Whether you like her brand of music or not, there’s no denying that Britney Spears has a great deal of talent. Her personal life and meltdowns aside, this woman has accomplished a lot in her life and she’s only 35. She was born on Dec. 2, 1981, in McComb, Mississippi and her full name is Britney Jean Spears. She even named one of her many hit albums “Britney Jean” and it was released in 2013.
She was later raised in Kentwood, LA, and performed in many TV shows and live stage productions as a child. In 1997, she signed with Jive Records and became an international success very quickly. Her much publicized personal problems, stints in rehab, drug addiction rumors, and her very public meltdown in 2007 overshadowed her immense talents for several years, effectively putting her career on hold.
But, now she has come back even stronger and better than ever. Performances on several award shows, new hit records, as well as her own wildly popular show in Las Vegas, have made her a household name again but in a good way this time, not for things like shaving her head and losing custody of her kids. She's finally back, she's fit and she's fantastic.
As a consummate actress, singer, and dancer, Britney Spears has again won the respect of the record-buying public.
And, here are 20 things that you probably never knew about this very complex and talented woman:
1. Honorific Nicknames
Pop music has its own honorific nicknames. For instance, Michael Jackson is the King of Pop and Elvis, of course, is and always will be the King, although he is also known as the King of Rock ‘n Roll. Britney Spears is known as the Princess of Pop. On the other hand, her other honorific nickname is also the Queen of Pop.
2. Las Vegas Show
In 2013, Britney started her own show at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. This well-received Vegas show is performed at the AXIS and is entitled "Britney: Piece of Me". She has been signed to this popular residency show for a four-year period. That was the same year that she released "Britney Jean", which was her 8th studio album.
3. Britney Spears- Pop Icon
As a pop icon, Britney Spears was given credit for her influence in reviving teen pop music in the nineties. During that time, she was known as “the best-selling teen artist of all time”. That’s quite an accomplishment, especially for someone who hadn’t even reached 20 yet.
Britney has won a number of awards so far in her young life, including six MTV Video Music Awards plus a Lifetime Achievement Award from MTV. She also won a coveted Grammy Award. And, even Billboard magazine honored her with the Billboard Millennium Award on top of her ten Billboard Music Awards.
5. Other Accolades
Britney was ranked by Billboard in 2009 as the number eight Artist of the Decade overall, as well as the best-selling female artist during the decade of the 2000s. In addition, they also ranked her fifth best-selling recording artist of all-time. According to The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is number eight among the top-selling female artists in the U.S. and has 34 RIAA certified albums.
6. Sexiest Woman in Music
She was also honored by Rolling Stone who named her phenomenal success as being among their” Top 25 Teen Idol Breakout Moments of all time”. And, in 2012, VH1 named her number 11 on their 2012 list of "100 Greatest Women in Music". That same year, she was named Music’s Sexiest Woman by Billboard.
7. Millions of Records Sold
So, what kind of numbers earned her all of those accolades? Worldwide she sold more than 100 million singles and 100 million albums. That places her squarely among the best-selling artists in music of all-time. In addition, she sold approximately 22.38 million digital downloads of her singles in the United States alone. And, according to Nielsen SoundScan, she ranks number four among the best-selling female artists since their inception. She was so successful, having earned $58 million in 2012, that Forbes reported her as being the highest paid female musician of the year. The last time she was at the top of that list was back in 2002.
8. Most Searched
In the online world, Britney Spears is a huge star, as well. From the years 2005 to 2008, as well as for seven other years, her name was the most popular search term on Yahoo. And, she’s now so famous that she’s in the Guinness World Records book. In 2007 and 2009, she was named as Most Searched Person of the year and later was registered as the decade’s most searched person.
9. Starting Young
Britney began taking dancing lessons at the tender age of just three years old. She was even chosen to perform a solo at her dance recital that same year. She also took voice and gymnastics lessons, winning several talents shows for children and state-level competitions. Her vocal debut came when she was only five and she sang for her kindergarten graduation. Even as a child, she said that she had finally found out what she was supposed to be when she grew up.
10. M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!
When she was just eight, Britney Spears and Mom, Lynne, went to Atlanta so that Britney could audition for The Mickey Mouse Club’s revival in 1990. She was rejected by the casting director because she was just too young at the time. She was, however, cast for the show later in December 1992. She performed alongside such talented personalities as Keri Russell and Ryan Gosling, who later became television and movie stars, and soon-to-be musical giants Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera.
11. Rejected by Three Labels
In spite of her immense talent, Britney Spears was actually rejected by three major record labels at the start of her career. Their reasoning was that there would never be another Tiffany, Madonna, or Debbie Gibson. They also said that audiences wanted to see pop bands like the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys. Two weeks after those rejections, she was signed to the Jive Records label after singing for the record company's executives. She sang Witney Houston's "I Have Nothing" and it caused them to not only say that she had "the eye of the tiger" but also to order a full album almost immediately.
12. First Album Success
Her first solo album was recorded in Stockholm. It was entitled “Baby One More Time” and the release date was January 12, 1999. Not only did it debut as U.S. Billboard 200’s number one, but in just one month, RIAA certified it as two-times platinum. In addition, it was topping the charts in no less than 15 countries, becoming the biggest seller by a teen artist ever and selling more than 10 million copies in one year.
13. Hit Single
On its first day of release, the single “Baby One More Time” sold 500,000 copies, topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart for not one, but two weeks consecutively. And, to date, that one single has been successful at becoming among the best-selling singles ever, selling better than 10,000,000 copies. In addition, Britney Spears received a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy nomination for “Baby One More Time”.
14. British Success
Britney’s singular brand of pop music was not just popular in the U.S., but “Baby One More Time” was later to become number 25 among the most successful songs of all time in Great Britain. And, she also became the youngest female artist ever at having a million selling record in the UK. She had another hit single from that album and it was "You Drive Me Crazy". Its success contributed to the album selling 30,000,000 copies worldwide and becoming not only an all-time best-selling album worldwide but the absolute best-selling ever first album by any artist anywhere in the world.
In addition to being the Queen of Pop, Britney Spears is also an actress. She appeared in five motion pictures during her career to date, including:
2002- “Austin Powers in Goldmember”
2003- “Pauly Shore Is Dead”
2004- “Fahrenheit 9/11”
This was Britney’s only actual starring role. In this comedy film, she played a girl named Lucy who, after graduating from high school, dreamed coincidentally of becoming a pop star. Her estranged childhood friends, played by Zoe Saldana and Taryn Manning, get together with Lucy and head out on a trip cross-country to help her to find herself during this crossroads in her young life. Other stars in the film included Kim Cattrall, Dan Aykroyd, Anson Mount, and Justin Long. Interestingly enough, Anson Mount, who was relatively unknown at the time, was reticent to play opposite Britney as her love interest. Shy maybe? Anyway, one of her biggest fans talked him into it. He’s none other than the great Robert De Niro who co-starred with Mount on “City by the Sea”. De Niro even ran lines with his friend Anson, reading Britney’s lines because he was such a huge fan of the Princess of Pop. Just goes to show that talent always recognizes talent.
Most of us only remember her very public marriage and subsequent ugly breakup with Kevin Federline, one of her backup dancers and the father of her two sons, Jayden and Sean Preston. But, she was also married once before that. She married Jason Allen Alexander in a 5 a.m. ceremony in Vegas in 2004. It was obviously a mistake since they got an annulment less than two days later. She then married Federline later that same year and they were divorced in 2007.
18. Other Romantic Entanglements
Britney Spears was involved in a relationship with Justin Timberlake that seemed to be serious, but it only lasted three years. JT released a new song in 2002 entitled "Cry Me a River". It was the second single on the album that marked his solo debut. In the music video for the song, there was a Britney look-alike and that added fuel to the fire of rumors about her being unfaithful to him. Britney responded by writing a ballad called "Everytime". Later that year, the frontman for Limp Bizkit, Fred Durst, revealed his romantic relationship with Britney, but she denied it.
In late 2007, she did become involved in a relationship with Adnan Ghalib, who was a paparazzo. Hey, wasn't she usually caught on camera running from the paparazzi? She even blamed a highly publicized incident where she was photographed driving her car with her baby son on her lap instead of being safely strapped into his car seat on the paparazzi. Back to Ghalib. In 2009, Britney and her dad got a restraining order against her then ex-boyfriend, Ghalib, as well as her her attorney Jon Eardley, and her former manager Sam Lutfi after they allegedly conspired to get control of Britney's business affairs.
Back to Ghalib. In 2009, Britney and her dad got a restraining order against her then ex-boyfriend, Ghalib, as well as her her attorney Jon Eardley, and her former manager Sam Lutfi after they allegedly conspired to get control of Britney's business affairs.
She became involved in a relationship in May 2010 with Jason Trawick, who was her agent at the time. They both made the decision to terminate their professional relationship so that they could begin focusing on the personal relationship instead. They became engaged and he was named as co-conservator along with her father. However, in January 2013, the engagement ended and he was removed as her co-conservator. From that point on, her father has been her sole conservator.
19. The Philanthropic Britney
Not many people know that Britney is also quite the philanthropist. She founded several foundations, including:
- The Britney Spears Foundation for helping children in need
- The Britney Spears Camp for the Performing Arts, where campers learn about exploring and developing their talents
She also donated a great deal of money to causes like:
-The Twin Towers Fund- $1 million in April 2002
-Music Rising- $350,000 after Hurricane Katrina in 2006
-The Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation (NCCF) - $120,000 in October 2015, as well as $1 is donated from every "Britney: Piece of Me" ticket sale
Fundraising Efforts include:
-"Artists Against AIDS Worldwide" - With Bono in October 2001, she released "What's Going On", a single for the benefit of AIDS programs in Africa
-The St. Bernard Project- $200,000 at An Evening of Southern Style with the help of several well-known celebs, including Kim Kardashian, Kelly Osbourne, Hilary Duff, and Selena Gomez
Other Charities and fundraising-
She Also helped raise funds for numerous charities during her career, including:
- Gilda's Club Worldwide, a cancer charity named after Gilda Radner
- Spirituality for Kids- Madonna’s Kaballah-based charity
- United Way- focusing on giving new hope to disadvantaged families
20. Defending our Ships
Albeit unknowingly, Britney protects our servicemen. According to a merchant navy officer named Rachel Owens, her popular songs "Hit Me Baby One More Time" and "Oops ... I Did It Again" keep them safe. She said that their ships are playing those songs over their loud speakers. They're said to be successful at deterring the Somali pirates because they "hate Western culture" so much.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker