Written by Staff Writer Matt Cooper, CNN The fallout from the 2004 Britney Spears divorce continues to this day.
Almost 13 years on, the fates of Kevin Federline and Britney Spears still bring back intense, emotional memories of the tabloid era.
According to a recently published book, the pop princess was pregnant — by Federline! — when the couple divorced, and the media drummed up controversy by “rehabbing” Britney — her drunk driving arrest to the days when she was “missing her wedding ring.”
The child, you see, was Spears’ first with Federline.
No baby was born, though, and it wasn’t until the recording artist arrived with baby Jayden James that the world finally met the young woman who would dominate music-themed talk shows for many years to come.
These days, it’s difficult to imagine that the now 40-year-old Britney Spears went through the early-2000s years with either Federline or her long-term relationship with Justin Timberlake — a “CBS Sunday Morning” interview with Britney exclusively about her forthcoming eighth studio album — in the forefront of her mind.
“I just feel like, when you’re a teenager, you know, kind of having everything given to you, it can be very overwhelming,” Spears said, reflecting on what she called a “wild” decade on the pop music scene.
“I mean, I think the pressure for kids is a lot to deal with.”
Her sentence drew a shocked reaction from her interview panel. The pop star was 19 years old when she first rose to fame, just as Timberlake was just 25 when he won his first Grammy at the age of 21.
Booting ‘naughty’ stories
Still, she said that “everybody is grown up” now, and it’s too early to judge her life.
Back in 2004, Britney was a tabloid fixture like few other celebrities before or since.
The comeback of Lindsay Lohan and young actors such as Nicholas Hoult and Dakota Fanning was fed by headlines such as “Where’s Britney?” or the younger “Where’s Shia?” in which the boys were supposedly romantically linked to the pop princess.
This coincided with an era during which celebrity gossip websites such as TMZ and Us Weekly grew into the major players in American morning news shows and such shows broadcast TMZ headlines on their screens for hours at a time.
Memories of this strange news cycle come to mind when we think of the Internet as we stroll down the internet’s hallowed pages.
What’s the reality, then, of social media’s effects on the future of celebrity?
“I think social media has absolutely done more harm than good, because I think the tabloids, they can be very vicious,” Spears said.
“I think it’s kind of sad, because they bully people online and just get to know people’s lives and other stuff that’s not really appropriate, just because it gets them out there. They still have to sell the paper, so I don’t think it’s a good thing.”
That’s how she imagined her decade in the public eye ending — with her personal life. Now, she has another brainchild, to teach others how to be a good citizen on social media.
Britney’s Trust program — its website has 50 different tips on the importance of acting with respect online — believes people should use social media to better themselves as well as uplift those around them.
“It’s for everyone to grow and learn the importance of staying strong and trusting people and turning your back on the negativity in the world,” she said.
“It’s people that might be too needy and too negative on their life and social media’s a great way to open people’s eyes, because most of the time it’s just people being negative and going against social media, saying, ‘It’s going to make me down.’
“So I think it’s really about trusting people, listening to their opinions.”