When success comes easy, so do the tensions and stress one has to cope with and one such physical threat is depression. Many celebrities have fought the misery of depression, including Woody Allen, Uma Thurman, Larry King, Owen Wilson and many more.
Celebrated pop sensation Britney Spears is among the renowned sufferers of depression. With success coming her way easily and early, Britney had a troubled life since her teens.
Her career began when she joined the Mickey Mouse Club at age 11 in 1993. After two years of co-hosting the show alongside Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake, she joined a girl band called ‘innosense’. She recorded solo work, which was then released. She splashed out onto the international music scene in 1999, at age 17, with her hit ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’.
Her long-term relationship with Justin Timberlake and her ensuing worldwide hits caused for much media frenzy, and from this time onwards, despite being only a teenager, Britney’s ups and downs, ins and outs and daily happenings were documented, published, and commented on in the global media.
Early success, however, can pose a threat. Mental health expert John McManamy said: “Britney is a victim of the forces that created her. All that fame at an early age poses a severe mental health risk. Just ask Judy Garland, who paid in full measure.”
Her break up with Justin in early 2002 is viewed by many as the beginning of her downward spiral. Keen to make a name for herself and enjoy being single, she was linked to Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst and Colin Farrell. After enjoying successes of her albums ‘Oops … I Did It Again’ and ‘Britney’, she released her fourth album ‘In The Zone’ in 2003, which was critically acclaimed. But while she was enjoying her career’s success, things in her personal life continued to dwindle. On a drunken night in Las Vegas in January 2004, Britney married childhood friend Jason Alexander. The marriage was annulled and lasted a total of 55 hours. Six months later she announced her engagement to back-up dancer Kevin Federline, whom she married in a shrill private ceremony on September 18 that same year. A year later, almost to the date, Britney gave birth to her first child, Sean Preston. Jayden James was born one year later on September 12, 2006.
Already in a fragile mental state because of paparazzi constantly following her and her every moved analyzed under a microscope in the media, she filed from divorce from Kevin in December 2006. Then, after losing her aunt to cancer in January, Spears entered a clinic in Antigua for less than 24 hours. It was the following night, on February 17, 2007, that Britney performed one of her most famous stunts: she shaved her head in front of a crowd of photographers. Images of the star shaving were splashed across the tabloids the world over, with many claiming the star was losing her sanity. A few days later she entered rehab in Los Angeles (see Britney Spears rehab article).
Her odd behavior continued to attract media attention throughout 2007, but nothing compared to the slashing she received following her performance at the internationally televised MTV Video Music Awards in September 2007. Her usually precise and explosive performances were a thing of the past, evidently: that night, Britney appeared confused, out of it, and could barely manage to keep up with her dancers as she lip-synced her song.
Degrading, accusatory and shameful media coverage followed the performance: everyone wanted to have a go at her, and make fun of her pitiful performance. Perhaps the attention she received was adding to her problems. If she was in treatment and seeking to overcome her personal issues (mental, in this case) the media should have backed off and given her room to recover and re-establish herself. Instead, they probably achieved the opposite, and made things worse.
The fierce custody battle Britney lost to her husband also provided more than a handful of problems. In early January 2008, after reportedly not sleeping for four days and not wanting to hand over custody of her children, police were called to her home to handle the situation. Because she appeared to be under the influence of substances, police called for an ambulance to take her to Cedars Sinai hospital where she was held for psychiatric evaluation for two days. Following her release, her father gained conservatorship.
The rest of 2008 saw her regaining control. She made guest appearances on TV shows, opened the MTV Video Music Awards (successfully, but with a skit) that year, and released her next album, ‘Circus’. After the extreme pitfall in her life, it seems she is now back on the up and up, with fans reportedly looking forward to a May 2010 album.
Images: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brits_star_in_hollywood_walk_of_fame.JPG, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Britney_Spears_Navy.jpg, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Circus-Tour.jpg
Tags: depression rehab