The pop icon opens up about the alleged body-shaming she faced from Jamie Spears in her new memoir, ‘The Woman in Me’
Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears; Britney Spears
Jamie Spears; Britney Spears. PHOTO: VALERIE MACON/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES; IMAGE GROUP LA/DISNEY CHANNEL VIA GETTY IMAGES
Britney Spears spent years under dad Jamie’s watchful eye as part of her conservatorship — and now says that she was body-shamed during the difficult time.
In an excerpt from her highly anticipated new memoir The Woman in Me, shared exclusively with PEOPLE, Spears writes that she lost what little autonomy she had over her own body during the conservatorship and alleges that Jamie made hurtful comments about her weight.
“I’d been eyeballed so much growing up, I’d been looked up and down, had people telling me what they thought of my body, since I was a teenager. Shaving my head and acting out were my ways of pushing back,” she writes. “But under the conservatorship I was made to understand that those days were now over. I had to grow my hair out and get back into shape. I had to go to bed early and take whatever medication they told me to take.”
Spears, 41, continues: “If I thought getting criticized about my body in the press was bad, it hurt even more from my own father. He repeatedly told me I looked fat and that I was going to have to do something about it.”
Britney Spears in 2003. MARTIN SCHOELLER / AUGUST
The “Hold Me Closer” singer says she quickly lost the creative spark she’d had for singing and dancing, and blames Jamie, 71.
“Feeling like you’re never good enough is a soul-crushing state of being for a child,” she writes. “He’d drummed that message into me as a girl, and even after I’d accomplished so much, he was continuing to do that to me.”
Spears writes that living under the conservatorship made her a “robot,” and that she felt “stripped” of her womanhood.
“If they’d let me live my life, I know I would’ve followed my heart and come out of this the right way and worked it out,” she writes in the book. “Thirteen years went by with me feeling like a shadow of myself. 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.”
The Spears family in 2003. KEVIN MAZUR ARCHIVE 1/WIREIMAGE
The Grammy winner was put under her conservatorship in 2008. Jamie was eventually removed from his role as Spears’s estate conservator in September 2021 after the singer’s lawyer asked the court to suspend him, and the entire conservatorship was eventually terminated that November.
Britney Spears on the cover of PEOPLE. BRITNEY BRANDS
Though Spears has claimed that life under her father’s charge was a traumatic, controlling period, Jamie has repeatedly maintained that he was acting in his daughter’s best interest.
“I love my daughter with all my heart and soul,” he told the Daily Mail in a 2022 interview. “They’ve heard the allegations from Britney. I don’t mind taking that beating because I know it’s not true, and because I don’t want to start something else.”
Britney Spears’ The Woman in Me.
As for why now is the right time to tell her story, Spears tells PEOPLE in a new interview over email that upon leaving her conservatorship, she finally feels “free” to speak openly without fear of “consequences from the people in charge of my life.”
“It is finally time for me to raise my voice and speak out. And my fans deserve to hear it directly from me,” she adds. “No more conspiracy, no more lies — just me owning my past, present and future.”
The Woman in Me is available for pre-order. It will be released on Oct. 24 through Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.