Britney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress. Born in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, she appeared in stage productions and television series, before signing with Jive Records in 1997. Spears’s first two studio albums, …Baby One More Time (1999) and Oops!… I Did It Again (2000), were global successes and made her the best-selling teenage artist of all-time. Referred to as the “Princess of Pop”, Spears is regarded as a pop icon and is credited with influencing the revival of teen pop during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Spears adopted more mature and provocative themes for her next two studio albums, Britney (2001) and In the Zone (2003), and made her feature film debut in a starring role in Crossroads (2002). Following a series of heavily publicized personal struggles and erratic public behavior, Spears’s career was interrupted, before the release of her fifth studio album Blackout (2007), which is often critically referred to as her best work. Her erratic behavior and hospitalizations led Spears to be placed on a still ongoing conservatorship. She returned to the top of record charts with her sixth and seventh studio albums, Circus (2008) and Femme Fatale (2011), respectively. In 2012, Forbes reported that Spears was the highest paid female musician of the year, with earnings of $58 million, having last topped the list in 2002. During the promotion of her eighth and ninth studio albums, Britney Jean (2013) and Glory (2016), Spears embarked on a four-year concert residency, Britney: Piece of Me, at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, which became one of the highest-grossing residencies of all-time. In 2019, Spears announced an indefinite career hiatus and was later admitted involuntarily into a mental health facility by her conservator, leading to a court-led investigation into malpractice conducted by Spears’s team.
Spears has scored six number one albums on the Billboard 200, making her the third best performing female artist on the chart. Five of Spears’s singles have reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100: “…Baby One More Time”, “Womanizer”, “3”, “Hold It Against Me” and “S&M”. Other singles, “Oops!… I Did It Again” and “Toxic”, topped the charts in most countries. With “3” in 2009 and “Hold It Against Me” in 2011, she became the second artist after Mariah Carey in the Hot 100’s history to debut at number one with two or more songs. Spears has earned numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award; seven Guinness World Records; six MTV Video Music Awards, including the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award; seven Billboard Music Awards, including the Millennium Award; the inaugural Radio Disney Icon Award; and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Billboard ranked her as the eighth-biggest artist of the 2000s decade. One of the world’s best-selling music artists, Spears has sold over 150 million records worldwide and more than 70 million records in United States, including 36.9 million digital singles and 33.6 million digital albums. In the United States, Spears is the fourth best-selling female album artist of the Nielsen SoundScan era as well as the best-selling female album artist of the 2000s.
In 2004, Spears launched a perfume brand with Elizabeth Arden, Inc.; sales exceeded US$1.5 billion as of 2012. Spears has topped the list of most searched celebrities seven times in 12 years, a record since the inception of the internet.
2018–present: Piece of Me Tour, business ventures, hiatus and #FreeBritney movement
In January 2018, Spears released her 24th perfume with Elizabeth Arden, Sunset Fantasy, and announced the Piece of Me Tour which took place in July 2018 in North American and Europe. Tickets were sold out within minutes for major cities, and additional dates were added to meet the demand. Pitbull was the supporting act for the European leg. The tour ranked at 86 and 30 on Pollstar’s 2018 Year-End Top 100 Tours chart both in North America and worldwide, respectively. In total, the tour grossed $54.3 million with 260,531 tickets sold and was the sixth highest-grossing female tour of 2018, and was the United Kingdom’s second best-selling female tour of 2018.
On March 20, 2018, Spears was announced as part of a campaign for French luxury fashion house KENZO. The company said it aimed to shake up the ‘jungle’ world of fashion with Spears’s ‘La Collection Memento No. 2’ campaign. On April 12, 2018, Spears was honored with the 2018 GLAAD Vanguard Award at the GLAAD Media Awards for her role in “accelerating acceptance for the LGBTQ community”. On April 27, 2018, Epic Rights announced a new partnership with Spears to debut her own fashion line in 2019, which would include clothing, fitness apparel, accessories, and electronics. In July 2018, Spears released her first unisex fragrance, Prerogative. On October 21, 2018, Spears performed at the Formula One Grand Prix in Austin, which ultimately served as the final performance of her Piece of Me Tour.
On October 18, 2018, Spears announced her second Las Vegas residency show, Britney: Domination, which was set to launch at Park MGM’s Park Theatre on February 13, 2019. Spears was slated to make $507,000 per show, which would have made her the highest paid act on the Las Vegas Strip. However, on January 4, 2019, she announced that the residency was cancelled after her father had a near-fatal colon rupture. Her team also announced that Spears would go on an indefinite work hiatus, putting all activities and commitments on hold, so that she can spend time with her family.
In March 2019, Spears’s co-conservator Andrew Wallet resigned, and said “Substantial detriment, irreparable harm and immediate danger will result to the conservatee and her estate if the relief requested herein in not granted on an ex parte basis.” The same month, Spears reportedly entered a psychiatric facility to focus on self-care amidst stress from her father’s illness. The podcast Britney’s Gram alleged, according to information from an anonymous paralegal source, that Spears had been held against her will in the facility since January 2019. They claimed the hospitalization and Domination cancellation were ordered by Spears’s father after she decided to not take her medication and violated rules in her conservatorship, specifically driving. Britney’s Gram and several news outlet questioned the length of the conservatorship, as it was supposed to end after The Circus Tour in 2009.
Following the podcast, there was social media backlash to the alleged abuse of power and violation of human rights Spears has endured under a conservatorship by her father and the mismanagement of Lou Taylor, who was responsible for initiating the conservatorship.[better source needed] TMZ later posted several conflicting stories, detailing in a video that although Spears had not been formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she is receiving medication for it, and justified this, which was later deleted.[better source needed] On April 22, 2019, fans held a protest outside the West Hollywood City Hall, drawing attention towards the prolonged conservatorship, suggesting she was being detained against her will.
Spears posted a video Instagram account on April 24, assuring fans all is well and also addressed leaked emails about Lou Taylor, claiming they were written by her ex-manager Sam Lutfi.” Spears left the facility the following day. It was reported on April 24, 2019, that Spears had a new conservatorship hearing for May 10, 2019. Spears attended the hearing with her mother. Following the hearing, an investigation was ordered into Spears’s conservatorship. According to alleged reports by TMZ, she stated in court that she was forcibly put into the mental health facility.