Friday, 2 December 2011

Britney Turns 30: Her Life in Pictures

Britney turns 30: her life in pictures

Britney was on American TV screens from 1993 as a member of The Mickey Mouse Club alongside Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling, but she first came to our attention at age 16 when she dressed up as a saucy schoolgirl for the Baby... One More Time video.

We pay tribute to the best of Britney in our photo gallery, charting her incredible rise and shocking descent through motherhood, heartbreak, the divorce courts and rehab. But thankfully, she's ready to embrace her 30s with her career back on track, a steady relationship and a healthy attitude to life.

Worldwide adoration quickly followed the success of Baby... One More Time, and her debut album became the highest selling album by a teenager in history. Everyone wanted a piece of Britney, and we mean everyone. For a while she seemed to be coping well with her fame - she lived up to her squeaky clean image and went back to her family home in Louisiana whenever she could.
Her private life was going well too - Britney started dating Justin Timberlake just before she hit the big time and they became the uber-couple of the moment.
In 2000 it became obvious the girl was growing up - her songs became a little sexier, outfits were raunchier and the props were bloomin' ridiculous! This performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards was the first time the star had received widespread criticism, not just for cavorting with a live snake but for her sexually-suggestive outfit and dance moves.
Britney had her fair share of fashion faux pas, but they just served to make fans love her more. But as time went on it seemed that the less Britney wore, the fewer records she sold, so she tried to bounce back with a role in the wholesome movie Crossroads. It flopped.
That's when things started to go horribly wrong for Ms Spears. Following a very public break-up with Justin, Britney struggled to adjust to single life and burst into tears during a live interview on American TV.
Less than two months later, at 22, Britney married her childhood friend Jason Alexander at a 24-hour chapel in Las Vegas. The marriage was annulled a little over two days later, but it was the first real sign that she was struggling to cope with her massive fame.
Newly-single and in the mood to rebel, Britney had a fling with Colin Farrell before she settled on one of her backing dancers, Kevin Federline. They went public in April 2004, after he'd sorted out the small issue of a girlfriend, baby daughter and another on the way.
Britney fell pregnant quickly and they got hitched, but she was seen in public with Kevin less and less. He was busy launching an ill-advised rap career so she had plenty of practice at being a single mum before she officially became one...
After having two sons in quick succession, she filed for divorce from K-Fed in December 2006; they'd only been married for two years.
Britney began to go off the rails and her self-destructive behaviour was worrying friends, family and fans alike. Around this time, the troubled singer sacked her entire staff.
Britney was constantly surrounded by dubious hangers on such as Sam Lutfi, pictured left of the star in this photo, who claimed to be her new manager. Britney's father eventually got a restraining order against Lufti, prohibiting him from having any contact with the singer.
She was also a constant fixture at Vegas nightclubs such as Pure at Caesars Palace, alongside new BFF Paris Hilton and, on this occasion, P Diddy.
But despite her erratic behaviour, no one was prepared for this. After her family staged an intervention, Britney checked into rehab but checked out one day later, drove to a hairdressing salon and shaved her own head.
The troubled star lost custody of her children in October 2007 and hit rock bottom early the following year when she refused to hand back the boys after a visit. She was sectioned under the mental health act and spent a week in hospital.
Britney spent much of 2007 and 2008 in court, either battling for joint custody of her sons or being informed of details concerning her father's conservatorship, which put him in charge of her financial affairs. Of course, everywhere she went, the paparazzi followed.
Britney's comeback, at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, came too soon. Her performance of Piece Of Me was lacklustre, nothing like the Britney of old, and was panned by the critics. Her Circus album and world tour also received mixed reviews as the star stuggled to get back to her best.
We're happy to say that a few years on, Britney's back winning gongs such as the recent MTV Video Vanguard Award, and is holding her own against pop contemporaries like Lady Gaga, who said the 'industry wouldn't be the same without her'.
She's found love again too, with her former manager Jason Trawick, and reports say an engagement announcement could come at any moment. Happy birthday, Britney!

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