Photo from the New York Times.
By Terrance Turner
April 11, 2022 (updated May 14)
Britney Spears and her fiancé Sam Asghari have announced that the singer had a miscarriage.
“It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that we have lost our miracle baby early in the pregnancy,” the two wrote in a joint Instagram post. “This is a devastating time for any parent. Perhaps we should have waited to announce until we were further along; however, we were overly excited to share the good news,” the statement said. “Our love for each other is our strength. We will continue trying to expand our beautiful family.”
Spears revealed her pregnancy on Instagram on April 11, referencing fiance Sam Asghari (whom she referred to as “my husband”) in the post. “I lost so much weight on my Maui trip only to gain it back…I thought, ‘Geez, what happened to my stomach???’ My husband said, ‘No, you’re food pregnant silly!!!’ So I got a pregnancy test…and uhhhh well…I am having a baby,” Spears wrote.
This would’ve been the third child for Spears, who has two teenage sons — 16-year-old Sean Preston and 15-year-old Jayden James — with ex-husband Kevin Federline. (Spears filed for divorce from Federline just weeks after Jayden was born in September 2006. The divorce was finalized the following year.)
In the documentary “Framing Britney Spears”, Spears’ mother Lynne said she believed her daughter had postpartum depression — which Britney alluded to in her post. “I obviously won’t be going out as much due to the paps getting their money shot of me like they unfortunately already have,” she wrote, adding that “it’s hard because when I was last pregnant I had perinatal depression…I have to say it is absolutely horrible,” she wrote. “Women didn’t talk about it back then […] thank Jesus we don’t have to keep that pain a reserved proper secret.”
According to a 2020 review, perinatal depression affects 10 to 20 percent of people in the US. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “perinatal depression is depression that occurs during or after pregnancy. The symptoms can range from mild to severe […] Mothers with perinatal depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and fatigue that may make it difficult for them to carry out daily tasks, including caring for themselves or others.”
Indeed, Spears’ struggles became evident throughout 2007 and 2008. Faced with divorce, depression, and a custody battle — all under the unrelenting glare of the media spotlight — Spears began to unravel. In October 2007, she lost custody of her children to Federline. In January 2008, after refusing to relinquish the children to their father, she was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Then Spears was committed to a ward in UCLA Medical Center and placed under a 5150 psychiatric hold (for those who are “gravely disabled” or considered dangers to themselves or others). Spears was placed in a conservatorship, in which a court-appointed person manages the affairs of someone who is incapacitated (typically those who are elderly or disabled.) Her father Jamie Spears was placed in charge.
By summer 2008, Spears had recovered enough to write and record songs for her album Circus. “The process was cool, because I got to write a lot of the songs,” she told MTV. (She co-wrote three of them.) The album hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts and went multi-platinum; Spears went on tour in 2009 to promote it. Her album Femme Fatale hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2011; she worked as a judge on “X-Factor” the following year. Her album Glory made it to No. 3 on the charts in 2016. Spears was competent enough to write, record, and perform songs — but not enough to control her own money.
By 2019, Mr. Spears still controlled his daughter’s finances, but a licensed conservator, Jodi Montgomery, was tasked with her personal care. The New York Times adds: “The appointed conservators have control over everything from Ms. Spears’s mental health care to where and when she can travel; the setup requires that conservators are required to submit detailed accounts of her purchases to the court — including even minor charges like $5 purchases at Sonic Drive-In or Target.”
In an explosive courtroom testimony in June 2021, Spears blew the lid off of what she said was an abusive and controlling arrangement. She said she was drugged with lithium by doctors, forced to go on tour in 2018, and forced by her father to attend a $60,000 per month rehab facility.
“I packed my bags and went to that place. I worked seven days a week, no days off — which in California, the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking. Making anyone work against their will, taking all their possessions away — credit card, cash, phone, passport — and placing them in a home where they work with the people who live with them. They all lived in the house with me, the nurses, the 24-7 security. There was one chef that came there and cooked for me daily during the weekdays. They watched me change every day — naked – morning, noon and night.”
Spears further alleged that her contact with her children (and longtime boyfriend Sam Asghari) was limited. She told the court: “If I didn’t do any of my meetings and work from eight to six at night — which is 10 hours a day, seven days a week, no days off — I wouldn’t be able to see my kids or my boyfriend.”
Spears also told the court that her marriage rights and reproductive freedom were being compromised. “I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told, right now, in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby. I have an IUD inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the IUD out,” she said. “But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to remove it because they don’t want me to have any more children. So basically this conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good.”
“I deserve to have a life,” Spears said. Judge Brenda Penny agreed, terminating the conservatorship in September 2021. Days later, Spears and Asghari (who had been together since 2016) were engaged to be married.