On December 2, 1981, Britney Spears was born in McComb, MS. Turning 36 today, she is one of the most successful – and headline-grabbing – pop music stars in recent history. She has sold more than 70 million albums in the U.S., scored six No. 1 albums, has had 34 hit songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and nine No. 1 songs on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart. However, since her 1999 meteoric rise to superstardom, Spears has also had her share of personal setbacks. Nevertheless, the iconic pop star continues to land on top, as evidenced by her recent inspiring gym selfies, four-year long Las Vegas residency show grossing over $130 million to date and generous charity work.
From the start, Spears was the epitome of a child star. In 1992, at 11 years old, she was cast alongside Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, and Keri Russell in “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club.” The variety show allowed Spears to showcase her singing and dancing skills that she had been practicing for years. After two seasons on the show, Spears staged her next big move: a pop music career.
After the release of her first single in September 1998, “…Baby One More Time,” and the now iconic music video with her dancing in a barely-there school girl uniform, Spears topped the charts and sold more than 10.6 million copies of her debut album in the U.S. With her 2000 follow up album, “Oops!…I Did It Again,” she hit No. 1 on the charts again, selling 1 million copies within the first week, while still dancing a fine line between her self-proclaimed innocent Southern girl nature and a much racier onstage persona. This was solidified with her 2000 MTV Videos Music Awards performance of “Satisfaction” and “Oops!…I Did It Again,” when she stripped away to a nude-colored and bejeweled costume.
Spears won her first Grammy in 2003 for “Toxic,” but her September 2004 marriage to backup dancer Kevin Federline eclipsed the headlines about her music. She had two children, Sean Preston and Jayden James, with Federline, but then the couple divorced and she suffered from various personal issues, all under the glaring spotlight of an increasingly nosy paparazzi. Despite her struggles in this time period, she put out her song “Piece of Me,” from her 2007 “Blackout” album, in response to the media’s excessive obsession with her personal life: “I’m Miss American Dream since I was seventeen/Don’t matter if I step on the scene…/They still gon’ put pictures of my derriere in the magazine/You want a piece of me?/You want a piece of me.” That same album introduced the world to her now signature catchphrase. “It’s Britney, bitch,” in the song, “Gimme More.”
In 2008, Spears’ chaotic personal life finally settled down. She traded nights out for quiet nights at home with her kids, and she staged her music comeback with her “Circus” album, generating hits like “Womanizer” and “If You Seek Amy.” By 2011, with her sixth No. 1 album, “Femme Fatale,” Spears was mostly drama-free and back in her pop music-making groove. Since then, she’s been a judge on “The X Factor,” released three more albums.
Proof that Spears is still the ultimate pop star, her two-year residency show, Britney: Piece of Me, at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino turned into a four-year residency. She has also been giving back to the Las Vegas community. The recent opening of the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation’s Britney Spears Campus was funded by her donation of $1 million from ticket sales. She also donated a painting in a recent auction to support victims of the tragic October 2017 Las Vegas shooting massacre.
Spears will be wrapping up her Las Vegas show on December 31 and we can’t wait to hear what’s next for her. In the meantime, to honor her 36th birthday, you better “work.”