Britney Spears Discusses Shaved Head, Conservatorship in Book Excerpt – Rolling Stone

Britney Spears opened up about her physically grueling and mentally frustrating life under her conservatorship, saying the arrangement made her feel not just like a robot, but “a sort of child-robot.” 

“I had been so infantilized that I was losing pieces of what made me feel like myself,” she said in a new excerpt from her upcoming memoir, The Woman in Me (out Oct. 24), published in People

In the section dealing with her conservatorship, Spears explained how it led to a new kind of scrutiny and control over her life, different from what she’d experienced up to that point. “I’d been eyeballed so much growing up,” Spears said, describing the constant gaze and comments about her body since her adolescence. She pointedly noted that “shaving my head” and acting out had been her “ways of pushing back.” But under the conservatorship, Spears added, “I was made to understand that those days were now over.”

Worst of all, Spears said, was the way her own father would treat her during this time: “If I thought getting criticized about my body in the press was bad, it hurt even more from my own father. He repeatedly told me I looked fat and that I was going to have to do something about it.”

She added: “Feeling like you’re never good enough is a soul-crushing state of being for a child. He’d drummed that message into me as a girl, and even after I’d accomplished so much, he was continuing to do that to me.”

During this period, Spears was sapped of her creativity, saying her “passion for singing and dancing… was almost a joke at that point.” The conservatorship, Spears said, also “stripped me of my womanhood, made me into a child.” On stage, Spears said she felt more like an “entity” than a person, and as a result, lost touch with the one thing that always meant the most to her: “I had always felt music in my bones and my blood; they stole that from me.”

Spears said looking back on the thirteen-year conservatorship, and the control her father “and his associates” had over her body and money “makes [her] feel sick.” She singled out the obvious double standard as well, writing: “Think of how many male artists gambled all their money away; how many had substance abuse or mental health issues. No one tried to take away their control over their bodies and money. I didn’t deserve what my family did to me.”

The portion about Spears’ life in the conservatorship is just one of several sections People shared from The Woman in Me. Elsewhere, Spears shared some early Mickey Mouse Club memories, including a first kiss with Justin Timberlake during a game of Truth or Dare (while a Janet Jackson song was playing, no less, for those keeping track of pop culture’s many surreal confluences). Elsewhere, she wrote about her relationships with her mother and father, her early record label auditions, and the “terrifying” snake she worked with during her famous performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U” at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards.


Additionally, Spears wrote about the strange, difficult experience of filming Crossroads because of “what acting did to my mind.” She elaborated: “I think I started Method acting — only I didn’t know how to break out of my character. I really became this other person. 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. I ended up walking differently, carrying myself differently, talking differently. I was someone else for months while I filmed Crossroads. Still to this day, I bet the girls I shot that movie with think, She’s a little…quirky. If they thought that, they were right.”

Spears also spoke a bit about her life these days, post-conservatorship, saying, “Learning this new freedom, I’ll admit, is challenging.” But, she added: “Over the past 15 years or even at the start of my career, I sat back while people spoke about me and told my story for me. After getting out of my conservatorship, I was finally free to tell my story without consequences from the people in charge of my life.”

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