In 2007, during a challenging phase in her life, Britney Spears made the decision to shave her head, an action that drew significant tabloid attention. The pop star, grappling with a painful divorce at the time, was already a relentless target of paparazzi and gossip columns. Her head-shaving incident only seemed to fuel the narrative that she was becoming unpredictable.
Yet, what was going on in Britney’s mind during that tumultuous period? In her eagerly awaited memoir, “The Woman in Me,” which is scheduled for release on October 24 and is exclusively excerpted in this week’s PEOPLE cover story, Britney Spears reveals her thoughts. She shares, “I’d been scrutinized my whole life, objectified and criticized from my teenage years. Shaving my head and acting out were my ways of pushing back.”
Following a court-ordered conservatorship in 2008, which granted control over her finances and personal matters to her father and a lawyer, Britney was compelled to abandon her new look. She writes, “Under the conservatorship, I was made to understand that those days were now over. I had to grow my hair out, get back into shape, go to bed early, and take whatever medication they told me to take.”
During her nearly 14-year conservatorship, where she recorded and released four successful albums and headlined a Las Vegas residency, Britney Spears appeared to be thriving. However, she was deeply unhappy. She explains, “I would do little bits of creative stuff here and there, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore. As far as my passion for singing and dancing, it was almost a joke at that point. Thirteen years went by with me feeling like a shadow of myself.”
Reflecting on the control her father and his associates had over her body and finances for over a decade, she states, “I think back now on my father and his associates having control over my body and my money for that long, and it makes me feel sick… Think of how many male artists gambled all their money away; how many had substance abuse or mental health issues? No one tried to take away their control over their bodies and money. I didn’t deserve what my family did to me.”
In September 2021, after Britney Spears pleaded with the court to terminate the conservatorship, her father, Jamie, was suspended as her conservator. Two months later, the conservatorship was officially terminated.
With her newfound freedom, Britney Spears decided to tell her story on her own terms. She explains, “Over the past 15 years or even at the start of my career, I sat back while people spoke about me and told my story for me. After getting out of my conservatorship, I was finally free to tell my story without consequences from the people in charge of my life.”
In her upcoming memoir, “The Woman in Me,” she candidly reveals her experiences and details her incredible journey from a teenage superstar to one of the best-selling female artists of all time. Britney emphasizes, “It is finally time for me to raise my voice and speak out, and my fans deserve to hear it directly from me. No more conspiracy, no more lies—just me owning my past, present, and future.”
You can pre-order “The Woman in Me,” which is set to be released on October 24.