Anyone following pop culture in the early 2000s will recall the moment paparazzi captured Britney Spears shaving her own head. Following the incident, Spears, then 25, checked into a rehab facility.
But why did she take hold of the razor in that Los Angeles salon? The 41-year-old opens about her mindset in that moment in 2007 in her new memoir “The Woman in Me."
The gesture was meant to be a big "F--- you" to the world, she said. At the time, Spears' marriage to Kevin Federline ended in 2006, a year before, unfolding in a public divorce. Further, her pop culture presence was scrutinized — and had been for years.
“My long hair was a big part of what people liked — I knew that," she writes. "I knew a lot of guys thought long hair was hot. Shaving my head was a way of saying to the world: F--- you. You want me to be pretty for you? F--- you. You want me to be good for you? F--- you. You want me to be your dream girl? F--- you."
Spears continues, "I’d smiled politely while TV show hosts leered at my breasts, while American parents says I was destroying their children by wearing a crop top, while executives patted my hand condescendingly and second-guessed my career choices even though I’d sold millions of records, while my family acted like I was evil. And I was tired of it.”
The February 2007 shaving came as Spears was publicly attempting to see her two sons, Jayden James and Sean Preston, amid her divorce from Federline. Spears wrote that she "gave (paparazzi) some material."
"I went into a hair salon, and I took the clippers, and I shaved off all my hair," Spears writes. "Everyone thought it was hilarious. Look how crazy she is! Even my parents acted embarrassed by me. But nobody seemed to understand that I was simply out of my mind with grief. My children had been taken away from me."
She chose to shave her own head after stylist Esther Tognozzi, owner of Esther’s Haircutting Studio in Los Angeles, refused to be involved, per an interview with Extra.
“She sat in my chair and said, ‘I want my hair shaved off.’ I said well I’m not doing it,” Tognozzi told Extra, per Reuters.
“Of course I tried to talk her out of it,” Tognozzi continued. “I said, ‘You know maybe you’re having a hormonal moment or something, and maybe tomorrow you’ll feel differently about it. Let’s talk about this.”
Spears also got two tattoos during the same outing.
Following the shaving, Spears revealed in her memoir that "everyone was scared of (her)," including her mother, and that no one would speak to her because she "was too ugly."
“The Woman in Me” was released Oct. 24 and covers over four decades of Spears' life. The bombshell memoir details her life under her 13-year conservatorship and takes a peek at her relationship with Timberlake, as well as her marriage with Kevin Federline, relationship with her parents, sister and more.