Britney Jean Spears born December 2, 1981 is an American female pop singer and actress. Spears has sold over 85 million albums worldwide in under 9 years of entertaining.
Britney Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana as a Southern Baptist. Her parents are Lynne Irene, a former elementary school teacher, and Jamie Parnell Spears, a building contractor.
Spears's brother Bryan works as a manager for the Spears family interests and her sister Jamie Lynn is an actress and singer. Her maternal grandmother Lillian Woolmore was an English war-bride, born in Tottenham, London who met Spears's grandfather Barnett O'Field Bridges in England during World War II.
Her paternal grandparents were June Austin Spears and Emma Jean Forbes. Spears was an accomplished gymnast, attending gymnastics classes until age nine and competing in state-level competitions.
She performed in local dance revues and sang in her local Baptist church choir. At age eight she auditioned for the Disney Channel series The New Mickey Mouse Club. Although she was considered too young to join the series at the time, a producer on the show introduced her to a New York City agent.
Spears subsequently spent three summers at NYC's Professional Performing Arts School and also appeared in a number of off-Broadway productions, including 1991's Ruthless!. In 1992, she landed a spot on the popular television show Star Search.
She won the first round of competition, but ultimately lost. At age eleven, Spears returned to the Disney Channel for a spot on the The New Mickey Mouse Club in Lakeland, Florida. She was featured on the show from 1993 to 1994, until she was 13. After the show ended, Spears returned to Kentwood and attended high school for a year.
In 1997, Spears briefly joined the all-female pop group Innosense. Later that same year, she recorded a demo solo and was signed by Jive Records. She began a U.S. concert tour sponsored by American teen magazines, and eventually became an opening act for 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.
Spears posed for her first major magazine publication, Rolling Stone in April 1999. Shot by photographer David LaChapelle, the photo shoot garnered much criticism for the controversial mixing of child-like innocence and adolescent sexuality.
The cover featured her in a skimpy outfit lying on a bed. More controversy arose when Spears declared that she would "remain a virgin until marriage". This pledge has been questioned due to her apparently sexual relationship with fellow pop singer Justin Timberlake.
In early 2002, Spears's four-year relationship with Timberlake ended. His 2002 song 'Cry Me a River' and its music video, which featured an actress resembling Spears, caused speculation that Spears had been unfaithful; Timberlake, however, denied that his song was meant to portray her.
June 2002 saw the opening of Spears's restaurant, Nyla, in New York City, which served Louisianan and Italian cuisine. However, she was pulled out of the business venture in November as a result of debts and management issues.
Nyla officially closed in 2003. In the same year, Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst confirmed that he was in a relationship with Spears. Durst was also hired to help write and produce tracks for her album In the Zone, which were eventually scrapped.
Months after her Las Vegas marriage, Spears embarked on The Onyx Hotel Tour, which was canceled in June, after Spears injured her knee during the filming of the video for the single 'Outrageous'. She then became involved in the Kabbalah Centre in September 2004 through her friendship with Madonna. However, she publicly left the religion in 2006, stating on her website, "I no longer study Kaballah, my baby is my religion."
Spears's personal life began to gain more media attention after her marriage to Kevin Federline in 2004. Their marriage ended just two years later resulting in an ongoing custody battle. She gave birth to her first child in 2005 and to her second child in 2006.