA , who claimed the animals were mistreated and scrapped plans for an anti-fur billboard that was to feature Spears. Although the film was largely panned, critics praised Spears's acting and the film was a box office success. In December , Timberlake released the song " Cry Me a River " as the second single from his solo debut album. The music video featured a Spears look-alike and fueled the rumors that she had been unfaithful to him.
However, Spears denied Durst's claims. In a interview, he explained that "I just guess at the time it was taboo for a guy like me to be associated with a gal like her. Halfway through they were joined by Madonna, with whom they both kissed. The incident was highly publicized. She assumed more creative control by writing and co-producing most of the material. The marriage was annulled 55 hours later, following a petition to the court that stated that Spears "lacked understanding of her actions".
Spears underwent arthroscopic surgery. She was forced to remain six weeks with a thigh brace, followed by eight to twelve weeks of rehabilitation, which caused The Onyx Hotel Tour to be canceled. The romance received intense attention from the media, since Federline had recently broken up with actress Shar Jackson , who was still pregnant with their second child at the time.
They held a wedding ceremony on September 18, , but were not legally married until three weeks later on October 6 due to a delay finalizing the couple's prenuptial agreement. My Prerogative , her first greatest hits compilation album , was released in November The Remixes , which consists of eleven remixes.
Personal struggles and Blackout Spears leaving court surrounded by press in October In February , pictures surfaced of Spears driving with her son, Sean, on her lap instead of in a car seat. Child advocates were horrified by the photos of her holding the wheel with one hand and Sean with the other.
Spears claimed that the situation happened because of a frightening encounter with paparazzi, and that it was a mistake on her part. The following night, she shaved her head with electric clippers at a hair salon in Tarzana, Los Angeles. She admitted herself to other treatment facilities during the following weeks. The reasons of the court ruling were not revealed to the public. The album debuted at the top of charts in Canada and Ireland, number two in the U.
In the United States, Spears became the only female artist to have her first five studio albums debut at the two top slots of the chart. The performance was panned by many critics. The third single " Break the Ice " was released the following year and had moderate success due to Spears not being able to promote it properly.
Circus In January , Spears refused to relinquish custody of her sons to Federline's representatives. She was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after police that arrived at her house noted she appeared to be under the influence of an unidentified substance. The following day, Spears's visitation rights were suspended at an emergency court hearing, and Federline was given sole physical and legal custody of the children. The court placed her under temporary, and later, permanent  conservatorship of her father James Spears and attorney Andrew Wallet, giving them complete control of her assets.
She received positive reviews for her performance, as well as bringing the series its highest ratings ever. For the Record , was produced to chronicle Spears's return to the recording industry. It was the highest rating in its Sunday night timeslot and in the network's history. It received positive reviews from critics  and debuted at number one in Canada, Czech Republic and the United States, and inside the top ten in many European nations. Baby One More Time". The restraining order forbids Lutfi and Ghalib from contacting Spears or coming within yards of her, her property or family members.
With a gross of U. The album's lead and only single, " 3 " became her third number one single in the U. The episode drew Glee's highest ratings ever. Femme Fatale became Spears's first album in which three of its songs reached the top ten of the chart.
The music video caused controversy when British politicians criticized Spears for using replica guns while filming the video in an area of London that had been badly affected by the England riots. Trawick was also removed as Spears's co-conservator, restoring her father as the sole conservator. Reid and fellow new judge Demi Lovato , who replaced Paula Abdul. Spears did not return for the show's third season and her spot was filled by Kelly Rowland. Britney Jean and Britney: Piece of Me , in January Spears began work on her eighth studio album, Britney Jean , in December ,  and enlisted will.
It began on December 27, , and included a total of shows throughout and Billboard with first-week sales of , copies, becoming her lowest-peaking and lowest-selling album in the United States. In doing so, it became Spears's lowest-charting and lowest-selling album in the country.
Billboard Hot marking Spears's 31st song on the chart and the fifth highest debut of her career on the chart, and her seventh in the top It also marked Spears's 19th top 20 hit and overall her 23rd top 40 hit.
The song also charted well in several other countries, peaking within the top ten of the charts in Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain and South Korea. It was available to be purchased beginning on September 9, in the United States and Canada through Spears's Intimate Collection website. It was later available on September 25 for purchase in Europe. The company now ships to over countries including Australia and New Zealand.