Get all the most shocking revelations from Britney Spears’s new book, The Woman in Me, a hotly anticipated book release that took the world by storm, just as the pop princess and her one-of-a-kind life story has done.
Britney Spears’s book release, 2023’s The Woman in Me, tells her side of the story once and for all. And, for better or worse, it will be millions of fans.
Given the mystery that continues to surround her life, there are lots of questions about the content of the memoir, The Woman in Me. I binge-read it in one sitting on its release day and now share the most shocking details and give my honest review.
Most Shocking Revelations in Britney Spears’s Memoir
A week before the release of The Woman in Me, People magazine shared exclusive details from the book, which got the world talking:
1. The most shocking revelation was that Britney Spears had an abortion of Justin Timberlake’s baby over two decades ago because Justin “said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young.” She claimed she “never would have done it” if the decision were hers alone, and “it’s one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced in my life.”
The book contains so many jaw-dropping details and previously unknown information, the most notable of which also include:
2. Britney’s family history is filled with tragedy. Her paternal grandmother’s son died as an infant, and her husband was abusive (including sexually). She was placed in an asylum, then shot and killed herself on the child’s grave years later.
3. Starting in eighth grade, Britney drank alcoholic daiquiris with her mom, which made her feel fun and adventurous, unlike her father, who “grew more depressed and shut down” when he drank alcohol. She describes his alcoholism and its effects throughout the book, which made for a very volatile upbringing filled with both fear and poverty.
4. Contrary to what was portrayed in the media, Britney lost her virginity in 9th grade to her brother’s best friend.
5. In response to negative press as a teenager and young woman, Britney started taking Prozac. She later described her drug of choice as Adderall.
6. Britney was actually terrified of the snake used in her infamous MTV VMA performance.
7. The lead role in The Notebook came down to Britney and Rachel McAdams, but she is glad she didn’t get the part because she was a method actor, and acting consumed her whole life when she did it. However, she does wish she didn’t turn down a leading role in Chicago, since it was a dance-based film.
8. Justin broke up with Britney over a text message (two words: “It’s over!!!”), then visited her and gave her a framed letter, which she still has. The breakup made her feel like she couldn’t breathe, and she also felt like she lost a family because of her love of his.
9. Britney claims that Justin cheated on her many times, but she never said anything about it. She said that only thereafter did she once kiss choreographer Wade Robson while she was still dating Justin.
10. Britney doesn’t mince words about her adolescent sister, Jamie Lynn, describing her as “ungrateful” and a “witch.”
11. During rehearsals for her infamous VMA performance with Madonna, they only “air-kissed.” During the show, Britney “just went for it.”
12. Britney was completely humiliated by her post-breakup interview with Diane Sawyer, which she felt forced to do. It felt like a breaking point to her.
13. Britney describes her Las Vegas marriage to childhood friend, Jason Alexander, as driven by drunkenness and boredom. She believes her parents were adamant about this decision because they wanted to maintain financial control of her.
14. Under her conservatorship, Britney’s father body-shamed her: “He repeatedly told me I looked fat and that I was going to have to do something about it.”
15. Britney describes many difficult times in her life, including her breakup with Justin and childbirth, as causing her to revert to a child-like state.
16. Britney believes she experienced many symptoms of perinatal depression, including sadness, anxiety, and fatigue. She later admits to also having severe postpartum depression.
17. Britney describes her head-shaving incident as a response to grief and flipping off the world’s demands of her. Her father called her “a disgrace” and her family forced her into rehab, though she felt rage and grief were her problems, not substance abuse.
18. Britney claims her father paid himself more than he paid her and told her, “I’m Britney Spears now.”
19. Nearing the end of her mental health treatment under the conservatorship, Britney was forced to take Lithium, which was the same drug forced on her grandmother prior to her suicide. A friend of Britney’s told her she didn’t think Britney would make it out alive.
20. Britney also remarked that the conservatorship “crushed her soul” and transformed her into “a sort of child-robot” and a “bird without wings” that was “ritually tortured.” She says she went along with it “for her kids” because it reunited her with them. Though, among other things, she was drugged, her diet was controlled, her home was bugged, and her father wouldn’t allow her to remove her I.U.D.
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Review of The Woman in Me by Britney Spears
As expected, The Woman in Me was simply unputdownable, and I read it in one sitting on the day of its release. While many shocking details, including Britney’s abortion, were revealed prior to its release in order to drum up anticipation, there are still many, many golden nuggets within the pages for the reader to uncover.
Britney Spears and I are the same age, and I’ve been a huge fan since her debut song release as a teenager, Baby One More Time. At that time, you simply could not convince me there was anyone cooler than Britney, ESPECIALLY once she started dating every teen girl’s crush, Justin Timberlake.
I even wore the Baby One More Time schoolgirl outfit for Halloween and, years later, wore a Britney-inspired outfit to my 21st birthday celebration, complete with her signature pageboy cap.
Of course, over time, it became more clear that her life wasn’t anywhere near as glamorous as it seemed, and, for better or worse, we’ve all watched with bated breath, hoping for her health and happiness.
Above all, The Woman in Me made a lot “make sense” to me about how Britney got here. I also left feeling like we owed it to hear her version of events since so much has been portrayed so publicly and, as revealed in the memoir, she stayed quiet about so much of her truth for so long.
Speaking of releasing her truth, Justin Timberlake is easily the hottest topic in this book, and he definitely lost the most by her speaking. While her family has treated her worse, that has been known to the public. It has not been known all the ways in which Justin wronged her and benefited by being a hot young male in Hollywood, while she suffered in silence.
I don’t believe Britney intended to hurt him, but rather to simply speak her truth, and no one has ever faulted him for doing the same. In fact, one of my biggest takeaways was just how far-reaching Justin’s impact was on her life. He’s like a thread woven through all of it, even before and after their relationship, and continuing to this day.
I also thought that ghostwriter Sam Lanksy (an author of novels who has also profiled other pop stars, including Adele and Madonna) did a really excellent job of telling Britney’s story in a cohesive narrative while also capturing her unique personality and charm. Her own voice and quirks still resonate very well.
And, since I listened to this book on audio, I have to note what an excellent job actress Michelle Williams did narrating the bulk of the memoir as well. She captured Britney’s voice in her own, and it was really impactful to hear. I’ve heard some describe this memoir as feeling very “Southern gothic” and I think this is especially true in Williams’ voice.
(Britney narrates only a brief intro. I do wish narrated all of it, as memoirs narrated by the author on audio are especially captivating, but I get that it’s complicated.)
I don’t like to critique the content of memoirs, but in all fairness, I did think some of the pacing felt rushed. For example, Britney’s rise to fame is discussed very matter-of-factly and succinctly, but I imagine there is so much more there than meets the eye when becoming a famous child star. I would have loved to know more about those early fame experiences and “firsts.”
And, while Britney admits to some faults, like being mean and difficult at times, they are a bit glossed over. That being said, I think this is true of most memoirs. It’s the author’s own perspective after all.
It’s a stark contrast to the book Britney wrote with her mom in 2000, Britney Spears’ Heart to Heart, which portrayed Britney to me, as a teen the same age as her, as having the perfect life and the perfect family. It portrayed this so vividly, in fact, that I can still recall its pages clearly and how desperately I wished for such a perfect teenage life.
And, I think all of that is what makes it most worth reading as a whole, beyond merely the shocking revelations pulled from some of the pages.
The Woman in Me did make me teary-eyed at times. Who would have thought that the support of her fans (strangers!) could be what offered her the unconditional love she needed most as a human?!
And, when I asked my Instagram audience how the book left them feeling, I heard words like sad (the most common response), icky, angry, annoyed, and horrified.
It’s hard not to leave the memoir without feeling empathy for Britney. This book makes a statement that celebrities are still human at the end of the day. It was interesting to hear her perspective on highly publicized events come through as a regular human and not some otherworldly super-human.
I remember a time when it felt juicy and salacious to see celebrities doing “normal people” things like getting gas in their car. Now, we should know better and do better.
This memoir takes everything that’s happened in Britney’s life, as well as her family history, and gives it a more balanced and complete context than what’s been depicted in the media all along, while also leaving the reader with a sense of hope for the future.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Britney Spears’s new book is a memoir is called The Woman in Me. It chronicles everything from her rise to fame to her conservatorship.
Britney Spears made several statements about her ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake, in her book, The Woman in Me. The most shocking was that she aborted his baby over two decades ago because Justin “said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young.” She claimed she “never would have done it” if the decision were hers alone, and “it’s one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced in my life.”
Britney Spears’s memoir, The Woman in Me, is primarily narrated by the Oscar-nominated actress, Michelle Williams. Spears narrates a brief introduction.
Britney Spears’s new book, The Woman in Me, is already a controversial and bestselling memoir everyone is talking about, including its shocking revelations about such topics as her teenage abortion of Justin Timberlake’s baby. More than that, though, it’s the first time the public gets to hear Britney’s life story in her words. The result is something well worth reading in full — an account of how fame and generational trauma converged to impact one very famous young woman’s life.
For even more, check out these discussion questions for The Woman in Me.
Lastly, share your thoughts on this jaw-dropping book in the comments below.
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