Britney Spears hasn’t done an interview since the birth of her baby boy, Sean Preston. But recently, she said she wanted to talk. Tired of tabloid attacks questioning her husband’s character, their marriage and most hurtful of all, whether or not she's a good mom, Matt Lauer sat down with her for an exclusive interview and found a very open and candid Britney Spears. Here's a transcript of their discussion:
Matt Lauer: Did you ever imagine that your life would one day be the way it is today?
Britney Spears: The extent, no. It's so weird because [in] L.A. a lot of actors and actresses you notice they don't get — I mean besides Angelina and Brad who get it horrible. But I think maybe because pop artists or music artists, they put themselves out there a little bit more than actors and actresses, like that's more of you have a disguise on when you're an actor. But you are kinda puttin' more of your soul out there with your music and I think maybe the public feels like they know you. And when that happens it's more of an attachment there and with the tabloids.
Lauer: So you think they think they know you gives them the right to wanna know more?
Spears: I guess so, exactly. Just recently I feel like I've been wanting to speak just about it a little bit because I am kinda scared. Like I have a weird feeling now when I come out of my home like just in ... even in my neighborhood.
Spears was recently in the headlines again after her baby's fall from a high chair, while under the care of a nanny.
Lauer: So you walked into the hospital and said, "He bumped his head, fell out of a high chair."
Spears: And then the doctors acted really funny with me. I know, it was really bizarre.
Lauer: What ... how ... well how'd they act funny?
Spears: I don't wanna say, but they did.
Spears: I said, I don't wanna say what they did or what they said. But it was bad. It was really, really bad.
Lauer: Let's talk about married life.
Lauer: As a husband, how is he?
Spears: Amazing. Very good.
Spears: Oh yeah.
Lauer: Because some ...
Lauer: ... of the magazines talk about friends saying he's jealous. He wants people to talk about his music and not so much about your career?
Spears: I'm not doin' anything right now so no one's talking about my career. You know. When I do, they will talk trust me. But right now, no. They're you know ... it's about him right now and he has no reason to be jealous.
Lauer: Do you think there's a sense out there, Britney, that some people who love you and have watched you grow up from the time you were 15 ... and when were you a Mouseketeer when you were 15 ...
Lauer: ... and have watched you go through the pop princess years and into young adulthood, get some feeling that he's not good enough for you?
Spears: Oh that would hurt me for some ... anybody to say that. You know that's ... that would be horrible for someone to say that 'cause I love him and that's all that matters.
Lauer: How does it affect him when he hears about this? When he hears everybody predicting that this marriage is over, that he's living in the basement, that he's on the way out.
Spears: I would make me cry. That hurts.
Lauer: Do you two talk about it?
Spears: Not really. I mean we do. We know it's there. But like you just talkin' about it right now. You're bringing it up to a light that I try not to. I mean I see it but ... you know it's there. And you know the things that they say but you just try to be strong.
Lauer: Is he the kinda guy who would tell you if it hurt him or is he a little bit more proud than that?
Spears: He wouldn't say anything. That's the kinda person he is. Yeah he wouldn't say anything. But you know what? I feel like ... down the road it ... it's all gonna be good. You know I think ... I do believe in a higher power. I definitely do and I feel like it'll take over.
Britney and Kevin try to get away from the pressures of daily life behind the front gates of their home in Malibu.
Lauer: Can you imagine ever living anywhere else? Could you pick up from here and go to small town America again?
Spears: Maybe ... I could go to Atlanta. I've been to Atlanta. I like suburbia-type area ... I love where I live right now. It's really beautiful and stuff like that, but if I have to move in five years, I could do it.
Lauer: You could recreate this type of setting, this type of a sanctuary in another city, that would be fine with you.
Spears: Yeah ... mmm hmm.
Lauer: And maybe escape a little of the attention.
Spears: Yeah, if they would leave me, but I don't know if that would happen ...
If recent history was any indication, Spears may have a hard time staying out of the spotlight, no matter how hard she tries.
Lauer: People who haven't heard an interview with you in a long time, and you haven't done one in quite awhile, are gonna hear a little bit of a different ... are gonna detect a bit of a different tone in your voice these days.
Spears: Yeah. Well I think I've been through a lot lately.
Lauer: Are you angry?
Spears: When I talk about it, I think after this interview ... thank you, Matt ... I'll feel a lot better.
Lauer: I didn't mean to make you angry. But ...
Spears: But no, I think ... no, but it's good. Because I need ... I need to talk about it, you know. I need to address it. And after this interview I may go cry or I may go ... my baby. And I'll be fine. But I think it's good for me.
Spears: I don't allow anybody to change me. I still walk outta my house in rollers and I take walks. I do not care what people think.
Matt Lauer: Let me show you some magazines, OK?
Lauer: These are all current. All right? I don't have to show you them all, but we've got one here, "Britney moves on without Kevin." "Brit's new man"...
Spears: Oh, no. That's my security guard.
Lauer: "The final days," "Fed up with Kevin's lies," "He's sleeping in the basement." We'll get to these individually, but basically this is the tone. That this marriage is over. There are problems in paradise and it's not gonna last.
Spears: You know what? I need to create my own magazine. These people like they, I mean they want stories to sell and they're very good, you know. I need to come up with my own magazine and say the real deal.
Britney says her marriage to Kevin Federline — former backup dancer, now aspiring rapper — is strong, and they are happily awaiting the birth of their second child in September, very much together.
Lauer: So he's living here.
Spears: Oh, definitely. He's working very hard.
Lauer: Living on the main floor?
Spears: He, he's ... Yes, of course.
Lauer: He's not ... There's not a basement somewhere?
Spears: He helps me. He has to. I'm an emotional wreck right now. So ...
Lauer: Are you really?
Spears: Not in a bad way, just, just you know I'll start laughing hysterically and then I'll just start crying, like just because.
Lauer: So it's the hormones of the pregnancy...
Spears: It's my hormones.
Lauer: ... racing through your body.
Spears: Yeah, so it's nice to have my husband there to keep me company.
Lauer: Motherhood is an issue that's come up in these tabloids a lot, and in particular your skills as a mom. You know there was the incident on Pacific Coast Highway where you were photographed, I guess, by the paparazzi again pursuing you. And there was Sean on your lap in the car.
Lauer: Take me through what happened there.
Spears: I went to Starbucks and I see a bunch of photographers, and I'm scared and I wanna get outta the situation, and my baby's crying. They're coming up on the, you know, the sides of the car, which is a scary situation for me. You know and they're banging on the windows and that's not somethin' I want my baby to, you know. So I get my baby [in] the car and I go home. So I mean, I just feel like they're taking cheap shots.
Lauer: But the fact of the matter is, while they pursue you, and we can argue for a long time, but they shouldn't be doing it. And I would agree with you on that completely. They manage to snap a picture that didn't cast you in the best light.
Spears: Oh, of course. That is their job and they do a very good job at it.
Lauer: When you were driving with Sean on your lap, did it — clearly you're trying...
Spears: That driving incident was from, like five minutes away, and Starbucks is like — like, right there. I can't go anywhere without someone judging me. You know. I did it with my dad. I'd sit on his lap and I'd drive. We're country. That's what ... you know what I mean? It's not ...
Lauer: But what happened, though, is that it crossed from a paparazzi incident to the next day it's in the newspapers and you've got all these legitimate people weighing in, saying, "You know what? That's dangerous." And she put her child at risk.
You saw the questions that were being asked, "Is Britney a bad mom?" It's not like, "Did Britney record a bad song? Is Britney wearing a bad outfit? Is Britney in a bad marriage?" "Is Britney a bad mom?" I mean ...
Spears: That's America for you. [Laughter.]
Lauer: Yeah, but...
Lauer: As a mother, that has to hit pretty close to home.
Spears: Yeah, it makes you really strong.
Lauer: Make you weep?
Spears: Oh, I've wept. Yeah, I've definitely wept just with the world, you know how judgmental they are. But I know what kinda mom I am.
Lauer: What do you think it'll take to get the paparazzi to leave you alone?
Spears: I don't know. I don't know.
Lauer: Is that one of your biggest wishes?
Spears: Yeah. [Crying] It's OK. I would like for them to leave me alone.
Lauer: If you could talk to them as individuals, not as a group, what would you say to 'em?
Spears: I would just say that, "You have babies at home. And you have, you have a wife. And if you don't, you have to realize that we're people and that we need — we just need privacy and we need our respect. And — and those are things that you have to have as a human being."