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Photos: The Spears years

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  1. Britney meets Jo

    Britney Spears, left, receives the Video Vanguard award from Lady Gaga, dressed as her male character Jo Calderone, at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday Aug. 28, 2011, in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Blizzard of music

    Spears and Rihanna perform onstage during the 2011 Billboard Music Awards on May 22, 2011 in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Britney at the Billboards

    Spears performs at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards on May 22, 2011 in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Femme fatale

    Spears performs during her Femme Fatale tour on March 27, 2011 in San Francisco. (Max Morse / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. 'Glee'-ful

    Heather Morris, left, and Spears on a 2010 episode of the FOX show "Glee." In the episode, the school's glee club tries to convince their director to let them take on a song by Spears, but he worries that it's too racy. (Adam Rose / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. She likes Candies

    Britney Spears poses in an advertisement for Candie's. Spears designed a collection of apparel and accessories called "Britney for Candie's," targeted toward juniors and available at Kohl's Department Stores. The pop star has been the spokesmodel for Candie's for several years. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Brunette in black

    Spears arrives at the Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 2010. Her black lace dress-bodysuit was by Dolce & Gabbana, and she was escorted by agent and boyfriend Jason Trawick. (Christopher Polk / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. She's got it covered

    Briney Spears, who celebrated her 28th birthday on Dec. 2, 2009, poses for the cover of the January 2010 issue of ELLE magazine with her two sons, Sean Preston, 4, and Jayden James, 3. In one magazine photo, Spears peeks out from under the covers of a fluffy bed and in another she props herself on the kitchen counter as one of her sons plays in a mess of cupcakes and frosting. (Elle) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Helping hand Down Under

    Spears is seen with her boyfriend Jason Trawick and her children Sean Preston and Jayden James as they board the yacht MV Oscar in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, on Nov. 15, 2009. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Touching up Brit's bits

    Madame Tussaud's studio team members put the final touches on a wax figure of Spears in London on Tuesday, June 2, 2009, in preparation for the pop star's arrival for the U.K. leg of her Circus world tour. (Joel Ryan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. How sweet

    Spears and Sean Preston and Jayden James strike a pose at the Candie’s "VIP Sweet Lounge" backstage at her concert in Los Angeles on April 16, 2009 (Candies) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Come to the 'Circus'

    Spears released her sixth studio album, "Circus," on her 27th birthday, Dec. 2, 2008. She kicked off "The Circus Starring Britney Spears" tour in New Orleans on March 3. Of course, the album hasn't been without controversy: Its third single, "If You Seek Amy," has a profane meaning when the title is said quickly. (Jeremy Cowart / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Sweet as 'Candie's'?

    In 2009, Spears began promoting Candie's apparel in ads featuring her toned body in pink lingerie. The ad deal was Spears' first since her public meltdown in 2007 and 2008. (PR NEWSWIRE) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Serious star power

    Spears joined Madonna onstage during a 2008 concert at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium while the Material Girl was on her "Sticky & Sweet" tour. The surprise appearance shocked many, but Spears wasn't Madonna's only guest that night. Later she was joined by Spears' ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake. (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. To the moon!

    Spears holds a moonman for Best Pop Video for "Piece of Me" at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards on the Paramount Studios lot in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2008. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Back in the act

    Actor Neil Patrick Harris, left, stars as Barney and Spears guest stars as Abby in a scene from CBS's "How I Met Your Mother" in March 2008. (CBS) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Mom's in the hood

    Lynne Spears came to the aid of her daughter in January 2008, after Britney reportedly was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Lynne was also not happy with the role Britney's pal, Sam Lutfi (pictured at rear) was playing in Britney's life. (Vwr-bope-mbf/x17online.com / VWR-Bope-MBF/X17online.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Support for Jamie Lynn

    OK! magazine's exclusive photos showing, from left, Britney, her younger sister Jamie Lynn, mom Lynne Spears, Ashley Aldridge, the sister of Jamie Lynn's boyfriend Casey Aldridge, Joyce Aldridge, Casey's mom, at the May 2, 2008, baby shower for Jamie Lynn. (OK!) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Downward spiral escalates

    Spears' dramatic life took another bizarre turn on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2008, when police were called to her Beverly Hills home because of a standoff in her ongoing custody battle with Kevin Federline over their two young sons. Spears was reportedly locked in a room for three hours and eventually left the house on a gurney and was loaded into an ambulance. She was taken to L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where she was held for psychiatric evaluation. (JFXONLINE) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Less from 'More'

    Spears performs "Gimme More" at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Palms Hotel and Casino on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007, in Las Vegas. The much-hyped performance was widely criticized for Spears' seeming lack of enthusiasm. (Kevork Djansezian / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Picture this life

    Photographers mob Spears' car as she arrives at family court in Los Angeles for a hearing to work out custody arrangements with Federline for their two young sons on Oct. 26, 2007. The intense pursuit of Spears by the paparazzi would take another bizarre turn as she later was romantically linked to photographer Adnan Ghalib, in hat at lower right. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Not always smooth sailing

    Spears, left, takes her kids, Sean Preston and Jayden James, for a boat ride in Marina Del Rey, Calif., on Friday, July 20, 2007. Spears has been locked in a battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline over future custody of the children. (INFphoto.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Extreme makeover, Britney edition

    A tearful Britney defiantly shaved her head at a Los Angeles hair salon after the owner refused to take part in the embattled pop star's latest extreme makover on Friday, Feb. 16, 2007. The visit to Esther's Haircutting Studio in the Tarzana district of Los Angeles was followed by a trip to a tattoo parlor where the 25-year-old added two designs to her body. (X17online.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. She's baaaack!

    Spears, newly svelte after giving birth to her second child, walks on stage to present the award for "Soul/R&B Favorite Artist" during the 2006 American Music Awards on Tuesday, Nov. 21, in Los Angeles. Just two weeks before, Spears filed for divorce from Federline. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Baby on board

    Spears announced her second pregnancy on "The Late Show with David Letterman," when son Sean Preston was 8 months old. A few days after the announcement, Spears and Sean were in the news again, as she was spotted driving her Mini Cooper convertible with Sean in his infant seat facing the wrong way. Her second child was born on Sept. 12, 2006. (INFGoff.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Cover girl

    Six months pregnant with her second son, Spears posed naked on the cover of the August 2006 issue of Harper's Bazaar magazine. A month later she gave birth. (Harper's Bazaar via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Night on the town

    Spears and husband Kevin Federline arrive at Sony BMG's Grammy Party on Feb. 8, 2006. In the months after Sean Preston's birth, many consultants suggested she needed to overhaul her image. (Vince Bucci / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Golden girl

    What would the summer of 2005 have been without endless sightings of this image of Britney with her "I have the Golden Ticket" shirt? Even as she neared her September delivery date, reports surfaced of squabbling between Britney and papa-to-be Federline. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Puppy love

    Spears and Federline put the squeeze on a tiny dog and kiss at the Billboard Music Awards in December of 2004. Spears announced four months later on April 12, 2005, that she was pregnant with her first child, ending months of speculation over whether the pop princess was launching a new career as a mother. Spears made the announcement in a posting to fans on her official Web site. (Jean Catuffe / Sipa Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Smell of success

    Spears celebrated the global launch of her fragrance Curious from Elizabeth Arden at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New Orleans on March 18, 2005. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Wedded bliss?

    An exterior view shows A Little White Chapel where Spears and childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander were married in Las Vegas early in the morning on Jan. 3, 2004. The marriage was later annulled. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. That kiss!

    Spears got a kiss on the mouth from Madonna as they opened the TV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Aug. 28, 2003. (Win McNamee / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Like a virgin

    Spears, dressed in a wedding gown, sings at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York on Aug. 28, 2003. (Win McNamee / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Bombshell

    Spears starred as Lucy in the 2002 film "Crossroads." The movie bombed at the box office. (Paramount Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Dangerous moves

    Spears performs with a snake during the finale of the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 6, 2001, at New York's Metropolitan Opera House. (Beth A. Keiser / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. A real pop star

    Spears holds a bottle of Pepsi at a news conference on Feb. 6, 2001, where it was announced that she signed a global marketing pact with the Pepsi-Cola Company. (Jeff Christensen / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Former Mouseketeers

    Spears, left, and Christina Aguilera introduce Whitney Houston at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York on Sept. 7, 2000. Spears and Aguilera previously starred together in the Mickey Mouse Club. (Dave Hogan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Young Love

    Justin Timberlake and Spears attend the MTV Music Video Awards at New York's Radio City Music Hall on Sept 7, 2000. (Dave Hogan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Teen dream

    Spears performs on stage at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 23, 2000. (Dave Hogan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Full of promise

    Spears holds her Female Artist of the Year award at the 1999 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on Dec. 8, 1999. (Brenda Chase / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. She was that innocent

    As a teen pop sensation, Spears performed at the Universal Ampitheater during her Baby One More Time tour in Universal City, Calif., on July 31, 1999. (Brenda Chase / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 10/21/2008 4:46:41 PM ET 2008-10-21T20:46:41

Britney Spears has a license to go free.

Jurors remained deadlocked 10-2 on whether she was guilty of driving without a valid California license Tuesday. A mistrial was declared, prosecutors said they wouldn’t pursue the matter further — and Spears was spared a criminal record when the judge ultimately dismissed the case.

Ten of the 12 jurors favored outright acquittal for Spears, who never appeared in court. Her attorney, J. Michael Flanagan, declared victory and criticized prosecutors for bringing a “fix-it ticket” to trial because his client is famous.

But Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Michael Amerian said blame for the case getting this far belonged to Spears, who rejected two plea deals — one that included probation and another that would require her to pay a $1,000 fine. Flanagan has said Spears fought the charge to keep her record clean.

The jury’s deadlock could not be broken Tuesday, even after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Steele permitted attorneys to make additional closing arguments in the morning. The jury struggled with the case since resuming deliberations Monday, telling a judge they couldn’t reach an unanimous decision after five votes going back to Friday.

Steele thanked jurors for their time and dismissed them, and prosecutors told him a couple of hours later that they were dropping the matter, prompting him to dismiss the case.

Gary Moy, the jury’s foreman, said Tuesday afternoon that he thought prosecutors did enough to convict Spears, but that the majority of his fellow jurors could not be swayed and thought the case was a waste of time. Moy added that he believed some jurors favored Spears because of her fame.

Amerian said the result was another example of the challenge of trying the famous in Tinseltown.

“It just goes to show, I think, how difficult it is to convict any celebrity of a crime here in Los Angeles,” Amerian said. “For whatever reason, jurors are reluctant to do that and I think history shows that.”

But Flanagan said Spears fame drove the case to trial, and that she should have been allowed to pay a small fine rather than face the maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Deliberations lasted longer than the case, which featured only three witnesses and roughly a day’s worth of testimony and arguments. The defense had argued that Spears didn’t meet the state’s residency requirements, and that her Louisiana license was all she needed to drive legally.

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Jurors posed a pair of questions Monday before declaring themselves deadlocked: One sought to clarify the charges against Spears, and whether she should be considered guilty if she possessed a valid Louisiana license.

Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings The other: “Why was she stopped in the first place?” In fact, there was no traffic stop that precipitated the case; she was cited later, after video of the accident surfaced.

Attorneys on both sides agreed that Spears was behind the wheel in August 2007 when she hit a parked car. That kept jurors from hearing any mention of the hit-and-run — or any narrative elements to explain why she faced a criminal charge.

Amerian initially put up only one witness and entered one piece of evidence during the trial, showing that Spears did not have a valid California license more than a week after the accident.

In all, only three witnesses testified. After Flanagan called Spears’ father to the stand, Amerian introduced signed papers from the singer’s divorce that indicated she had been a California resident since at least 2006.

Video: Britney's case dismissed Amerian said he thought he did enough to prove the case, but that pursuing it further wouldn’t be “prudent.”

Flanagan said he spoke to Britney Spears’ father and conservator, Jamie Spears, after the dismissal and described him as “ecstatic” with the result.”

Spears is in the midst of a comeback, recently earning three MTV Video Music Awards. As her trial started last week, Billboard announced that her new single, “Womanizer,” was No. 1 on its charts.

The trial featured flashes of insight into Spears life, with a paparazzo witness for the prosecution telling jurors that Spears had recently tried to sneak out of her hilltop home in a gardener’s truck, but he spotted her between the plants.

Flanagan repeatedly said Spears intends to return to her home state of Louisiana and is building a new house there. He said those plans are on hold because she still has not regained custody of her two young sons from ex-husband Kevin Federline.

Despite a litany of legal woes this year, including her ongoing conservatorship, Flanagan said Spears is making progress.

“Things are going in the right direction for her,” he said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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