Pop Culture

Happy 30th birthday, Britney Spears!

Grab the Cheetos and the fancy Red Bull, y'all, because we've got a birthday to celebrate!

That's right, Britney Spears has reached yet another milestone, this time of the birthday variety, and today turns the big 3-0. To help the Mouseketeer-made-good-then-bad-then-good-again celebrate, we're taking a look back at her life — and what a life it's been! — over the past three decades.

Where to start? Where not to start is the question ... after all, it's Britney, b----.

MORE: Britney's red hot!

Dec. 2, 1981: Britney Jean Spears is born in Kentwood, La. The world doesn't know what hit it.

1993: Making good on her prowess for performing at a young age, Britney joins the cast of "The New Mickey Mouse Club," alongside once and future contemporaries Keri Russell, JC Chasez, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling and, perhaps most notably, Justin Timberlake.

1996: At age 15, Britney lands her first solo record deal with Jive.

1998: Britney releases her debut smash single, "...Baby One More Time," and while it was a massive hit, what really catapulted her into the public consciousness (and fantasy) was the accompanying now-iconic music video released several months later, which saw her wearing an ultra short schoolgirl skirt, donning pigtail braids and engaging in rather suggestive school-hall dance numbers. Soon after, she's linked to fellow Mousketeer and *NSync runt Justin Timberlake, though the couple are urged by their management to both keep their relationship quiet and announce that they planned to abstain from sex until marriage. Um, best-laid plans.

MORE: What's fellow mama Jamie Lynn up to?

1999: At 17 years old, Britney releases her first album and tests the bounds of both the stretching power of spandex and the patience of conservative parents everywhere. It's in this year that she nabs her first Rolling Stone cover, which not only sparks controversy for showing the teen reclining in her underwear, but sparks rumors that the bustier-than-remembered singer had gotten breast implants.

2000: Britney releases her second album, "Oops!...I Did It Again," which sells more than 1.3 million copies its debut week. She also takes to the MTV VMA stage donning a nude, sheer, bedazzled body suit. Don't remember it? J.Lo sure does.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Matt Sayles / AP

    Image: Lady Gaga, Britney Spears

    The Spears years

    From pop princess to troubled wife and mom, the ups and downs of Britney Spears.

  • Image: Lady Gaga, Britney Spears

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    AP / AP
  • Image: 2011 Billboard Music Awards

    The Spears years

    of

    Blizzard of music -

    Spears and Rihanna perform onstage during the 2011 Billboard Music Awards on May 22, 2011 in Las Vegas.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: 2011 Billboard Music Awards - Show

    The Spears years

    of

    Britney at the Billboards -

    Spears performs at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards on May 22, 2011 in Las Vegas.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Britney Spears "Good Morning America's" Taping Performance At Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

    The Spears years

    of

    Femme fatale -

    Spears performs during her Femme Fatale tour on March 27, 2011 in San Francisco.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image:

    The Spears years

    of

    '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.

    FOX / FOX
  • Image: ICONIX BRAND GROUP, INC. BRITNEY SPEARS

    The Spears years

    of

    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 / AP
  • Image: The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • The Spears years

    of

    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 / Elle
  • Image: Britney Spears In Sydney

    The Spears years

    of

    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 / Getty Images
  • Britney Spears

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    AP / AP
  • The Spears years

    of

    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 / Candies
  • Image: Britney Spears

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • ICONIX BRAND GROUP BRITNEY SPEARS

    The Spears years

    of

    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 / PR NEWSWIRE
  • Madonna performs with Britney Spears during the Los Angeles date of her Sticky and Sweet tour at Dodgers stadium in Los Angeles

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • 2008 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Neil Patrick Harris, Britney Spears

    The Spears years

    of

    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 / CBS
  • Britney Spears with mom to the rescue

    The Spears years

    of

    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
  • The Spears years

    of

    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! / OK!
  • BRITNEY SPEARS IN AN AMBULANCE

    The Spears years

    of

    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 / JFXONLINE
  • Britney Spears

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Photographers mob Britney Spears' car.

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Britney Spears & Kids

    The Spears years

    of

    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 / INFphoto.com
  • Britney shaves her head_Part2

    The Spears years

    of

    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 / X17online.com
  • 2006 American Music Awards - Show

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Britney Spears at Letterman

    The Spears years

    of

    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 / INFGoff.com
  • Singer and actress Britney Spears, six months pregnant, is shown on the cover of the August 2006 issue Harper's Bazaar

    The Spears years

    of

    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 / Harper's Bazaar via Reuters
  • SONY BMG Grammy Party - Arrivals

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Premiere of Warner Bros. Picture's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • LAS VEGAS : BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2004

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Sipa Press / Sipa Press
  • Britney Spears with new fragrance called curious

    The Spears years

    of

    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 / Reuters
  • Britney Spears Weds Childhood Friend

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Britney Spears gets a kiss on the mouth from Madonna in file photo

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • File photograph of singer Britney Spears in wedding dress at 2003 MTV Awards Spears reportedly marries in Los Angeles

    The Spears years

    of

    Like a virgin -

    Spears, dressed in a wedding gown, sings at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York on Aug. 28, 2003.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • The Spears years

    of

    Bombshell -

    Spears starred as Lucy in the 2002 film "Crossroads." The movie bombed at the box office.

    Paramount Pictures / Paramount Pictures
  • SPEARS

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    AP / AP
  • POP STAR BRITNEY SPEARS SIGNS MARKETING PACT WITH PEPSI

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Britney And Christina At MTV Video Music Awards 2000

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears

    The Spears years

    of

    Young Love -

    Justin Timberlake and Spears attend the MTV Music Video Awards at New York's Radio City Music Hall on Sept 7, 2000.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Britney Spears

    The Spears years

    of

    Teen dream -

    Spears performs on stage at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 23, 2000.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • n120899_britney_spears02

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • 370586 02 Britney Spears

    The Spears years

    of

    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.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

January 2001: Seven words: Britney. Justin. American Music Awards. Matching denim. Later that month, she performs alongside *NSync and Aerosmith during the halftime show at "Super Bowl XXXV."

Fall 2001: Britney's third album, "Britney," arrives, and while sales are still massive, they show signs of dipping from the strength of her previous two. Her watercooler quotient is as high as ever, though, which she ensures by taking to the VMA stage to perform "I'm a Slave 4 U," this time accompanied by an albino snake whose writhing is rivaled only by that of Spears herself.

MORE: Britney tweets condolences after concertgoer's tragic death

2002: Britstin? Justney? Whatever they would have been called (and thank God they decoupled before the advent of the one-named wonders), Britney and Justin break up. Teenage girls everywhere rejoice and Britney is villainized after Justin's "Cry Me a River" is released and seems to indicate that infidelity (paging Wade Robson) was to blame for their split.

2002: The same year, the newly single Spears takes on her first acting role, the widely-panned "Crossroads."

September 2003: For the third year in a row, Britney creates a sensation at the MTV VMAs, sharing the stage (and some saliva) with Madonna and Christina Aguilera. She also releases her fourth album, "In the Zone" and takes the opportunity to present a birthday cake to Michael Jackson, which he infamously misinterpreted as an award for Artist of the Millennium. Which doesn't exist.

Nov. 17, 2003: Spears receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Jan. 3, 2004: The start of something not so good. Spears shocks the world by tying the knot with her childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander in a quickie wedding in Las Vegas. A few days later, the marriage is annulled.

MORE: Check out Britney's controversial video!

June 2004: Her fourth world tour is canceled when Spears suffers a debilitating knee injury while filming the music video for "Outrageous."

Sept. 18, 2004: At the age of 22, she marries backup dancer Kevin Federline.

2005: Not content to let the tabloid press do the dirty work for her, Britney makes strides in taking herself off whatever pedestal she was on (inadvertent though that may have been) by turning her home video footage into the UPN reality show Britney and Kevin: Chaotic. And it was.

Sept. 14, 2005: She gives birth to her first son, Sean Preston Federline.

June 2006: After a string of questionable, caught-on-camera maternal missteps, Britney sits down with Matt Lauer for an emotional interview defending her mothering skills and her marriage. It doesn't help her case all that much.

Sept. 12, 2006: Her second son, son Jayden James, is born.

Nov. 6, 2006: Britney files for divorce from K-Fed and immediately begins making the social rounds with Paris Hilton — and thus begins a string of questionable moves, associations and an alarmingly long period of underwear aversion.

MORE: Just how big is Britney on Twitter?!

February 2007: Britney shaves her head and attacks a paparazzi car with an umbrella. The next day, she checks into rehab.

March 2007: She checks out. All better?

September 2007: Clearly not prepared to get back into the spotlight, she opens the MTV VMAs with a trainwreck performance of "Gimme More."

Jan. 3, 2008: A low point. Britney locks herself in her bathroom with son Jayden James. Police, ambulances and helicopters swarm the property and she's removed via gurney and taken to a hospital, where she forcibly returns under a 5150 hold and is ultimately stripped of her custody. Her parents blame Sam Lutfi, her self-styled manager, for drugging and confusing the star.

Feb. 1, 2008: Jamie Spears is granted a temporary conservatorship over his daughter and her affairs, which lasts to this day.

MORE: 10 Best Weddings Ever!

March 2008: Comeback time! Britney pops up in a guest-starring role as a receptionist on "How I Met Your Mother."

July 16, 2008: Federline is awarded full custody of their two sons, with visitation rights only given to Spears.

September 2008: Britney's comeback album, "Circus," is released. She spends much of the next year on a world tour.

May 2010: Spears confirms that she's coupled up with her former agent Jason Trawick by taking him as her date to the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.

Sept. 28, 2010: Britney guest stars on "Glee."

March 29, 2011: Britney's seventh studio album, "Femme Fatale," is released and becomes her sixth No. 1 album.

MORE: What'll happen to Britney and Justin's music?

September 2011: Armed and scandalous! Britney and Trawick costar in Spears' "Criminal" music video, which causes controversy in London for depicting the duo ransacking a local store in the wake of the British riots.

August 2011: Britney's career is back in fine form as she accepts multiple awards at the Video Music Awards and even gamely appears onstage alongside Lady Gaga's alter ego Jo Calderrone.

FASHION SPOTLIGHT: Britney Spears

Fall 2011: Rumors reach a fever pitch that Trawick is planning on becoming the third Mr. Spears and gearing up to pop the question to his longtime girlfriend. Both sides deny. For now.

Dec. 2, 2011: Britney turns 30! Here's to another newsworthy decade.

0:00
 
0:00
Your video begins in
0:00
TOP