- Britney Spears life steps
Mini-Mouse PackSpears, 11, lands a cast spot on the New Mickey Mouse Club, where she performs with Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling and Justin Timberlake. Timberlake will later become her first public romance.
Proper Dress CodeSpears releases the video for ". . . Baby One More Time," in which she wears a schoolgirl's uniform and knotted shirt, revealing her midriff. "The outfits looked kind of dorky, so I was like, 'Let's tie up our shirts and be cute,'" she tells PEOPLE. The following spring, Spears, 17, poses in hot pants and a push-up bra for her first Rolling Stone cover.
Like Mother, Like DaughterAfter losing the Best New Artist Grammy award to pop rival Christina Aguilera, Spears and her mom release a coauthored memoir, Heart to Heart. "I'm living proof that you can succeed, no matter where you're from or how little you have," she writes. The two write another book together, A Mother's Gift, released in 2001.
Oops! Brit Does it AgainSpears' album, Oops! … I Did It Again debuts at No. 1 and sells more than 1 million copies in its first week. The title track touts the now-famous lyrics "I'm not that innocent."
Pop Power CoupleSpears and singer Timberlake go public with their romance when they sit together at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York. During the show, Spears performs a medley of her hit "Oops!...I Did It Again" and "Satisfaction" in a sequined, flesh-colored outfit.
Snake on a Pop StarSpears drapes a 7-ft. albino python around her shoulders during a performance of "I'm a Slave 4 U" at the MTV Video Music Awards. The python is so "sticky" and "slimy," she tells EW, that she breaks into hives after she touches it the first time. Her third album, Britney, makes her the first female artist to have three albums debut at No. 1.
Bye-Bye-ByeEnding weeks of speculation, Spears confirms that she and Timberlake are no longer seeing each other. "[The breakup] was horrible. Very upsetting and it took a lot out of me. He was my first real love, and I doubt I'll ever be able to love anyone like that ever again," Spears tells PEOPLE. "But I'd rather spend two days with my soulmate than the rest of my life with some guy who doesn't mean as much."
'I'm Not That Innocent'In a W magazine cover story, Spears poses like a designer-clad lap dancer, and admits to kissing actor Colin Farrell and losing her much publicized virginity to Timberlake. "I thought he was the one," the pop star says to the magazine. "But I was wrong!" On August 28, the pop princess and her pop peer Aguilera famously kiss pop queen Madonna during a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Sweet SuccessSpears releases her album In The Zone, and the single "Toxic" goes on to win a Grammy for best dance recording. Despite her commercial success, this is Spears' first Grammy win.
Vegas StyleSpears weds childhood friend Jason Alexander in a Las Vegas ceremony, but the marriage is annulled after 55 hours. Spears tells Today's Matt Lauer it was an act of rebellion, prompted by a demanding performance schedule.
New RomancePhotographers snap Spears leaving the Beverly Hills Hotel with Kevin Federline, a backup dancer, and reports declare they're a couple. Shar Jackson, Federline's girlfriend, who is pregnant with his second child, tells PEOPLE, "This just isn't right."
I Do, Part TwoSpears and Federline marry in a surprise ceremony at a private home in Studio City, Calif. The wedding is planned for Oct. 16, but as press attention grows, the couple invite 27 friends and family members to what they pretend is an engagement party. Spears wears a $26,000 strapless silk gown by designer Monique Lhuillier. She describes the wedding as "my fairy tale dream."
Must-See TV?A month after the couple announces they are expecting their first child together, their six-episode show Britney and Kevin: Chaotic debuts on UPN. The show, which barely makes a blip in the Nielsen ratings, chronicles the beginnings of the couple's relationship prior to their 2004 wedding.
Bouncing Baby BoySpears gives birth to son Sean Preston by C-section. He weighs 6-lb. 11-oz. While still pregnant, Spears told PEOPLE, "I find being pregnant empowering. I think it brings out a pure side of you, and I think that's cool."
Getaway DriverWhen photos are published of Spears driving with 5-month-old son Sean Preston on her lap, critics question her parenting skills. She says she did the same thing with her dad as a child ("I'd sit on his lap and he'd drive. We're country," she tells NBC's Matt Lauer). "I love my baby more than anything and as unfortunate an experience as this has been for me and my family, if it brings more attention to child safety then I fully support that," she tells PEOPLE.
Belly-Baring MomNot one to let pregnancy inspire modesty, a dark-haired Spears, who is pregnant with her second child, appears nude on the August cover of Harper's Bazaar. "It made me want to cry a little bit, doing these photos," she says. "I started feeling like myself again." On Sept. 12, Spears welcomes son Jayden James. "It just kind of happened," Spears tells PEOPLE of the second pregnancy.
K-Fed Becomes Fed-ExAfter dropping in on David Letterman at the Late Show looking like her former, sexy self and wearing a short black dress and blonde bob, Spears files for divorce from Federline, citing "irreconcilable differences." While he continues on his promotional tour, she's spotted out and about in Manhattan. She is also seen partying in L.A. and Las Vegas with Paris Hilton.
Rollercoaster RehabSpears goes back into rehab after checking in and out within just a few days. She checked out of the Malibu rehab center she entered a day earlier after a weekend of clubbing and shaving her head. On March 20, she is released from the Promises Malibu Treatment Center after completing its program during her one-month stay.
Brit & K-Fed's Custody BattleAfter their divorce is finalized, Federline files for primary physical custody of their two boys and subpoenas Spears' friend Alli Sims, bodyguard Daimon Shippen and former assistant Shannon Funk to testify about her parenting skills. In September, a judge rules that Spears must undergo random drug testing, meet with a "parenting coach" twice a week, and with Federline complete a program called "Parenting Without Conflict." A few weeks later, she loses temporary custody of her boys.
Brit's Comeback?Spears releases her comeback single, "Gimme More," to strong reviews, kicking off her upcoming album. But when the pop star opens the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, her live performance is a bust. The New York Times says of Spears, "She didn't disappoint; she was awful. Visibly nervous, she tottered around the stage, dancing tentatively and doing nothing that sounded or looked like real live singing." The following week, her managem
Britney's BlackoutOne day after Spears is ordered to pay $120,000 in lawyer fees for Federline, her new album Blackout receives critical approval and strong early sales. It sells 290,000 copies in its first week, entering at No.2 on Billboard's 200 album chart.
Britney in CrisisAfter appearing late to court regarding her custody battle with Federline, Spears locks herself in a room with her youngest son Jayden at her L.A. home and refuses to hand him over to Federline. After a four-hour standoff, Spears is taken out on a gurney (left) and hospitalized for mental evaluation. Custody of the children, Preston, 2, and Jayden, 1, is transferred to Federline (In July, Federline retains sole custody). Less than 24 hours later, Spears, who is reportedly diagnosed as bipolar, is released from the hospital.
Lynne & Jamie to the RescueSpears is hospitalized again for psychiatric evaluation. "She went willingly. It was like something in her heart was telling her she should go. She knew something was wrong," constant confidant Sam Lutfi tells PEOPLE. But Spears' parents, Jamie and Lynne, battle Lutfi over who decides what is best for Spears. On Feb. 1, Jamie gains legal control over his daughter's affairs, and they are granted a restraining order against Lutfi – who Lynne claims used drugs and insults to control Spears. On Feb. 6, Spears is released early from the UCLA psych ward.
Britney's Steady ReturnBritney's back at work! Despite the drama in her life, Spears makes a guest appearance on CBS's How I Met Your Mother. The pop star plays a receptionist that falls for one of the show's main characters, played by Josh Radnor (left). "She was hilarious in the table-read, and I got to see her do the run-through as well, and she was great," says cast member Jason Segel. In May, Spears, who reportedly reunites with manager Larry Rudolph, reprises her HIMYM role to strong reviews.
Britney's VMA ComebackIn a vintage silver Versace minidress, Spears makes her triumphant return to the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, where she wins three Moonmen, including Video of the Year, Best Female Video and Best Pop Video, all for her hit "Piece of Me." After winning her first VMA ever, Spears dedicates the award to her fans. "This is for you," she says.
Brit's CircusSpears covers Rolling Stone on the verge of her album release and the premiere of her MTV documentary. In the revealing interview, she discusses recording Circus–which tops the charts and sells more than 500,000 copies–and the importance of being a mom. "They're starting to learn words like 'stupid,' and Preston says the f-word now sometimes," Spears tells the magazine. "He doesn't get it from us. He must get it from his daddy."
Mixing Business with PleasureSpears begins dating her agent Jason Trawick, a source confirms to PEOPLE. "They're very sweet together," the source says, adding that Spears "always had a crush" on him. "Her dad loves him. He's the best thing that happened to her."
O-M-Glee!FOX's musical hit Glee pays homage to Spears with its "Britney/Brittany" episode, which earns the show its best-ever rating among adults 18-49. "Watching Baby brings back so many memories. Feels like yesterday," the singer, who appears as herself, a teacher and a cheerleader in the show, Tweets while watching a rendition of her first hit "Baby One More Time."