BIRTH PLACE: Kentwood, Louisiana
For her relatively
short six years in the public spotlight, Britney Spears has managed
to generate more controversy than your average celebrity manages
in a lifetime. From the outset, her sexually provocative image
aided by the slickest hit-making machine has guaranteed non-stop
headlines and constant media scrutiny.
It is all
a long way from young Britney’s first televised performance
on StarSearch in 1990. This led to the eight year-old Spears auditioning
for Disney’s The Mickey Mouse Club. Initially she was deemed
by producers as being “too young” but undeterred she
finally made the cut, aged eleven and appeared singing, dancing,
even rapping her way through 110 appearances, alongside fellow
Mouseketeers as Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera.
cancellation in 1994 left Britney’s future uncertain. Demo
tapes led to an audition for Jive Records in which she performed
“Jesus Loves Me” and “I Have Nothing”
by Whitney Houston to amazed record executives who signed her
instantly. Appearing as the opening support for *NSYNC’s
1998 tour paled into insignificance with the release in December
1998 of her first solo single, “…Baby One More Time”
which achieved 9 million sales worldwide. She teased in full Catholic-schoolgirl
outfit in the memorable video as the debate over sexual exploitation
A hugely successful
first album was succeeded by the hit-laden “Oops I did It
Again”, a skilful retread of the formula. However, Britney’s
private life was beginning to capture as many headlines as her
music career. Dating teen heartthrob Justin Timberlake, they make
the perfect pop couple until the relationship crashed awkwardly
three years later.
album Britney suffers under the growing pains trying to find an
older audience with “Slave 4 U” and other singles
all missing the Top 10. A film appearance in Crossroads and a
“joke” marriage to a childhood sweetheart annulled
hours later did little to reassure this was not a career in crisis.
In The Zone
marked an indisputable return to commercial form with a new adult
sound. A duet with her idol Madonna coupled with the show-stopping
kiss between the two at the 2003 MTV Music awards confirmed that
Britney was rightful owner of the Pop Princess title.