At the tender age of three, while living in Kentwood, Louisiana, Britney started taking dance lessons. She made her debut on a local stage at the age of five, singing the classic Christmas carol “What Child is This?” at her kindergarten graduation. Even at a young age, Spears was ambitious, and her parents were constantly driving her to dance, gymnastics, voice lessons, and talent shows.
She has said of the period: “I was in my own world…I found out what I’m supposed to do at an early age.” At the age of eight, Britney went with her mom to audition for “The Mickey Mouse Club.” She was too young but still made important connections in the industry.
Baby for the First Time
Britney Jean Spears was born on December 2nd, 1981, in McComb, Mississippi. She was the second child of James Parnell Spears and Lynne Irene Bridges. She had a maternal grandmother from England, Lillian Portell, and one of her maternal great-great-grandfathers came from Malta.
She has an elder brother named Bryan James, and a younger sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, who has found fame of her own. Britney started life in the middle of America's Bible belt.
Getting Her Start in Showbiz
Spears got her next shot at fame a few years later. At age ten, she landed an understudy role on the Off-Broadway musical "Ruthless!" She auditioned to become part of "The Mickey Mouse Club" a second time, a year later, and was accepted, finding herself among Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell, and Ryan Gosling.
Apparently, it was Gosling who taught Spears about the birds and the bees, giving her a sex-ed class when she asked him about it. Disney is apparently great at finding young talent – Justin Timberlake was also part of the cast. We'll hear more about him later.
Something Like a Normal Life
Spears and her family spent three years filming "The Mickey Mouse Club" in Orlando, and when the show was canceled, they all moved back to Kentwood. After her taste of stardom, Spears led a pretty normal life. She re-enrolled in high school and played point guard on the basketball team.
Her father bought a gym, and the family all pitched in to keep it successful. Britney coordinated aerobics classes. She also got a part-time job at her great-grandmother's crawfish restaurant as a waitress. If there's one thing we know about Britney, it's that she knows how to work hard.
She Always Wanted More
During this period of her life, Spears was surviving, but she wasn't thriving. She knew she wanted more out of life than just working as a waitress, playing basketball, and going to prom. She had her eyes on the stars. Specifically, she wanted to try out professional singing.
Her mother, Lynne, was just as determined to get her daughter a good career, so she found Britney a manager to help her find singing jobs. A breakthrough came in June 1997, when an all-girl band asked Britney to join them. Yes, back in 1997, Britney was all but unknown.