How Britney has grown up
Tiny Dancer
 "I grew up in a really small town," Britney Spears has said of life in Kentwood, Louisiana (pop. 2,656). "I'm a Southern girl and I'm used to cajun food and blues music. I love where I come from."

Disney Darling

In 1993, Spears left Kentwood to join the Mickey Mouse Club. Though the show was canceled three years later, it was there that she first befriended Ryan Gosling, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.

Video Vixen

Clad in a revealing school girl uniform, the 16-year-old singer made her musical debut with the racy "…Baby One More Time" video in 1998. To date, Spears' first album has sold 25 million copies worldwide and spawned three Top 20 singles.

First Love

In 2002, Spears and Justin Timberlake broke up after three years of dating. "I was pretty infatuated with her," Timberlake told Barbara Waters post-split. "Looking back on it, [our relationship] definitely had this Great Expectations vibe to it."

A Star Is Born

Spears made her feature film debut in 2002's Crossroads (costarring Zoe Saldana and Taryn Manning). "I got really inspired by the friendship the girls had," she raved of the characters. "They all have their difference and their issues, but at the end of the day they have each other."

Sexy Smooch

Spears and Madonna had tongues wagging in 2003 when they kissed at the MTV Video Music Awards -- but Spears insisted it was the first time they ever locked lips. "We never really did it in rehearsal," the singer told Diane Sawyer in 2004, adding that "there was no tongue. I couldn't do that!"

Quickie Wedding

Honestly, I really wanted to see what it was like to be married," Spears explained of her 55-hour union to childhood pal Jason Alexander in January 2004. "Maybe that sounds silly, but in that moment I was with a friend that I love dearly and I wanted to do something wild and crazy."

Divorce Drama

Spears' two-year marriage to backup dancer Kevin Federline didn't end easily -- the couple spent years arguing over custody of their sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James. With an agreement reached in 2008, Federline told Access Hollywood that "as time goes on, things keep getting better and better."

Britney's Breakdown

Spears completed a month-long rehab program after shaving her head in February 2007. "I truly hit rock bottom," she explained on her website. "Till this day I don't think that it was alcohol or depression. I was like a bad kid running around with ADD."

Poor Performance

The singer kicked off the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, but her lackluster performance of "Gimme More" was torn apart by viewers. "I just felt like she wasn't ready, and I felt like [MTV] had to get their ratings," Kanye West, who closed the awards show, told Ellen DeGeneres.

The Final Straw

In January 2008, Spears was taken by ambulance to UCLA Medical Center and committed on a 5150 psychiatric hold. After a judge ruled that the singer needed someone to preside over her personal and financial affairs, the singer's father was appointed her conservator.

Mama's Boys

"Things are pretty quiet right now. I've been spending a lot of time at home with my boys," Spears told Cosmopolitan of life with sons Sean Preston (born in 2005) and Jayden James (born in 2006). "They just started karate class, which is super cute!"

Back on Top

The singer's "Circus" tour grossed $131.8 million worldwide. "We've changed up a couple of numbers in the show, so that's going to make it a lot more fun for me and the dancers," Spears told ET in 2009. "You have to update it otherwise it gets really boring."

Comeback Queen

Glee was such an incredibly fun experience, and I am so flattered they dedicated an entire episode to me," Spears told Us in Sept. 2010. "I had such a great time working with [creator] Ryan Murphy and the rest of the Glee cast."