Looking ahead to Britney Spears’ future

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/ Source: msnbc.com contributor
By By Kim Reed

With to backup dancer/Red Bull aficionado Kevin Federline now confirmed, many fans (and foes) are wondering what will come next in the former Mouseketeer's career. Whatever happened to the teen who was "Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman"?

With the couple still measuring their wedded bliss in hours instead of days or weeks, prognosticators and pundits alike are trying to figure out what Britney's next move will be, and how her marriage will affect her career.

Many have criticized Britney's choices lately: an impulsive quickie marriage here, a barefoot journey into a public restroom there. At 22, she seems to be heading on a downward spiral, one from which she may never recover. Herewith, a glimpse into her future:

September 18, 2004: Britney Spears marries Kevin Federline in a small, private ceremony attended by family and close friends. Those worried that Britney is losing her sense of tackiness can rest assured that guests dined on chicken fingers and ribs, and the couple shared a first dance to Journey's "City By the Bay", played on a boombox. Of all the cheesy love songs Journey produced, the happy couple chose the one about San Francisco? In addition, the men in the wedding party donned matching warmup suits emblazoned with the word "Pimps" on the back. Classy!

September 22, 2004: Kevin Federline's ex-girlfriend Shar Jackson issues her own statement about how happy she is for the couple, and by the way, did you hear about her great idea for a reality show about a single mom?

October 2004: Tabloid reports begin to surface about Britney and Kevin feuding in public, and Britney travels to Louisiana to stay with her mother for a few weeks. Britney's publicist strenuously denies any problems in the marriage.

November 2004: Britney and Kevin do an exclusive primetime interview with Katie Couric during November sweeps. They discuss how they want to start a family as soon as possible. They also work in no less than 10 mentions of Britney's "Greatest Hits" CD, which drops Nov. 9.

April 2005: Britney reveals to a writer from Vanity Fair that she is pregnant and due in September. Vanity Fair puts her on the cover of its May issue, and there are behind-the-scenes reports from the photo shoot that Kevin wanted to be included in the photo and Britney refused. Allegedly, Kevin threw his half-empty can of Red Bull against the wall and stomped outside for a smoke. The cover photo featured a pregnant Britney alone.

September 2005: Justice Lynn Federline is born. Tabloids report that Kevin barely made it to the hospital in time for the birth of his third child, and rumors begin swirling that Britney and Kevin are no longer sharing a residence.

November 2005: Britney, Kevin, and Justice do an exclusive primetime sweeps interview with Diane Sawyer. Britney insists that her marriage is fine, and that they've never been happier.

January 2006: Britney files for divorce. The Web site posts copies of Britney and Kevin's prenuptial agreement. Kevin countersues, protesting that he signed the prenup while under the influence, and thus was unable to make rational decisions. An anonymous source from Britney's camp asserts that even on a good day, Kevin is unable to make a rational decision. A California judge rules that the prenup is invalid, and Britney settles with Kevin for an undisclosed amount. Kevin promptly drops out of the public eye, and is last seen performing as a backup dancer on the New Kids on the Block reunion tour.

July 2006: Britney is photographed exiting a New York club with Tara Reid and Lindsay Lohan. Her publicist issues a statement that Britney was discussing potential film collaborations.

August 2006: Britney is photographed exiting a Los Angeles club with Ashton Kutcher, fresh from his July divorce from Demi Moore. Her publicist issues a statement that Britney was discussing a comeback vehicle for both of them, since Kutcher has not been seen on screen since "Punk'd: The Movie" bombed in late 2005.

September 2006: Britney delivers a rambling and incoherent discourse on the nature of celebrity during a press conference announcing the release of her new CD "Greatest Hits: Volume 2." Her publicist issues a statement that Britney is suffering from exhaustion and jet lag.

November 2006: Britney's new CD drops off the charts after spending two weeks at number 36. Rumors of Britney's mental deterioration fuel tabloid stories. Late in the month, Britney checks into Promises rehab center for a month-long stay for addiction to prescription painkillers.

January 2007: Even the tabloids stop paying attention to Britney.

October 2008: Almost two years after her last CD was released, Random House announces a Britney Spears tell-all memoir on their fall release list, titled "Sometimes I Run."

November 2008: Britney makes the talk show rounds to promote her new book. She wears a suit and appears both self-deprecating and lucid. "Sometimes I Run" stays on the New York Times Non-Fiction Best Seller List for 14 weeks. Critics hail the book as "courageous" and "juicy." In it, Britney reveals that she never stopped loving Justin Timberlake, and that all of  2004 was a reaction to losing him. When reached for comment, Justin (in the middle of his 'NSYNC reunion world tour) says, "Britney was my first love, and she will always have a special place in my heart." Meanwhile, tickets sales for 'NSYNC's tour are less than expected.

June 2009: Britney announces a string of performances in Las Vegas at the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace, recently vacated by Celine Dion. The shows sell out immediately, and Britney eventually performs a month's worth of shows to rave reviews, then takes time off to record a new album.

May 2010: Britney does a tongue-in-cheek cameo as herself on ABC's hip sitcom "No New Messages" during May sweeps.

June 2010: Paparazzi capture photos of Justin Timberlake kissing Britney on the cheek as they exit an L.A. restaurant. Britney's publicist claims that they are "old friends and nothing more."

July 2010: Justin Timberlake's publicist issues a statement confirming that he and Cameron Diaz have divorced, and Cameron will retain custody of their two children, Rhubarb and Scarlett. The publicist denies that Britney Spears had anything to do with the breakup.

November 2010: Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake do an exclusive prime time sweeps interview, in which they admit that they are dating, but are trying to take it slow. They record a duet of a dance version of "The Mickey Mouse Club Theme Song" which hits number one on the club charts.

December 2010: Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake get married on New Year's Eve in Memphis in a private ceremony. Shortly thereafter, Britney announces that she is pregnant, and due in early summer.

March 2025: Britney Spears is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility. The nominating committee cites her pioneering work as a teen pop artist, and despite a few missteps early on in her career, acknowledge that her more mature sound paved the way for both male and female artists in the years to follow. Britney attends the ceremony with her husband and fellow inductee, Justin Timberlake, as well as their children Justice, Rhubarb, Scarlett, and Britain.

Britney is back, and it's fabulous.

Kim Reed is a freelance writer in Upstate New York