Britney Spears Was ‘Scared’ to Move to New York for Her Career When She Was 17

Britney Spears‘ career really started to take off when she was 17 years old. She’d been singing and performing well before then. But around 1999, Spears became recognized on a global scale.

The pop star has been in the news recently thanks to the #FreeBritney movement and the release of the documentary, Framing Britney Spears, which shines a light on the singer’s court-ordered conservatorship that’s partially overseen by her father, Jamie Spears.

A lot has happened since 1999. But, even back then, Spears had some reservations about her career. Like leaving her home when she was a teenager to try and make it in New York.

Britney Spears in a shiny silver top in 2000.
Britney Spears | Dave Hogan/Getty Images

When Britney Spears moved to New York as a teenager, she lived with an acquaintance of her mother’s

When Spears was a teenager, she left her home of Kentwood, Louisiana to move to New York to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. Her parents didn’t accompany her. She stayed with a woman her mother’s friend was friends with.

“I’m based in New York,” she told Variety in 1999 when asked where she currently lives. “My mom’s best friend’s friend stays with me. It’s worked out really well, she’s wonderful.”

Spears said she didn’t “know what I’d do without her” because she often felt lonely living in a big city and frequently traveling for work.

“It’s lonely, traveling, and all these hotel rooms,” she said. “Sometimes you’re really busy and it gets really crazy and it’s wonderful to have someone there, to talk to about everything.”

Britney Spears was ‘scared,’ at first, to live in New York

Though Spears wanted nothing more than to be a singer for as long as she could remember, moving to New York as a teenager to live with a woman her mother knew through someone else was nerve-racking. She didn’t know anyone else in the city and she was a far ways from home.

“I have to admit I didn’t like it at first because I was so overwhelmed,” she said. “New York is like a foreign country in itself. For the first two weeks I was thrown.”

But the soon-to-be pop star made friends, adjusted, and before she knew it, New York felt like home.

“It took time and after being there for so long I feel like I’m at home,” she said. “I love it so much. It’s just the age that I’m at because it’s so high energy and the shopping’s awesome and I’ve made friends there. At first, I didn’t know anyone and I was scared.”

What the ‘Stronger’ singer wanted the rest of her life to look like at 17

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The interviewer also asked Spears what she envisioned the future of her career looking like. She was content with where she was, but she wanted to “have a family and settle down” at the age of 21.

“I want to sing,” she said. “I want to focus on my music. In the long run, I would really like to act and try and get into that. I’m really happy with what I’m doing right now, but four years from now, I definitely want to have a family and children and settle down. But right now, yeah, this is definitely what I want to do.”