- Britney Spears has been in the limelight for 20 years now.
- She first jumped into our hearts with her first single “Baby One More Time.”
- There is a lot going on with the Princess of pop, here are the things you probably didn’t know about her.
She’s been one of the most famous pop stars in the world ever since the release of her debut single, “…Baby One More Time,” in 1998, but there are still plenty of things about Britney Spears that even longtime fans might not know.
Spears has had a music career that spans more than two decades and continues to influence artists of all genres, but these little-known facts will surprise even those who think they know everything about the princess of pop.
These are the 24 most surprising facts about Britney Spears, from the famous royal she almost dated to the one thing in her career she regrets the most.
She started out as a dancer and a gymnast.
Though she’s one of the top-selling pop artists of all time, the “Everytime” singer is also known for her impressive dance skills. And it’s all because of her background in gymnastics and dance, which she honed from an early age, performing in local talent competitions and recitals.
In 1999, she told Variety that she travelled an hour from her home to take dance lessons and also studied at the Off-Broadway Dance Center in New York City, which helped prepare her for touring the globe as a teen idol.
These days, she shows off her gymnastic skills both onstage and on social media, posting Instagram videos of her intense workouts and gravity-defying dance routines.
She made her singing debut at the ripe old age of 5.
In 1999, Spears told Rolling Stone that she began singing into a hairbrush at just 2-years-old, before making her stage debut singing “What Child Is This” at her kindergarten graduation. She told the magazine, “I found out what I’m supposed to do at an early age.”
At first, she was actually rejected from “The All New Mickey Mouse Club.”
Spears famously starred on the Disney Channel’s “All New Mickey Mouse Club” alongside fellow celebrities like Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, Justin Timberlake, and JC Chasez, but she was actually rejected from the show at first, only because she was too young at the time.
She was 8 years old at her first audition, so the casting directors told her to continue studying acting, singing, and dancing before she made her triumphant return to the teen variety show two years later.
In that time, she starred in TV commercials, appeared on “Star Search,” and studied at New York’s Professional Performing Arts School for three summers, according to her 1999 interviews with both Variety and Rolling Stone.
She made her way to off-Broadway where she and Natalie Portman shared the same understudy role.
Just before her big break on “The All New Mickey Mouse Club,” Spears landed an understudy role in “Ruthless! The Musical” In 2014, the show’s book writer and lyricist Joel Paley told The New York Post about meeting Spears, who stepped in as understudy to Laura Bell Bundy.
“We thought, ‘We’re never going to find another [girl] – we’re really screwed,’ ” says Paley. “And that’s when we found Britney Spears.”The 10-year-old had “singing, dancing, acting, [plus] confidence and a great mum,” and stayed on for eight months before Portman stepped in to fill her shoes.
The two formed a close friendship in later years, even co-hosting a New Year’s Eve party in 2002. Spears is such a fan of Portman’s that in 2013 when a fan on Twitter asked who she’d have played her in a movie about her life, she said Portman.
Her earliest influences were Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston, but she envisioned herself emulating Sheryl Crow.
Plenty of current artists openly admit that they’re inspired by Spears and her legacy, but Spears herself looked up to Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston.
The first audition tape that landed her a deal with Jive Records was a performance of “I Have Nothing” by Houston, and she told Variety she “really admired” both her and Jackson.
But pop music wasn’t her initial direction – in fact, she told Rolling Stone in 1999 that she envisioned herself singing “Sheryl Crow music, but younger – more adult contemporary,” but agreed with her label’s decision to go more pop, revealing, “It made more sense to go pop, because I can dance to it – it’s more me.”
She started her career in a girl group before branching out on her own.
In the late ’90s, pop bands were all the rage, from girl groups like TLC and the Spice Girls to boy bands like Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, but few know that Spears herself actually started out in a band, a pop group called Innosense.
According to The New York Times, the Orlando-based group was meant to be “an American version of the Spice Girls,” but Spears had big solo aspirations, and left to carve out her solo career.
At 17, she saw herself having children “within four years.”
She might have been on her way to pop superstardom, but a 17-year-old Spears always knew she wanted to start a family.
“I’m really happy with what I’m doing right now, but four years from now, I definitely want to have a family and children and settle down,” she told Variety in 1999. She had her first child, Sean Preston, at 23.
Her only big screen starring role, “Crossroads,” was written by Shonda Rhimes and was nearly titled “Not a Girl.”
The “Toxic” singer finally got to flex her acting chops on the big screen in 2002’s “Crossroads,” where she starred alongside Zoe Saldana and Taryn Manning as childhood best friends embarking on a post-graduation road trip together.
True fans will know that “Crossroads,” which was maligned by critics but beloved by fans, was written by Shonda Rhimes, who would go on to become one of the biggest showrunners in TV history, creating hit series such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “How To Get Away with Murder,” and more.
According to The Guardian, the tentative title for “Crossroads” was actually “Not a Girl,” inspired by the ballad “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” which appeared in the film and on her third album, “Britney.”
As far as the critical response to the film, Spears has a surprising reaction.
When The Telegraph asked the “Make Me” singer about her biggest career regrets in 2013, she looked “suddenly outraged” and clutched her hand to her heart, shouting, “No! I like Crossroads! F— you!” before laughing.
Spears also paid homage to the film in her 2011 music video for “I Wanna Go,” in which a film marquee advertising “Crossroads 2: Cross Harder” can be seen in the background.
And after Saldana praised Spears and her acting abilities in a 2014 interview with Andy Cohen, Spears tweeted a GIF from the film, thanking Saldana for the kind words and adding, “Truly the sweetest … Nothing but great memories of working w u. Crossroads pt 2?” proving that the stars of the film have nothing but love for each other.
She said she wanted to act more and was even being considered for roles in shows like “Dawson’s Creek” and “Freaks and Geeks,” as well as “Grease 3,” which never happened.
At the height of her musical success, Spears had acting on the brain. According to Entertainment Weekly, the teen star inked a development deal with the studio behind “Dawson’s Creek.” She was also slated to appear in other teen shows like “Freaks and Geeks” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” but her immense popularity never materialised into a TV career.
In a 2000 interview with Rolling Stone, she revealed that producers came calling for a role in “Grease 3,” and she said, “I really want to get into films.”
She auditioned for “The Notebook” with fellow “Mickey Mouse Club” alum Ryan Gosling.
Gosling ultimately starred alongside Rachel McAdams in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ tragic love story, but according to Entertainment Tonight,Spears auditioned to play the leading role of Allie Calhoun.
The two famously had a mini “Mickey Mouse Club” reunion on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2018, revealing that it’d been “years” since they saw each other.
She calls reality TV “the worst thing” she’s ever done in her career.
True fans remember, but most people forget that Spears had her own reality show with then-husband Kevin Federline in 2005. “Britney and Kevin: Chaotic” was short-lived, but the pop icon doesn’t seem to have fond memories of the UPN docuseries.
“I would never do something like that again,” she told The Telegraph in 2013. “Actually, that was really bad. That was probably the worst thing I’ve done in my career.”
In 2012, she became the highest-paid reality TV judge of all time.
She did make one exception to reality TV, joining the first US season of “The X Factor” in 2012. At the time, Spears negotiated a huge paycheck for her single-season run – to the tune of a reported $US15 million, which made her the highest-paid celebrity judge on a reality show in TV history.
Spears was knocked from her reality throne in 2018, when Katy Perry earned a reported $US25 million salary for ABC’s “American Idol” reboot.
The “…Baby One More Time” video almost had a “Power Rangers” theme.
Spears’ debut single has become one of the most iconic music videos of all time, but it turns out the schoolgirl outfit and hallway dance break almost never happened.
Director Joseph Khan showed Spears an animated storyboard he’d envisioned, and she told Rolling Stone in 1999, “They had this really bizarre video idea, this animated Power Ranger-y thing. I said, ‘This is not right. If you want me to reach 4-year-olds, then OK, but if you want me to reach my age group …’ So I had this idea where we’re in school and bored out of our minds, and we have Catholic uniforms on. And I said, ‘Why don’t we have knee-highs and tie the shirts up to give it a little attitude?’ – so it wouldn’t be boring and cheesy.”
She also fought to wear the red catsuit in “Oops! I Did It Again.”
Even at the earliest stages of her career, Spears had a strong vision for her music videos. She told MTV in 2000 that the outer space-inspired video for “Oops! I Did It Again” was “all her idea,” adding, “I want to be dancing on Mars … I want to be in a red jumpsuit. I want to have a really cute spaceman, but there can’t be any rockets.'”
Of the red catsuit, which would go on to become one of her most iconic video looks, director Nigel Dick told MTV, “There was another catsuit, actually, which was fantastic, which I loved, and the night before, I was told that Britney hired this guy that worked with Michael Jackson. And so we’re going to use that [red] catsuit. So that’s the catsuit.”
But her favourite of her own music videos might surprise fans.
In her two-decade career, she’s made plenty of iconic music videos, but her personal favourite will probably surprise fans. In 2011, Spears told Harper’s Bazaar that her favourite video is the clip for “Overprotected (Darkchild Remix).”
She said, “I just think it says a lot. It was directed so well, it was really colourful, and the dancing was amazing.”
Prince William reportedly ghosted her.
Justin Timberlake is arguably her most famous ex, but apparently, Spears could’ve potentially been British royalty. Rumours circulated that she’d been dating Prince William before linking up with the *NSYNC crooner, with People magazine reporting in 2002 that she’d been “quite friendly” with the young royal.
In a 2002 interview, Spears spilled the details, telling host Frank Skinner, “Yeah, it was just like, all blown out of proportion – we exchanged emails for a little bit, and he was supposed to come and see me somewhere, but it didn’t work out.” When he asked if she was “blown out by Prince William,” Spears answered, “Yeah.”
With 24 fragrances in 15 years, Spears has amassed a billion dollar perfume empire.
Sure, she has been the face of many endorsement deals and campaigns over the years, but few are as sweet as the success of her perfume empire, a billion-dollar business that includes 24 fragrances since the release of her first perfume, Curious, in 2004.
A Revlon rep told InStyle magazine that her concoctions have made more than $US1 billion in sales, with The Hollywood Reporter revealing back in 2013 that Curious was one of the best-selling celebrity fragrances of all time, having sold more than 500 million bottles, with Spears’s fragrance line reaching $US30 million in sales each year.
One failed business venture, however, included a restaurant in New York City.
Not everything that Spears touches turns to gold, though. In 2002, Spears opened Nyla in New York City, the name is a homage to New York and her home state of Louisiana.
The restaurant was open for a matter of months before Spears parted ways with management, according to MTV News.
Some of her biggest hits — including “Toxic,” “…Baby One More Time,” and “I’m a Slave 4 U” were meant for other artists.
According to Billboard, the debut single that put Spears on the path to global pop domination was actually meant for TLC, but the R&B group scrapped it, so it went to Spears.
Similarly, execs wanted Kylie Minogue to record “Toxic,” which she seems to have regretted. In a 2008 interview, she reportedly said of the song, “I listened to a snippet of it in the record company offices and decided against it. It’s like the fish that got away. You just have to accept it.”
Billboard also reported that “I’m a Slave 4 U” was intended for Spears’s musical idol, Jackson, who passed on the soon-to-be hit song.
And one of her biggest hits was inspired by a fellow pop star.
“Hold It Against Me” kicked off the “Femme Fatale” era in 2011, and songwriter Bonnie McKee actually admitted that the sensual, steamy lyrics were inspired by none other than Katy Perry.
In 2017, a fan asked McKee about the song on Twitter, and she replied by saying, “The inspiration for [Britney Spears]’s song ‘Hold it Against Me’ was [Katy Perry]’s babely bod. True story.”
There’s likely an entire lost album that was never released.
Most artists have recorded music that never leaves the cutting room floor, but in the case of Spears, there is a bit of mystery surrounding some of hers.
In a 2004 radio interview on KIIS-FM, Spears revealed she was halfway done with a new album, which she called “Original Doll.” She played a snippet from a new song, “Mona Lisa,” but the song was never sent to radio, and the album never materialised.
Fans have continued to clamor for the lost album, as well as other hard-to-find limited releases that have existed throughout her career, but as for “Mona Lisa,” Spears called it her “alter ego.” In a 2005 appearance on MTV’s “Total Request Live,” she reportedly said, “I kinda think she’s like my alter ego whenever I feel like being mean or possibly like bustin’ people around to get stuff right … It’s kinda easier to be called ‘Mona Lisa’ instead of Britney.”
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