Britney Spears will finally get the chance to tell her story on her terms, thanks to a massive new book deal. According to Deadline, the pop superstar signed a reported $15 million deal with publisher Simon & Schuster for a tell-all memoir.
News of the book comes three months after the end of Spears’ 13-year conservatorship, when a judge ruled that the 40-year-old singer should have control over her personal life, finances, and medical decisions. The deal also comes amid a broader cultural reckoning with the misogynistic tabloid culture of the early 2000s. Spears, arguably the biggest pop star of the Y2K era, will finally be able to revisit her life in the spotlight.
Few details about the book have been released (Simon & Schuster did not respond to a request for comment on the book or the details of the deal). But followers and fans of Spears’ complex story are eager to hear more in her own words. Here are five topics we hope Spears will cover in her memoir.
Her breakup with Justin Timberlake
Spears and Timberlake’s split in 2002 after three years of dating provided endless fodder for gossip rags—and marked the beginning of Spears’ contentious relationship with the tabloids. Following the breakup, Timberlake leaned into a media narrative that emerged, alleging that Spears had cheated on him (Spears vehemently denied the accusation). He spoke publicly about his sexual relationship with Spears while promoting his album Justified—particularly the song “Cry Me a River,” which was about infidelity. As a result, Spears, who was already critiqued for her sexuality, was demonized in the press. Nearly 20 years after their relationship ended, Timberlake apologized via an Instagram statement also addressed to Janet Jackson for his behavior and role in the narrative surrounding the breakup (and Jackson’s wardrobe “malfunction” at Super Bowl XXXVIII). Spears appeared to reference the apology in a cryptic Instagram post last summer, but we’re eager to hear her unvarnished reflections on the controversy—and how she looks back on that time in her life now.
The “bad mother” narrative
Spears was relentlessly covered by the media for most of her career, but the coverage only intensified after she became a mother. The press picked apart her every move—where Spears had once been shamed for her sexuality, she was then bashed for her approach to parenting. Paparazzi followed her everywhere, often threatening her safety and capturing moments, like an instance when she was seen driving with her months-old baby in her lap, that tabloids then used to propel a narrative of her being a “bad” mother. As a mom to two sons (she shares custody with her ex-husband Kevin Federline) Spears could use this moment to share her personal story.
Being forced to have an IUD
One of the most chilling moments during Spears’ June 2021 court testimony against her conservatorship came when she testified that she was forced to have an IUD, despite the fact that she wanted to have more children. While Spears supporters have heard her share the basic facts of this shocking revelation, her new book could lend her the space to provide a more detailed perspective on the invasive nature and unforeseen dangers of conservatorships. Spears’ voice is essential to the ongoing debate about conservatorships, and her admission about the IUD sparked a larger discourse about reproductive control and forced sterilization. In the months since Spears spoke in court, she has also been asked to testify about conservatorships before Congress. She has more to say on the subject, and we’re eager to hear it.
What she thinks about the #FreeBritney movement
While Spears’ celebrity is massive enough that her conservatorship hearing would have made headlines regardless, much of reason why the case became a key point of cultural discourse around abuses of power was spurred by the #FreeBritney movement, a campaign started by loyal Spears fans. These supporters rallied around the singer and called for a deeper investigation into the potential abuse and exploitation Spears may have suffered as a result of her conservatorship before Spears herself spoke out publicly against her guardians.
Spears thanked members of the movement during her court hearing, crediting them with giving her the power to stand up for herself: “It’s because of them I am here today. It’s because of them I have the f–king strength to speak up against my family who have silenced me and my fans for years.” With the #FreeBritney movement having played such a major role in her conservatorship case, Spears’ reflections on the significance of their activism could help sustain momentum for cases that might not be as high-profile.
For all the headlines surrounding Spears’ personal (and legal) life, it would be easy to overlook her indelible influence on music. From her many hit albums and her groundbreaking use of visual culture to her iconic performances and the crafting of her artist persona, Spears’ impact on pop culture remains omnipresent. How does Spears look back on her moments in the studio and onstage? Which songs mean the most to her? These questions are of the utmost importance to longtime Spears fans, and we hope the answers will be revealed in her book.
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