Britney Spears was a tragedy waiting to happen. One of the world’s biggest pop stars, and still in her early 20s, she was puppeted by the music industry, controlled by her management and caricatured by the press.
Her every move was documented, her relationships dissected and her body scrutinised. Under these extreme pressures and without proper mentoring, she was heading for a fall, and in 2007, she hit rock bottom.
Almost exactly 10 years later, Britney has spoken to Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot about how she took back responsibility over her own mental health – and her career.
Opening up ahead of her first ever performance in Tel Aviv, she said: “I think I had fun when I was younger.
“I was a pretty normal girl, a tomboy. But my 20s were awful. My 30s are much better for me. I’ve learned to get to know myself better.”
“I think I had to give myself more breaks through my career and take responsibility for my mental health,” she continued, speaking about her break down in 2007.
“There were many decisions that were made for me and that I didn’t make myself.”
Asked by the journalist whether she felt she had been molly-coddled by those close to her, she replied: “Something like that.
“My life was controlled by too many people and that doesn’t really let you be yourself. In that situation, when you’re not in control, you become less excited, and there’s less passion when it comes to music.
“I wrote back then that I was lost and didn’t know what to do with myself. I was trying to please everyone around me because that’s who I am deep inside. There are moments where I look back and think: ‘What the hell was I thinking?'”
The pop princess mentioned the controversial incident when she was photographed with her baby son Sean on her lap when she was driving in 2006.
“Those were the toughest years,” she said.
“I think the paparazzi took off the pressure after I didn’t leave my house for two years.”
However she denied that 2007, following pictures of her emerging from a salon with a shaved head, marked her biggest life crisis.
“Crisis is a strong word.
“Each and every one of us that starts at a young age needs to take into account that you’ve gotta be balanced in order to stay in this industry and to manage your personal life.
“Sometimes that’s very challenging. I think I was very different back then, younger, not always knowing what’s good or bad, very instinctive.”
However, Britney admitted she was in a much better place now, something she puts down to being a mother to boys Sean and Jayden.
“Today I’m at a better place in my life,” she concluded. “My kids shaped my personality and filled me. They made me not worry about what was happening to me.”
The interview was translated from Hebrew into English by BreathingHeavy.com.