In 2018, Britney Spears is on top of the world. The 36-year-old singer recently ended her pioneering, four-year Las Vegas Piece of Me residency on Dec. 31 after nearly 250 shows — which raked in more than $100 million in ticket sales — and celebrated days later by jetting off to Hawaii with her sons, Sean Preston, 12, and Jayden James, 11, for a family vacation.
Of course, the social media-savvy superstar documented her day of R&R with her boys — whom she shares with ex-husband Kevin Federline — on Instagram. In the photos she shared, Britney sports her signature, megawatt smile and looks fitter than ever in a tiny yellow bikini. If you were to look up the words “happy” or “healthy” in the dictionary, you might find a picture of the pop princess.
Professionally and personally, Britney — who is currently in a loving relationship with 23-year-old fitness model Sam Asghari — is thriving. With that in consideration, it’s almost incomprehensible that it was just 10 years ago, in the wee hours of Jan. 4, 2008, that the iconic entertainer was involuntarily hospitalized on a 5150 psychiatric hold.
After a year full of troubling behavior, reportedly fueled by substance abuse and an undisclosed mental illness, Britney finally hit her breaking point on that fateful January night. As many are well aware, she took a particularly hard fall from grace in 2007. In a string now-infamous incidents, burned in the back of every Britney fan’s mind, the Grammy winner shaved her head, checked into and out of rehab, and attacked a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella, among other worrisome outbursts.
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During this problematic time, she had lost custodial rights of her children after failing to obey court orders. Still, despite her fragile state, K-Fed seemingly did his best to make sure that Sean and Jayden saw their mother every so often. When she was promised to have her kids from noon until 7 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2008, Britney made an attempt to extend her visitation — and reportedly refused to hand the boys over when their father’s bodyguards came to pick them up from her home in LA’s Studio City neighborhood.
According to various reports, Britney’s court-appointed monitor called the police to report a family-custody dispute when the “Gimme More” songstress locked herself in a room with her youngest son, Jayden, after Sean was safely surrendered to dad Kevin’s security team. At the time, TMZ reported that, in 90 minutes, ambulances and fire trucks arrived at Britney’s house, while a police helicopter hovered overhead. Naturally, a media firestorm ensued — and dozens of paps’ cars were lined outside her gated community, trying their best to snap a picture of the former teen idol during what is arguably her lowest point to date.
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Authorities allegedly found the mom-of-two “under the influence of an unknown substance” before she was strapped to a gurney by paramedics and taken to West Hollywood’s Cedars-Sinai Medial center, where was was placed under a 72-hour medical evaluation. In haunting images from that night, a then-26-year-old Britney looks bleary-eyed and confused in the back of an ambulance.
Thankfully, her three-day lockdown set the stage for an epic comeback. Not even a year later, Britney, who had since entered a conservatorship under the guidance of her father, Jamie Spears, regained visitation rights of her kids — she currently shares 50/50 custody with Kevin, now 39 — and released her sixth album, Circus, on her 27th birthday, Dec. 2, 2008. Since then, the celebrated performer has released three more highly successful LPs — including her latest chart-topper, 2016’s Glory, which spawned hit singles “Make Me…” and “Slumber Party.”
Though she hardly acknowledges that distinctively calamitous era of her life, Britney reflected on the strides she’s made in the past decade during an interview with Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot back in June, days before a sold-out concert in Tel Aviv.
“I think I had fun when I was younger. I was a pretty normal girl, a tomboy. But my twenties were awful. From an early age I always felt that everyone was testing me. If [something] was not in place, it would have been enough to get me to this point of anxiety,” she explained, adding that her darker days have only made her more resilient. “I think I had to give myself more breaks through my career and take responsibility for my mental health.”
Stronger than yesterday, indeed. For more on the legendary Miss Britney Spears, check out her best quotes about love in the video below!