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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Britney's swing from teen star to mother
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline
Spears married Kevin Federline in September 2004
Britney Spears has come a long way since declaring as a fresh-faced 18-year-old chart-topper that she did not believe in sex before marriage.

Now at the age of 23, she has been wed twice and has given birth to her first child.

Since she crashed into the charts in 1999 with Hit Me Baby One Time, Spears' every move has been monitored and dissected by the world's media.

In September 2004, Spears' second marriage in nine months was another landmark in a frantic career which has seen her personal life overshadow her music.

The singer led a resurgence of teen pop in the US, conquering music markets around the world with four multi-million selling albums.

Shrewd marketing extended Spears' influence beyond the confines of her music, resulting in her widespread - if not particularly deep - impact on popular culture.

Born in Kentwood, Louisiana, on 2 December 1981, Spears appeared in local dance revues and church choirs as a young girl.

Too young

Encouraged by her mother and manager Lynne Spears, she auditioned for US TV series The Mickey Mouse Club aged eight, but was deemed too young to participate.

She then trained with the Professional Performing Arts School Center before finally landing the Mickey Mouse Club presenter role, aged 11.

It was here she worked alongside future boyfriend Justin Timberlake and future pop rival Christina Aguilera.

Britney Spears
Spears started out as a fresh-faced teen star...

Assisted by its Lolita-esque video, her first single Hit Me Baby One More Time rapidly became a global hit and UK chart-topper in 1999.

The Baby One More Time album was similarly successful, spawning a further three hit singles.

Titillating image

The contrast between Spears' professed sexual innocence and her titillating image caused much debate about her status as a role model for teenage girls, raising her profile even further.

Barely a year after the release of her debut album, Spears' second album Oops! I Did It Again surpassed its success.

Britney Spears and Madonna
...but she went on to shock, kissing Madonna on stage
But her public image began to overshadow her music, even as she enlisted acclaimed hip-hop producers The Neptunes on 2001 single I'm A Slave For You.

That same year, her third album presented Spears as maturing young woman, with songs such as the Dido-penned I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.

Spears' sexual maturity was also hinted at in her debut film Crossroads, in which she played Lucy - an aspiring performer who sings along to Britney Spears songs.

But her acting efforts were largely derided, compounded by her refusal to meet fans at the film's London premiere, purportedly on security grounds.

She took a year-long break from music, returning in 2003 to declare she had lost her virginity and sparking scandal with an onstage kiss with Madonna.

Her duet with Madonna - Me Against the Music - failed to top the charts, however, and her experimental fourth album In The Zone earned mixed reviews.

A 2003 UK promotional tour was cut short, citing ill-health.

Britney Spears
Spears' fame has endured since her first hit five years ago

But she was not out of the limelight for long after it emerged she had wed her childhood friend Jason Alexander during a night out in Las Vegas at the start of 2004.

Going down as one of the shortest marriages in showbiz, it was dissolved within 55 hours, with Spears branding it a "joke that had gone too far".

Raunchy video

With her music career in the doldrums, Spears summoned up the power of the medium that first established her as a pop star - the music video.

She embellished album track Toxic with a raunchy video that was promptly banned from daytime broadcast in the US. It sped to number one in the UK and re-established Spears as a pop star, her status confirmed by follow-up hit Everytime.

Spears' recent troubles were not over, however, as a knee injury sustained in a music video shoot forced her to cancel the summer leg of her North American tour.

She became engaged to Kevin Federline, a 26-year-old father-of-two who had been a dancer on the aborted tour, after dating him for six months.

The ceremony in Los Angeles was kept private, wrongfooting even the most tenacious paparazzi, although she did reveal her wedding secrets to a glossy magazine.

Rather than ducking out of the spotlight, Spears and Federline opted to become the stars of their own reality show, airing home videos and calling it a "documentation of their love".

Spears launched an attack on US tabloid magazines after reports she was pregnant, calling them "false and "desperate".

Just two weeks later she confirmed she was pregnant with her first child.




SEE ALSO
Britney 'gives birth to baby boy'
15 Sep 05 |  Entertainment
Britney photographer shot in leg
08 Aug 05 |  Entertainment
Britney marries for second time
20 Sep 04 |  Entertainment
Injured Britney cancels US tour
16 Jun 04 |  Entertainment

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