Britney Spears Bares Her Soul, Goes On ‘The Record’


Last night, as I’m sure everyone on planet Earth is well aware, MTV aired an intimate documentary titled Britney Spears: For The Record that featured the young popstar openly discussing the hellacious year she suffered in 2007, leading up to her mental breakdown in January of 2008, as well as the aftermath and her recent attempts to get her life back in order. Filmed by the documentary filmmakers who made the heady Academy Award-winning doc Fog Of War, For The Record is an intense look at Britney Spears’s life from her perspective, in her own words. Here are a few screencaps from last night’s airing:

Britney Spears’ life has been filled with speculation and scrutiny over the last few years. In “For the Record,” a documentary that aired on MTV on Sunday night, the pop singer finally opened up about her life in the spotlight. “I have good days and I have bad days,” she said in the special. “Sometimes it’s too much. No subject was off limits, and Spears talked about being a mom, her public breakdown and her breakups with Justin Timberlake and Kevin Federline. “For the Record” also gave an all-access pass to her return to the pop scene as she worked on promotion for her album Circus, which included video shoots for “Womanizer” and the title track. Explaining her breakdown, Spears said that she had let the wrong people into her life. “[It was] a really bad time in my life. … I’m not gonna sugarcoat it and say I was OK,” she admitted. “Maybe I had traumatic stress. I just remember I did not want to be at home. When I was in my car, I was driving and I was going somewhere.” Despite the hard times, the singer said she tries not to let them get her down. “Normal is different for everybody,” she said, later adding, “It could be a lot worse. There are people out there who have it a lot worse than I do.” She also admitted that even though her life seems hectic, what with constantly being surrounded by assistants, handlers and the paparazzi, “I choose to be a happy person. If I have a bad day, I get angry with myself.” Britney’s dad, Jamie Spears, and her longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, were also featured in the documentary, as well the pop singer’s mentor, Madonna. “I admire her as an artist,” the Material Girl said, adding that she sees a lot of herself in the young singer. But Spears isn’t just a pop star, she’s also a mother to her two sons. And they are the people in her life that help her hold onto her faith. “I see my babies and say … you have to believe in God,” she said. “How can these two babies be here without there being a God?” At the end of the documentary, she said she hoped that people would understand that she’s just like anybody else. “I love what I do. I love my babies,” she said. “And I work really hard.” She added, “It’s weird. You can see the cruelest part of the world and then on the other side you see the most beautiful. … But they’re worth it. … I’ve been to both places.” In order to stay on that beautiful side, Spears said she’s avoiding the people and things that hurt her: “Now I try to avoid situations from the past that may threaten me. … I go through life like a Karate Kid.”

Many folks have commented that Britney looked sad thruout the documentary … to me, she appeared guarded and very reserved. I imagine that she is not used to baring her soul in such an open fashion. Despite her immense fame, she has never been afforded the opportunity to talk so openly about her life — the good and the bad — on such a grand scale. While there may have been tinges of sadness in the piece, I think the overwhelming tone was a guarded one (think of an injured bird that has had both of its wings broken and, in the course of the healing process, has to trust an outstretched hand that she is being helped and won’t be hurt again). I was very impressed with how much Britney opened up to the cameras … I found it wholly fascinating to see what her life is like on the inside. I must admit, it doesn’t look fun. But it appears to be all she’s ever known … she even talked a bit about how she isn’t complaining about how her life turned out, she’s just trying to deal with the realities as she deals with very strong personal issues at the same time. It’s a great sight to see her surrounded by her close friends and family members (Jamie Spears, Brett Miller, Larry Rudolph) — it’s a far cry from the days when she was running around with that lecherous trash that almost led her to her destruction last year (Lutfi, Sims, Ghalib). I’m sure some people will complain that there were many things she did not discuss in the doc but, for me, I was impressed that she even agreed to talk about her life at all. This doc totally feels like a Larry Rudolph idea. It is not meant for Britney’s very loyal fans … she will always have those people. This doc was made for the haters, detractors, critics and all around a-holes who take pleasure in ripping the poor girl apart. It’s basically a stripped down look at her as a real person … good or bad, this is who she is. Will it silence her critics? I doubt it. Will it change a few minds? I think so … but in the end, I suspect the act of being so open, so publicly is an integral component of Britney’s rehabilitation (if you will). She fell so far and has to recoup so much that, I think, she needed to (on some level) start over from scratch — baring so much on world-wide television prolly seemed like a good place to start. Again, I was very impressed with this film (and very surprised that Madonna agreed to sit down to be interviewed — that was a very well-kept secret). I just hope that her life continues to level off and that she is better equipped to handle the stresses that come along with being Britney Spears. I believe she can do it.

Britney Spears: For The Record will premiere in the UK on SKY1 tonight and will reair here in the US on MTV today, tomorrow and Wednesday (at least). I’m not sure if the film will be viewable online (at this point, it is not) but if it does become available, I’ll be sure to pass along the info.

UPDATE: Here is Part 1 of the doc:


  • Anna

    I laughed, I teared up a bit, and I became an even bigger Britney fan. I think it was definitely a good step to put out this documentary- I watched it with a self-proclaimed Britney hater who said afterwards that he has found some respect for her for staying true to who she is and being so positive while having been stripped of the simple pleasures in life. GO BRITNEY!

  • mandy

    how come when britney came out with circus, nobody says she copies christina? i mean, didnt christina uses circus as a theme for one of her tours?

    but when its christina doing what britney does, everyone says she rips off britney …

    just curious :)

  • Kendra

    The part when she took a little swipe at Katie Holmes cracked my shit up! It was a great look into her life, even if it did seem kind of lonely at times..Like Trent said, it’s so great that she seems to have some really great people surrounding her now..I wonder what a documentary would have looked like if it had been shot a year ago..Scary!

  • Tim

    Many performers have used a Circus theme for their concerts and tours. Christina wassn’t the first, and Britney won’t be the last.

    As for the show last night, I was amazed that she was so open. There was one part when she teared up and said that sometimes she was just so sad. I wanted to just hug her and tell her everything will be alright. I was a little worried about how mean her father seemed at points, especially when she poked fun at him and they fought right after. It felt like he was treating her like a 12 year old. I agree that the conservatorship is a great plan, but it should come to an end at some point. I was also scared for her during the shopping trip with the paparazzi. I was frightened and I wasn’t even there.

    Otherwise, she looked great and I can’t wait until Circus ebuts tomorrow! Britney Returns!

  • Kendra

    Mandy, why didn’t anyone say Christina was ripping off Lenny Kravitz with her Circus theme? He did it a long time ago. Or Mr. Bungle? Or countless others who have done a Circus theme? It’s not a new idea, but everyone does it in a different way..Everyone rips everyone else off in the industry..That’s how it all started, eh?

  • alex

    That was so funny, Kendra! And the whole Sarah Jessica Parker sweater dress. Britney was amazing, I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to have a life like that with all those people constantly watching you. <3

  • Kay

    I’m definatly a Britney fan, I have been since I was a kid, and this just made me love her so much more. She shows that no matter what you go through, you can always be strong. I loved the little jokes she cracked, she’s actually a funny person, and I even teared up a little when she talked about how when she loves someone she really loves them. I hope that Britney can continue on this road, I don’t think that people give her enough credit for dealing with all of the things she had to go through with billions of eyes watching. I second the statement : Go Britney!

  • Steph

    I always hope all the best for her.
    I totally agree with you, Trent, when you wrote ” It is not meant for Britney’s very loyal fans … she will always have those people.”
    I am one of her loyal fans… who will suport her no matter what :)

  • Anna

    Hey, Trent…
    I live in the UK, and don’t have sky1…and i cant seem to be able to find anywhere that I can watch it online. is there anywhere you know of that I can check out? or can u post a link or something?
    LOVING the britney-centric-ness of PITNB!!!

  • Laura

    I loved her last line of the show: “I go through life as a karate kid.”
    I just love her!

  • nicole

    i have to wait another 4 hours until i can watch. taped it last night but my brother refuses to give up the tv for me too watch it lol

  • Zach

    I thought the documentary was amazing! I always think to myself “gosh it would really suck to be followed by paparazzi 24/7″…and then to actually SEE it through the eyes of Britney….it’s scary stuff! Particularly the moment when they are in the SUV and trying to go in the store…so crazy!

    I was impressed by how much she responded to the questions and was shocked she actually talked about the head shaving incident. I’m so proud of her and she’s come such a long way. Being a huge Britney fan since the release of “…Baby One More Time” back in the winter of 1998 it’s been quite a ride to see how her life has transformed. Britney’s back bitches!


  • Jo

    Oh wow, what a wonderful piece! I was really impressed. I think Britney gave us a great perspective of her paparazzi engulfed life. So many people are quick to criticize celebrities for ‘not being grateful’ of their fans etc. Clearly, as we can see in the footage, this type of harassment is well beyond what should be the expectations of being famous. Those 30 cars parked outside of her house are not full of fans…they are money hungry photographers. I truly believe she would have already been killed if not for security and bodyguards. Imagine she walked into that shopping scene alone??? Easily would have been trampled to death, or at the very least severely injured. It’s frightening! I don’t think there is anything wrong with celebrities shunning that type of attention. Paps should stick to red carpets and public hot spots such as Rodeo Drive and the Ivy etc. Private homes should be off limits.

  • Bob

    I found it funny that when she arrived at the shop the paparazzi were already there waiting.

  • According to the MTV website, the documentary in its entirety will be available for streaming starting Wednesday, December 3.

  • Kayla

    I’ve been a Britney fan for forever and this made me love her 37468346347 times more. She was so interesting, and I felt sooo frickin bad for the girl sometimes. My hands down favorite part was when she was in the store and was messing with the thermostat. Oh, classic.

  • LUCY

    Britney wasn’t the first to wear a catsuit!!!The 20s 30s circus theme looks just like what Christina did on her last tour.YOU TUBE Enter the Circus/Welcome WATCH IT!!!Britney really is crazy if she thinks i believe she doesn’t love the attention since the Madonna kiss she has spent her days thinking of ways to make news she probably saves every copy of Us Weekly and In Touch magazines…The true test of her sanity will be if she can find happiness without the paparazzi her Dad can’t keep her working for every but then again he probably already working on her next cd.

  • tiffany

    this was an amazing documentary and im glad that britney looks likes she’s doing much better :)

  • Missy

    I was glued to the TV. I really felt for her when she said “I’m so sad”. My heart really broke for her. What a huge pressure to have to fall and get back up again under the microscope.

  • candace

    it feels a little contrived!!! MTV says that she has had a comback but MTV gave her the comback!!! they filmed her winning awards on their show! when she wins a grammy or any other relevant award let me know. Everybody knows the MTV awards are biased…

  • SpecialK

    I am so glad that more people seem to voice their support for Britney now. I remember when I use to read the comments here back through her rough times. Everyone was hating and laughing at her. It really riled me up. I hate people who kick others when they are down. The documentary last night was a great insight for those ignorant people.

  • g vilz

    i love britney
    and always have and am so glad she could do this and have a strong voice about her life and herself and is coming back,she is a great preformer

  • nicole

    you know, i get that shes lonely and that shes having a rough time, but i fell like she’s ungrateful for what her dads done for her. yes he’s strict with who he lets around her, but do you blame him? look at the type of people she lets in her life. she should be praising her dad cause without him, she wouldnt have this cd comming out, she wouldnt have her boys..she would be just where she was earlier this year. i do respect her, but i mean…she needs to get herself into some REAL therapy, none of this “dance is my therapy” crap.
    if this doc didt prove that everythings happening too soon, i dont know what would. she has alot more battles to face..and she should face them before she dives head first back into this “comeback” (imho)

  • tOnnY

    I Hate Britney, (No i don’t) She’s made me cry all weekend, First i was crying when i watched her X Factor performance, i loved it, and then the Doc, she’s amazing, She was so open, so sincere, Hopefully people will stop Hating on her, It was very Sad, and Touching, i have to be honest, i’m loving the promos, the performances and all, but if she decided that she’s not gonna perform until next year, i would support her, we have the album now, 2 videos, the magz, and 3 performances, i think we could wait some more time, and if she’s willing to keep on doing this promotion, then i’m soooo gonna support her…

  • stella

    uuhh Candace I guess I’ll be the first to tell you that Britney has already won a grammy for her Toxic video (not to mention the crazy success she has achieved through record sales, even if you win a ton of awards if no one has heard of you really who cares). To try to discount Britney’s talent as an entertainer is ridiculous, you dont get to her level of fame without doing something right. Before you say all the credit is due to having thr right people working for her, tell that to the plenty of talentless, yet wealhy celebrities with enough resources to hire the ‘right’ people who have flopped… i.e. Paris Hilton.

  • Jennifer

    As far as the whole papparazi situations go I think Britney really needs to leave the LA area and go somewhere else where she isn’t bothered. I don’t mean she should give up entertaining people though, I mean she should live in an area where papperazzi isn’t always at. Like Orange County, they have some really beautiful communities where she wouldnt have to give up her way of living/shopping trendy stores and there is hardly any paps.

  • whatev

    “think of an injured bird that has had both of its wings broken and, in the course of the healing process, has to trust an outstretched hand that she is being helped and won’t be hurt again”…seriously? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ^^^yeah, seriously. so much cynicism in the world.

  • Nicole

    I have always been a Britney fan and the doc did nothing to change that for me but I was cringing the whole time! Why do people take themselves so seriously! She is a millionaire with a beautiful family. People adore her and some people hate her.. that’s life! of course I feel bad that she gets ripped apart in the tabloids but who cares? She’s a singer and a dancer for God sakes, her life is not that rough! I just don’t get why she complains about the paparazzi and people always being in her business — while she’s promoting a new album… that stuff comes with success. She lives in LA, come on! It’s an obvious part of it.. she would feel the exact same way if people didn’t care about her! I love her and I love her music but I am over celebrities complaining about their lives. They should go talk to people who have genuine problems in their lives and quit crying.

    Just my opinion!

  • chase

    Jennifer, did you miss the part of the documentary where Britney herself said, “I’m only staying in L.A. ’cause my baby daddy lives here.” she’s only staying there for her kids.

  • Sara

    It would be really nice if she could get out of L.A. but of course you can’t just move somewhere else when custody is involved. I do think it’s too bad the paps camp outside her house and everything. I mean obviously there are places celebs can go if they want to make sure that there will be photographers there to take their pics but a person’s home should be safe from them. I live in Montana and we have quite a few celebs that vacation here or have homes here and there isn’t anyone following them around. Johnny Depp has worked out at the same gym I go to when he’s in the area, and sure some people ask for autographs but it’s not like he’s being attacked or anything. I think it’s unfortunate that she can’t get completely away from that life most of the time, but when you are in the middle of promoting an album, the more press the better, I guess. I absolutely wish her the best and I can’t wait to buy her album tomorrow (even though I’ve been listening to it since it leaked, lol.)

  • Krissy

    I dunno. I don’t really care for her music though I respect how hard she works & feel for her feeling trapped now. As a parent of two young boys myself, I DO take issue with her back-handed swipes at Kevin. Anyone who watched last night saw how often she & apparently her father swear (that whole bit with her pretending to be her dad is why I say apparently for him), so claiming the kids are getting it from Kevin is crap and bickering in the press will only hurt the boys when they’re finally aware of what’s going on. Neither side is perfect, and Kevin has been there for those boys throughout all of her “bad times” the past couple years so I’d respect her a WHOLE lot more if she was more grateful towards him than insulting. (and no, I can’t believe I’m defending Kevin, but damn! lol)

  • Nic

    Some of these comments are rather harsh, I think alot of you should drop the green eyed monster act and try walking in someone elses shoes for once. Money dosen’t make it all better. And yes there are hundreds of millions in the world worse off but I never understand that comment. I should be delighted with whatever life hands me cause somebody else is getting a beating?? How about praising the people that find the strength to pull themselves out (even if it is with the help of friends & family – nothing wrong with asking for help) and decide to go for what they want. Brit has a climb ahead of her and it’ll only be as rocky as she allows it. Always look for the good :) And Brit if you want a peaceful holiday come to NZ, we have lots of lovely, kid friendly hideaways (as in totally off-road)

    Take care, rejoice in your children and know people want to see you soar however you need to (even if its hiding out been a ‘real’ mom *grin*)No shame in simple pleasures

  • Daniel

    eewwwww yuck… just watching that video makes me feel pitty for her… she is really dumb… and white trash… uhhh i cant believe america likes this girl… shame shame shame

  • Paz

    Trent, I respect you and believe you to be intelligent, but sometimes I think you are blinded by your love of Britney.
    You were honestly surprised that she did a documentary? Her whole career has been filled with papparzzi, controversy, etc. The media has been a powerful force in building her career. For the longest time she didn’t release a single song, yet she consistently stayed in the headlines. This doc gives her more exposure to help make her so-called comeback.
    And she’s never had a chance to tell her side of the story? What about “Chaotic” ? The Matt Lauer interview? What about the countless interviews she has done? Being in the spotlight is tough, and I am sure the media likes to spin things their way, but she is not helpless and a lot of her destruction was her own doing.
    Frankly I see her still as very immature. The minute she was without her handlers and on her own, she fell apart. I think this documentary would be appropriate once she has recuperated, but it is very evident that she is still trying to pick up the pieces of her life. I think going away to Louisiana or somewhere quieter would do her a world of good.

  • jennifer

    hey quick question–when they were in N.Y.C did Britney ask for that guy’s number? the one that was performing in the show? this was when they were done with dinner…just curious to see if anyone caught that.

    i wish she and justin were still together lol…talk about fairy tale ending! :)

  • RichLover4x4

    If you want a better review go to fourfour . typepad. Rich’s review is a lot better than Trent’s!! Um…..yeah…the whole broken bird wing thingy was way funny!!! WTF?!?

  • tyler

    interesting responses. i think it’s interesting that we all care so much about this one girl…who lip syncs and barely dances (anymore). no lie, i was glued to the tv the other night…part of me wants to say…”all right britney you’re doing what you want to be doing, you’re not getting laid off from your job or living on the streets”

    but c’mon critics….didn’t some of the documentary look freakin intensley scary?
    she’s trying to get out of her a car and is scared back into it by freaks with cameras. can you imagine being scared back inside by flashing lights?
    it’s insane our country’s obsession with britney spears. i’m surprised she didn’t say that “seriously, guys…give it a rest.” but i don’t think that’s what she truly wants.
    at the same time….i thought the bit at the madonna performance showed a lot. madonna’s stuck in an elevator with a camera pointed on her at all times and she can’t hide from the camera but is stuck in an elevator. britney spears life must be incredibly claustrophobic…esp. now that she has 3 or 4 people constantly “crowding” her. but is that the price to pay for accomplishing your dreams of fame & fortune? maybe. so maybe she does need to quit bitchin’. still, i do feel for what she was saying and what the documentary showed a little bit. she looked really sad and the way they edited had a lot of shots of her staring into space. man, i hope she’s able to find her light again…and see that she lives a very blessed life and to just surge on like a karate kid.

  • tatiana

    I too was quite surprise that Madonna agreed to sit down for this documentary. Shocked actually, but this is what I don’t understand about Britney. If shes so sad, why not get out of the business. She has enough money , why not retire? She could still dance and find fulfillment out of life. *sigh* I don’t understand celebrities.

  • Dana

    Did anyone else think that Madonna got some heavy duty work done on her face. She looked a little tight around the upper lip…gross

  • video unavailable :(

  • erika

    yeah, a “documentary”. more like fakeumentary. she is the most uninteresting person ever. she didn’t have a single thing to say. pathetic.

  • I have to agree with erika, it did seem completely fake and her dialogue was pathetic. She really couldn’t come up with an original idea even when they prodded her at the end. I thought it was a very intense yet subtle joke of a film and make her look just as stupid as we all suspected she is.

  • AlbertAL

    And Bye.