Britney Spears’ tell-all, “The Woman in Me,” is finally here. In the 275-page memoir, Spears chronicles her journey through pop stardom and her highly publicized conservatorship battle — without skimping on the details.
The book is dedicated to her two sons, but the pop icon penned a special note to her fans in the acknowledgements: “You have my heart and gratitude forever. This book is for you.”
Spears credits her fans with giving her strength in the darkest hours of her fight for freedom. “I don’t think people knew how much the #FreeBritney movement meant to me, especially in the beginning,” she writes.
“I was not okay, not at all. And the fact that my friends and my fans sensed what was happening and did all that for me, that’s a debt I can never repay. If you stood up for me when I couldn’t stand up for myself: from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
Read on for the five biggest revelations from the gripping page-turner.
She was almost in ‘Chicago’ – and has complicated feelings about acting
During her first film, “Crossroads,” Spears says she inadvertently began Method acting. “It’s like a cloud or something came over me and I just became this girl named Lucy.” It took her months to break free of her character’s persona, making her feel somewhat relieved when she lost out on the lead role in “The Notebook” to Rachel McAdams.
“Even though it would have been fun to reconnect with Ryan Gosling after our time on ‘The Mickey Mouse Club,’ I’m glad I didn’t do it. If I had, instead of working on my album ‘In the Zone’ I’d have been acting like a 1940s heiress day and night.”
There is one role she regrets turning down, though. She was offered a part in the 2002 film adaptation of “Chicago” as “a villain who kills a man, and sings and dances while doing it, too.”
“I should’ve done it. I had power back then; I wish I’d used it more thoughtfully, been more rebellious,” she writes. “If only I’d been brave enough not to stay in my safe zone, done more things that weren’t just within what I knew. But I was committed to not rocking the boat, and to not complaining even when something upset me.”
She had an abortion after becoming pregnant with Justin Timberlake’s baby
Spears details the early days of her relationship with Justin Timberlake, from their first kiss at a “Mickey Mouse Club” party to their iconic denim-on-denim looks from the 2001 American Music Awards. She says things weren’t as perfect as they seemed, though, writing, “There were a couple of times in our relationship when I knew Justin had cheated on me.”
She didn’t confront him about the infidelity, but she did have her own tryst with choreographer Wade Robson, dancing and making out with him at a bar. She confessed to Timberlake, and they decided to stay together.
When she became pregnant, Spears says, “It was a surprise, but for me it wasn’t a tragedy,” adding that she always wanted a family with Timberlake. When he didn’t share her enthusiasm, Spears agreed to have an abortion. “If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it. And yet Justin was so sure that he didn’t want to be a father.”
Spears then describes the physical pain of the abortion in detail, calling it “one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced.”
Timberlake went on to break up with Spears via text message while she was on the set of the “Overprotected” Darkchild remix music video.
She had a two-week fling with Colin Farrell
After her breakup with Justin Timberlake, Spears set her sights on Colin Farrell. She found out he would be filming nearby, so she crashed the set of “S.W.A.T.”
“We would up having a two-week brawl. Brawl is the only word for it – we were all over each other, grappling so passionately it was like we were in a street fight.”
Spears writes that she tried to convince herself that the tryst wasn’t a big deal, but, she adds, “For a brief moment in time I did think there could be something there.”
Her Diane Sawyer interview was a “breaking point”
Spears was told by her team that she’d be expected to speak with Diane Sawyer on the couch in her apartment, much to her chagrin: “I’d often retreated to my apartment to be alone; now I was being forced to speak to Diane Sawyer there and cry in front of the entire nation.”
Spears wasn’t told any of the “100 percent embarrassing” questions ahead of time. “I shouldn’t have been forced to speak on national TV, forced to cry in front of this stranger, a woman who was relentlessly going after me with harsh question after harsh question. Instead, I felt like I had been exploited, set up in front of the whole world.”
She calls the interview “a breaking point for me internally,” musing that growing on her own would have been a better way to heal than airing out her issues publicly. “But I had no choice. It seemed like nobody really cared how I felt.”
She was “really let down” by sister Jamie Lynn, but is “working to feel more compassion” with her
When she was held in a mental health facility for months under her conservatorship, she texted younger sister Jamie Lynn asking to help get her out. “Stop fighting it. There’s nothing you can do about it, so stop fighting it,” she responded.
When Britney returned from the facility, Jamie Lynn pitched her on joint projects, including a sister talk show, a sitcom and a rom-com.
Once the conservatorship ended, Britney felt “betrayed” by her family. “My sister and I should have found comfort in each other, but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case. As I was fighting the conservatorship and receiving a lot of press attention, she was writing a book capitalizing on it. She rushed out salacious stories about me, many of them hurtful and outrageous. I was really let down.”
Britney acknowledges Jamie Lynn’s own struggles, from growing up as a child of divorce to her daughter’s near-fatal accident. “She will always be my sister, and I love her and her beautiful family,” she writes. “I’m working to feel more compassion than anger toward her and toward everyone who I feel has wronged me. It’s not easy.”