What Britney Spears Wanted Her Future Career and Life to Look Like When She Was 17

Britney Spears is 39 years old. She’s been in the entertainment industry for the majority of her life. Ever since Spears was young, she wanted nothing more than to be a famous singer, a goal she accomplished by the time she was a teenager. Here’s what she wanted the rest of her life and career to look like at the age of 17.

A young Britney Spears standing in a closet, smiling, with her hands up. She's wearing a red tank top and jeans.
Britney Spears | The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

How Britney Spears became famous

In an interview Spears did with Variety back in 1999, she spoke about signing with her record label, Jive, like it was the simplest thing in the world.

“I had an entertainment lawyer in New York, because when I was really young I auditioned for the Mickey Mouse Club, but I was too young,” she said. “So instead the casting director told me to go to New York and when I went I did, I met up with this entertainment lawyer. And, after two years, I auditioned again for the Mickey Mouse Club and I did that for two years, and after that, I went home and was, like, a normal kid again. Then, I was like, ‘Y’know, I’d like to get back into the entertainment business.’ So I sent the entertainment lawyer a tape of me singing and some pictures and he sent it to Jive Records and they signed me.”

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The song Spears sent Jive Records was “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. After the label received the tape, they invited Spears to sing for them in person, a capella.

“It was sort of nerve-wracking because I’m used to singing in front of big crowds and I went in there and there were these 10 executive people sitting there, staring at me,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I’m just going to close my eyes and do the best I can do.’ And I sang and thank goodness they signed me.”

And the rest is history.

Britney Spears on her early days of fame

In 1999, Spears was still getting used to being a famous person.

“When I go to places, [fans are] really, really, really sweet and really nice,” she said. “They’re like, ‘We love you’ and stuff like that. And I get a bunch of emails saying, ‘How did you get started?,’ and I explain to them.”

At the time, Spears was still sometimes responding to fan mail — “Some of the letters, I definitely write back because they’re really, really sweet and I just think it’s really nice that they’re taking out time in their day to say they totally admire me. It’s really flattering.”

She also wasn’t yet “overwhelm[ed]” at the degree in which she was being recognized in public.

“It’s not really overwhelming,” she said when the interviewer asked if she elicits attention just walking down the street. “It’s at the point where it’s okay. It doesn’t get on my nerves. It’s cool.”

What the ‘Stronger’ singer envisioned for her life and career at 17

When asked what Spears envisioned the rest of her life to look like, she spoke of wanting to start a family and break into acting. But, mostly, she wanted to keep singing.

“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.”

Today, Spears has two children and is dating actor Sam Asghari.