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Your Much-Needed SparkNotes For Britney Spears’ Memoir, 'The Woman in Me'

Beloved Pop Princess and true survivor Britney Spears is finally releasing her very anticipated memoir, The Woman in Me, October 24. Though we have to wait a wee bit longer before we can get our hands on it, much has already been spilled via Britney herself in bombshell excerpts. This lil’ sampler platter of tea, if you will, reveals all sorts of behind-the-scenes drama and insight into Britney’s life.

Included are details of her strained relationship with her parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears, background on iconic moments in her career a la Crossroads and pivotal performances, and vulnerable moments, like the headline-making reveal of her abortion while dating Justin Timberlake. More is sure to be divulged in the coming weeks, but here’s everything we know so far about The Woman in Me.

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Britney Had An Abortion While Dating Justin Timberlake

Calling it “one of the most agonizing things [she’s] ever experienced in [her] life,” Britney writes that while she and Justin were dating, she had an abortion. Though she says she was ready to have children, calling it a “surprise” but not a tragedy, Justin was not. Britney writes, “He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young.” Britney and Justin dated from 1999 to 2002. 

She Revealed Why She Shaved Her Head

Feeling the weight of stardom and constant paparazzi harassment, Britney infamously shaved her head in 2007. She says, “Shaving my head and acting out were my ways of pushing back.” From her divorce to the narrative being spun that she was out of control and displaying erratic behavior, Britney reveals the intensity of being so publicly scrutinized, writing, “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.”

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“Banana” The Yellow Snake From Her Infamous VMA Performance Was Not So Cuddly After All

We all remember Britney’s iconic VMA moments, and one of the biggest was her 2001 performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U.” Turns out, the albino Burmese python named Banana was not too pleased being on the VMA’s stage. “The plan was for me to sing ‘I’m a Slave 4 U,’ and we decided I would use a snake as a prop. It’s become an iconic moment in VMAs history, but it was even more terrifying than it appeared,” Brit says, continuing, “In my head I was saying, Just perform, just use your legs and perform. But what nobody knows is that as I was singing, the snake brought its head right around to my face, right up to me, and started hissing.” Nope!

Her Mother Lynne Spears Allowed Her To Drink Daiquiris in 8th Grade

Britney speaks candidly about her experiences drinking with her mother as early as eighth grade during road trips to Biloxi, Mississippi. “For fun, starting when I was in eighth grade, my mom and I would make the two-hour drive from Kentwood to Biloxi, Mississippi, and while we were there, we would drink daiquiris,” she says. “We called our cocktails ‘toddies.’ She continues that in comparison to her dad Jamie’s reaction to drinking, (becoming more “depressed and shut down”) she had fun imbibing with her mother, saying they became “happier, more alive and adventurous.”

During Her Conservatorship, Her Father Repeatedly Body Shamed Her

Speaking of Britney’s father, she speaks of his repeated body shaming during the time of her conservatorship, writing, “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’s conservatorship lasted for 13 years from 2008-2021.

She’s Glad She Didn’t Do The Notebook

Britney reflects on the role-that-almost-was in her memoir , detailing how it came down to her and Rachel McAdams for the coveted casting of Allie Hamilton in The Notebookeven 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,” she says. She describes “going method” for her role in Crossroads and realizing she lost herself in the process.  Britney explains that in the end, she was glad she didn’t get the lead in The Notebook: “I was relieved… Living that way, being half yourself and half a fictional character, is messed up. After a while you don’t know what’s real anymore.”

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She’s Not Narrating The Audio Book

Personally, I’m very sad we won’t hear Britney herself narrate the audiobook version of The Woman in Me, but it’s a silver-lining that an Oscar-nominated actress is doing the job instead. Michelle Williams was selected by Britney to voice the book. But don’t worry, we’ll still get to hear some Brit directly: She’ll be reading the introduction to the book. At the end of the day, Brit decided it’d be too hard for her to relive these deeply emotional experiences: “This book has been a labor of love and all the emotions that come with it. Reliving everything has been exciting, heart-wrenching, and emotional, to say the least. For those reasons, I will only be reading a small part of my audiobook.”

Eva Morreale
Eva Morreale
Eva Morreale is a Jersey girl based in Los Angeles. She has an encyclopedia-like knowledge of Sex and the City, the Real Housewives franchise, and always carries Tums. You can follow her whereabouts on IG @evapants or subscribe to her newsletter Fries for the Table (