It’s safe to say iconic pop singer Britney Spears has faced her fair share of challenges. She recently published a memoir titled “The Woman in Me,” which delves into her tumultuous past, including her relationships, media downfall, and a 13-year-long conservatorship. Given Spears’ immense fame and influence, her revelations in the memoir could potentially spark significant public relations controversies for those mentioned in the book.

Toxic Conservatorship

A California court originally placed Spears under a conservatorship in 2008 because of incidents such as shaving her head and attacking the paparazzi. For 13 years, Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, had complete financial and personal control over his adult daughter. Spears discussed the court-ordered conservatorship in her memoir, “I had been so infantilized that I was losing pieces of what made me feel like myself,” she wrote, adding the “conservatorship stripped me of my womanhood” and “made me into a child.”

The legendary performer also accused her father of exploiting her for financial gain and using her for “cash flow.” Spears went on to write about how her father once told her, “I’m Britney Spears now.” 

Throughout her years in the limelight, Spears has faced numerous mental health struggles, all while the media has shown little regard for her privacy.

Could the conservatorship have been prevented? Probably not. Nevertheless, had Spears enlisted the support of a committed PR team capable of handling her immense fame, they could have provided some protection from the relentless media scrutiny.

Spears needed someone to keep her out of the media spotlight. With a good strategy to replenish her image, the singer could still be performing today with an immense amount of fans.

Spears’ journey is a stark reminder of what can transpire without a loyal PR team. Despite this, she manages to stay relevant in pop culture. One can only wonder what kind of star Spears could have become had her image been better cared for by her team.

Not That Innocent

A bombshell was revealed in Spears’ memoir regarding her relationship with Justin Timberlake in the early 2000s. Spears claimed that Timberlake cheated on her with another celebrity at the time. However, it got deeper when Spears revealed she became pregnant and that “Justin wasn’t happy about the pregnancy.” Spears then disclosed details surrounding the abortion of the child.

So, what does this unveiling mean for Timberlake? Is crisis management necessary for something that happened more than two decades ago?

There are many ways Timberlake’s team could have responded to this information. Timberlake could have released a statement apologizing for the pain he may have caused or how he was young and dumb and respects Spears now more than ever. However, that was not the route taken.

Not long after the publication of Spears’ memoir, Timberlake released a new single with his boy band, NSYNC, even though the band had not released a song in 20 years. According to Media Update, his PR team seemingly employed a deflection strategy, using the song’s release as the tactic.

This could be considered a short-term strategy while Timberlake and his PR team regrouped, but it’s not a wise one. Spears is incredibly relevant to pop culture, and this type of secret is not going to be covered up with a new song release. Timberlake’s PR team is lucky fans did not see it as a negative move toward Spears.

Gimme More

Spears’ story and those of other influential women who’ve faced their fair share of scrutiny will likely continue to pique our interest. We can only hope she has a solid PR team going forward. The great part is she now has the power to advocate for herself through her own words.

Caroline Raley

Caroline Raley, a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in public relations, serves as the editorial director for the student-led publication, Platform Magazine. Her passion for communications spans across diverse avenues, encompassing impactful roles with prominent nonprofits such as the American Cancer Society and contributions to the multicultural magazine Culturs.

View all posts by Caroline Raley