Watch CBS News

Britney Spears explains shaving her head after years of being "eyeballed"

Britney Spears opens up in her upcoming memoir about previously unknown details of her life — including an abortion she says she had while dating Justin Timberlake, and her highly scrutinized decision to shave her head at a California hair salon in 2007. 

The choice to shave her head was an act of rebellion, Spears writes, against years of voyeurism and tabloid scrutiny that had targeted her since her meteoric rise to fame in the late 1990s. 

"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," Spears writes in one excerpt from "The Woman In Me."

"Shaving my head and acting out were my ways of pushing back," she says.

Spears says that under a conservatorship that dictated her life for nearly 14 years, as her father and a lawyer controlled everything from the pop star's professional decisions to her finances, she 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," she writes, according to excerpts from the book published by People magazine on Tuesday.

In other excerpts from the book, which is published by Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS News' parent company Paramount Global, Spears recounts more of her experiences under the court-ordered arrangement that gave her father, Jamie Spears, along with an attorney appointed his co-conservator, legal standing to control the most basic aspects of her existence starting in early 2008. 

Spears recalls criticism and body-shaming from her father, which, she says, began in childhood and continued into the conservatorship. The anecdotes harken back to Spears' striking testimony in court in 2021, when she successfully made her case to be free from the order, Spears said the conservatorship and her father's dominion over her were abusive, adding, "I've been in shock. I am traumatized."

In the memoir, which will be published in full next week, Spears writes, "Feeling like you're never good enough is a soul-crushing state of being for a child. He'd [her father] drummed that message into me as a girl, and even after I'd accomplished so much, he was continuing to do that to me."

"I became a robot. But not just a robot — a sort of child-robot. I had been so infantilized that I was losing pieces of what made me feel like myself," she continues. "The conservatorship stripped me of my womanhood, made me into a child. I became more of an entity than a person onstage. I had always felt music in my bones and my blood; they stole that from me."

Spears remembered "feeling like a shadow" of herself under the conservatorship.

"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," she writes. "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."

CBS News has reached out to a representative for Jamie Spears' attorney but did not not immediately hear back.

Spears also says in the book her high-profile romance in the 2000s with Justin Timberlake wasn't what it seemed, and that she had an abortion while they were dating.

"At one point when we were dating, I became pregnant with Justin's baby," she says. "It was a surprise, but for me it wasn't a tragedy. I loved Justin so much ... But Justin definitely wasn't happy about the pregnancy."

CBS News has reached out to representatives for Timberlake for comment but has not yet heard back. 

Additional excerpts from "The Woman In Me" were released Monday by Spears herself.

"My story is yours October 24th," she captioned a video shared on X, formerly known as Twitter. The video itself is fleeting, with a total run time of just 26 seconds. It features a string of quotes taken from the memoir, although the context surrounding them is unclear. 

"My demeanor was innocent — and it wasn't an act. I didn't know what I was doing," one quote reads, while others say, "It felt like I was living on the edge of a cliff," and "I don't want it to be real, this is just a dream."

Wendy Naugle, the editor-in-chief at People magazine, discussed Spears' book Tuesday on "CBS Mornings," saying the star "writes very honestly and painfully in the book that the conservatorship was soul-crushing" and calls it "her attempt to reclaim her own life and her own narrative."

"She would try to be an adult but they wouldn't allow her to be an adult so she would regress into being a child," Naugle said. "Becoming an adult is a process and she was really kind of denied that process of becoming a woman."

Exclusive excerpts from "The Woman in Me" will be available this week on People magazine's platforms as well as "CBS Mornings" leading up to the memoir's release.

Analisa Novak contributed to this article.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.