Singer, dancer, actress
1993 - present
Background/Rise To Fame
Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears trained as a dancer from age 2. She moved into commercial acting roles as a child, as well as briefly training as a gymnast, and was an understudy on Broadway by age nine. She joined popular children's series The Mickey Mouse Club at age 12 before signing with music label Jive Records in 1997, at age 16. She was briefly placed into girl band Innosense before her manager suggested she go solo. Spears's first and second studio albums, ...Baby One More Time(1999) and Oops!... I Did It Again (2000), were unprecedented international successes, with the former becoming the best selling album by a teenage solo artist. Title tracks "...Baby One More Time" and "Oops!... I Did It Again" broke international sales records. In 2001, Spears released her self titled third studio album, Britney, and ventured into acting with her semi-biographical debut film Crossroads. In 2003, she released her fourth album, In The Zone, which featured Grammy Award winning single "Toxic", and a duet single with pop legend Madonna.
Career/Personal Setbacks (2004 - 2007)
In June 2004, a significant knee injury while filming a music video saw Spears requiring extensive arthroscopic surgery. This forced Spears to cancel the remainder of the world tour she was completing at the time. During the tour, Spears had begun dating backup dancer Kevin Federline. The two were wed by October 2004, and Spears reprioritised her life around marriage and starting a family. Spears attempted to assume control over her career, announcing she had fired her entire creative team and would branch out on her own. A fifth album tentatively titled "Original Doll" was confirmed as "almost done" by Spears, until it was suddenly cancelled. Spears had previously premiered a rough demo version of lead single "Mona Lisa", live on radio, which had reportedly angered her label. After this cancellation, Spears took an extended hiatus from music, only releasing promotional or remix singles for the following three years.
In April 2005, Britney announced her first pregnancy. She gave birth to Sean Preston Federline in September 2005. Her first months of motherhood were marred by controversy as she had several public mishaps including nearly dropping her baby after tripping, and being photographed driving with her baby on her lap. In May 2006, Spears announced her second pregnancy on David Letterman's Late Show. After intense scrutiny following the incidents with her first child, a six-months-pregnant Britney agreed to an interview with Today Show's Matt Lauer, to speak on the controversies. Spears confirmed child protective services had conducted a safety check but had found no reason to be concerned, stating "I know I'm a good mom". Her subdued reaction to Lauer questioning the strength of her marriage led many to believe she and Federline were not on good terms. Spears broke down in tears after Lauer asked how she might get the paparazzi to leave her alone. In November 2006, after two years marriage, Spears divorced Federline just two months after giving birth to their second child, Jayden James Federline. Spears proceeded to engage in increasingly erratic public behaviour, including partying regularly with socialite Paris Hilton. Several times Britney was photographed emerging from a car with no underwear on. Rumors of her mother and former manager attempting to force her into rehabilitation appeared confirmed in February 2007, when Spears left a rehab facility after 24 hours, visited a hair salon then completely shaved her head. Spears subsequently checked into rehabilitation again, where she stayed from February to March 2007. In May 2007, she conducted a series of live shows at the House of Blues, performing her best known hits. In August 2007, Federline filed for primary physical custody of the couple's two children and a judge cited Spears as "a frequent and habitual user of prescription drugs and alcohol". Spears's custody was reduced down to moderated visitations. In September 2007, Spears staged a disastrous live performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, where she appeared intoxicated and unrehearsed. The performance triggered worldwide criticism and some concern for Spears wellbeing.
Career Comeback/Personal Reinvention (2008 - Present)
Spears fifth studio album, Blackout, was released the following month, spawning the successful singles "Gimme More" and "Piece of Me". In early January 2008, Spears was involuntarily hospitalised and placed on psychiatric hold for five days, after a three hour stand-off with police. Spears reportedly locked herself and her youngest child in a bathroom after assuming the children were staying the night, and becoming distressed upon Federline's security guard arriving to take them home. Her children were not injured. At the end of January 2008, Spears contacted her parents for help and they discovered a man named Sam Lutfi had been controlling her life for the later portion of 2007. Britney's mother, Lynne, witnessed Lutfi giving Spears pills while telling her they would have the opposite effect. Spears parents took the issue to court and a restraining order was enforced against Lutfi. A superior court commissioner placed Spears and her estate under temporary conservatorship after Spears agreed to a mental evaluation. Her father was named conservator of Britney herself. As of 2018, the conservatorship is still in place. Spears has since acquired 50/50 custody of her children.
Spears appearance on How I Met Your Mother was her first foray back into entertainment after her extended hiatus. Spears's sixth studio album, Circus (2008), included the worldwide #1 single "Womanizer" and the promotional campaign saw her successfully performing live on stage again. Her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale (2011), became her first to yield three top ten singles ("Hold It Against Me", "Till The World Ends" and "I Wanna Go") in the United States. Her eighth studio album Britney Jean (2013), met poor reviews, despite the lead single "Work Bitch" reaching #12. Later that year, Spears began a four-year residency show, Britney: Piece of Me, at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, where she earned $137 million from 2014 to 2018. In 2016, Spears released her ninth studio album, Glory. To promote the lead single, Make Me, Spears returned to the MTV Video Music Awards stage after nine years absence. She also appeared on popular viral program Carpool Karaoke. Spears announced in 2017 that her residency show would develop into a Piece Of Me world tour, with concert dates beginning in June 2017 and running through til September 2018. In 2018, Spears became the face of her first ever high fashion campaign for Kenzo.
Spears is regarded as a pop icon and credited with influencing the revival of teen pop during the late 1990s. She became the 'best-selling teenage artist of all time' and garnered honorific titles including the "Princess of Pop". She is one of the most controversial entertainers of all time, due to her increasingly sexual image, erratic personal life and continued speculation of the degree of authenticity behind her artistry. Her work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award, six MTV Video Music Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award, seven Billboard Music Awards including the Millennium Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2009, Billboard ranked her as the 8th overall Artist of the Decade, and also recognized her as the best-selling female artist of the 2000s, as well as the fifth overall. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lists Spears as the eighth top-selling female artist in the United States, with 34 million certified albums. She has sold 100 million albums and over 100 million singles worldwide making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. According to Billboard, Spears has sold about 22.38 million singles in digital downloads in US and is the fourth best-selling female artist since Nielsen SoundScan began.
Rolling Stone recognized her instant success as one of the Top 25 Teen Idol Breakout Moments of all time, while VH1 ranked her eleventh on their "100 Greatest Women in Music" list in 2012, and Billboard named her the sexiest woman in music. Forbes reported that Spears was the highest paid female musician of 2012, with earnings of $58 million, having last topped the list in 2002.
Relationship to How I Met Your Mother
In 2002, Spears expressed an interest in acting. She was heavily involved in the production of her debut film, the semi-autobiographical teen drama Crossroads, where she played the lead role of Lucy. In 2006, Spears ventured into sitcom acting when she guest starred in a season 8 episode of Will and Grace. In February 2008, Spears team informed the How I Met Your Mother crew that Spears was interested in starring in an episode, specifically Ten Sessions. While creators were hesitant to cast her as Stella Zinman, Spears expressed interest in playing Abby, the daft and obsessive receptionist working at Stella's office. Abby becomes smitten with Ted, despite his interests going to Stella. She is shown to be timid, lonely and flirtatious. When Ted tries to be nice to her in order to impress Stella, Abby gets the wrong impression and assumes Ted is also interested in her. Eventually, she realises Ted is dating Stella and has a one night stand with Barney instead.
Abby returns three episodes later in Everything Must Go, where she secretly sabotages Barney's would-be conquests, by informing the women he's pursuing of his sleazy ways while he is temporarily distracted. Barney eventually tracks her down and they sleep together once more due to mutual frustration with Ted. They concoct a plan to make Ted jealous by posing as a committed couple who gets engaged in front of him. Abby assumes the proposal is real, however, and Barney ditches her. He briefly stops by her apartment to pick up his tie, and gives her Ted's address to get her off his hands. She considers the address, but is not seen again in the series.
- In a 2014 Reddit AMA , creator Carter Bays credited Britney with securing the series beyond its third season. He stated: "She put our show on the map. It can't be overstated. Britney Spears rescued us from ever being on the bubble again. Thanks Britney!"
- Ten Sessions was watched by 10.62 million viewers according to the Nielsen ratings, 1 million more viewers than the previous episode. It achieved the show's highest rating ever in the 18–49 demographic.
- Spears guest role on the show was her first foray back into entertainment after a three year personal hiatus. Her episodes were filmed in March 2008, just two months after she was hospitalised and placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold for five days.
- Spears teamed up with Neil Patrick Harris again in 2015, when she guest starred on his prank series Best Time Ever.