Why Did Britney Spears Divorce Kevin Federline?

There’s no denying that 2004 gave us some of the most significant pop-culture moments that will forever be embedded in our memories.

Not only was that the year Janet Jackson had a massive wardrobe fail while performing at the Super Bowl halftime show, but it was also the beginning of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline‘s messy, chaotic marriage that spun out of control right before our very eyes.

Kevin Federline and Britney Spears
Kevin Federline and Britney Spears | J.Sciulli/WireImage for Ogilvy Public Relations

Spears and Federline had a ‘Chaotic’ marriage

2004 was a whirlwind time, and no one is as forthcoming about that than Spears and Federline.

That was the year the couple tied the knot after just three months of dating. Though they were head over heels for one another, the couple’s marriage quickly went from a fairytale to the byproduct of a trainwreck in the span of just a few months.

Sparks first started to fly between Spears and Federline — a former backup dancer for Justin Timberlake — in April 2004 after she invited him to join her Onyx Hotel Tour that kicked off that same year.

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline| Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

But midway through rehearsals for the tour, Spears hurt her knee onstage, which forced her to cancel two shows. Though she pulled through and sold-out arenas and stadiums all over Europe, she re-injured the knee while shooting a music video in June 2004, which forced her to cancel the remainder of her tour.

The singer was ordered to rest for four months, during which she took that time to get closer to Federline and proposed to him in July 2004.

Despite jokingly declining her proposal at first, the rapper asked for the singer’s hand in marriage moments later, and she said yes.

Once news broke of the couple’s engagement, their relationship began receiving intense scrutiny from the media, especially since Federline had broken up with actress Shar Jackson, who was still pregnant with their second child at the time, a few months before he started dating Spears.

Though their newfound relationship was under the watchful eye of the media, Spears and Federline didn’t let that stop them from taking the next step in their relationship.

On Sept. 18, 2004, the pair exchanged vows during their “engagement party,” after deciding last minute to scrap their plans for a posh wedding ceremony.

Their divorce was extremely messy

After being married for two years and welcoming two sons together, signs of trouble began appearing in the couples’ marriage.

Just two months after giving birth to her youngest son, the Grammy winner told Federline that she wanted a divorce via text.

Once news broke of the couple’s split, many publications cited Federline’s partying habits as one of the causes for the breakup.

Federline would later tell reporters that he was totally “blindsided” by the way it ended and revealed that the pop star announced her divorce plans to him the night before.

Though Federline later admitted to having a complicated marriage with Spears, the singer confessed in her 2008 documentary, For The Record, that she made a mistake by marrying the dancer.

“I think I married for the wrong reasons,” she said. “Instead of following my heart and doing something that made me really happy, I just did it for the idea of everything.”

Spears filed for divorce on Nov. 7, 2006, citing irreconcilable differences. In a temporary agreement, she was granted custody of her sons with three days of visitation for Federline.

After that, the happy relationship Spears and Federline once had was gone in an instant and replaced with dramatic events that ultimately shaped pop culture.

Following the couple’s divorce, the “Oops!… I Did It Again” singer began showcasing erratic behavior, which her manager later acknowledged as a rocky moment.

In addition to her hard-partying and driving around with her infant son in her lap rather than a car seat, it was clear that the singer had reached her breaking point when she shaved her head and attacked a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella in 2007.

Since her behavior was extremely concerning, Federline sought out for primary physical custody of the pair’s sons, just a couple weeks after their divorce had been finalized.

This caused the exes to battle it out in court until a judge ordered Spears to surrender custody to Federline in October 2007. Spears and Federline did not reach a joint custody agreement until the summer of 2008.

Where do the exes stand with each other today?

Though their divorce and custody battle proved to be extremely messy, Spears and Federline have since gotten over the drama and are on relatively good terms these days.

Despite facing a few hiccups along the way surrounding their custody agreement, the exes have maintained a civil relationship over the years.

While they previously had 50-50 custody of their sons, it was revealed in 2018 that Federline now gets 70 percent custody of the boys while the pop star only gets 30 after he filed a restraining order against Spears’ father and conservator, Jamie Spears.

Though Federline isn’t on the best of terms with the patriarch of the Spears family, it doesn’t seem like he has any bad blood toward his ex-wife.

Even though their new custody agreement is more in favor of Federline, the rapper’s attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, recently told E! News that him changing the contract was not his way of making Spears out to be a bad mom.

“Kevin in no way wants to prevent the boys from having any unreasonable custodial contact with their mom,” Kaplan said. “The boys love their mother but the existing [custody] arrangement, as reflected in the terms of the most recently entered order, are reflecting what Kevin believes is in the children’s best interest.”