Pop superstar Britney Spears is making headlines left and right with the personal reflections and celebrity stories she’s shared in her new memoir, “The Woman in Me,” released on October 24, 2023. Spears complains about multiple journalists in her book, according to Time, including “American Idol” host and radio personality Ryan Seacrest over his interview with her in October 2007.
Spears, now 41, claims in the book that rather than solely focusing his questions about her “Blackout” album, which was released the day before they talked, Seacrest also grilled her about whether she was a “fit mother.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Britney Spears Agreed to Ryan Seacrest Interview Amid Custody Battle Over Her Sons
Spears’ 2007 radio interview with Seacrest occurred on L.A.’s KIIS-FM after a tumultuous year for the pop star. It included the demise of her two-year marriage to dancer Kevin Federline in late 2006, according to Insider, and a nasty custody battle over their boys — Sean Preston, born in September 2005, and Jayden James, born the following September.
With so much scrutiny around her personal life and having to continually dodge paparazzi, Spears chose not to do much media promotion for her “Blackout” album release that fall,
In an advance excerpt from “The Woman in Me” that was published by the Daily Mail, Spears wrote, “The only press I did for ‘Blackout’ was a live radio interview with Ryan Seacrest when it came out in October 2007.”
“In the interview which was supposed to be about the record,” Spears continued, “Ryan Seacrest asked me questions like ‘How do you respond to those who criticize you as a mom’ and ‘Do you feel like you’re doing everything you can for your kids?’ and ‘How often will you see them?’”
Looking back on that time, Spears added, “It felt like that was the only thing people wanted to talk about: whether or not I was a fit mother. Not about how I’d made such a strong album while holding two babies on my hips and being pursued by dozens of dangerous men all day every day.”
Seacrest has not publicly commented about being called out in Spears’ book. He has conducted many interviews with her since, and Spears says in the book that she carries “no ill will” toward him, per the Daily Mail.
Hear the Audio of Ryan Seacrest’s 2007 Interview With Britney Spears
Audio from Spears’ 2007 interview with Seacrest was recorded and posted on YouTube years ago by one of the singer’s fans. In the recording, a groggy-sounding Spears can be heard being woken up by someone named Alli, which was likely her cousin and former assistant, Alli Sims. Placed on speaker phone, she also talks at times with another person named Sam, likely her manager at the time, Sam Lufti.
The conversation with Seacrest was difficult to understand at times, since Sims and Lufti were also on the line with her. But Seacrest started out by asking how she celebrated the release of her new album.
“It was cool, laid-back, really,” Spears told him, adding that rather than celebrating, she, Sims and Lufti watched a movie they couldn’t remember the name of.
Before delving into her parenting, Seacrest asked multiple questions about the songs on “Blackout,” including the theme of “Piece of Me.”
“It’s kind of about your image in the media and the paparazzi swarming and everyone always on your case,” Seacrest said, before asking, “What was the message you wanted to convey with that song?”
Spears replied, “You know, wherever you go and stuff like that, there’s a lot of people who, like, ask you questions … and sometimes you don’t know their intentions and stuff like that. So, it’s just kind of a cute way of putting it out there — like, ‘You want a piece of me?’ — in a cool, cute, clever way.”
When Seacrest asked how much the “overwhelming coverage” gets to Spears, she answered, “I try not to let it get to me. You know, people talk and they say what they want. At the end of the day, you know, with the tabloids and the magazines — you just try to keep doing what you do. As long as you know what’s up and what’s true, that’s all that really matters.”
Less than three months after her interview with Seacrest, in early January 2008, police were called to Spears’ house when she locked herself in a bathroom with one of her sons, refusing to turn him over to Federline, per Us Weekly. Federline was temporarily given sole legal and physical custody of the boys while Spears was placed on a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the outlet reported.
Spears was placed in a conservatorship overseen by her dad in 2008, per CBS News. She wrote in her memoir that she agreed to the arrangement so that she could be reunited with her kids, never imagining it would last 13 years and a huge legal battle to get out of. In November 2021, a Los Angeles judge ended the conservatorship, deeming it “no longer required,” per the New York Times.