EXCLUSIVE People EXCLUSIVE
It’s a sunny March afternoon outside Britney Spears‘s hillside mansion in Southern California, and the backyard antics are in full swing. With light sabers in hand, the superstar’s sons – Sean Preston, 9, wearing an astronaut’s helmet, and Jayden James, 8, in a Darth Vader mask – happily spar on the grass. “Ohhhh yesss!” yells Preston after he nails a front flip, landing on his feet near Jayden, who follows with a 360-degree break-dance-style spin on his back. Taking in the brotherly shenanigans, Spears smiles and at one point playfully scolds her boyfriend of six months, producer Charlie Ebersol, 32, when he swings Jayden up in the air beside the pool. “Baby, do not drop my son!” she says. The kids start to giggle.
Laughter is the norm these days around the Spears home. After more than 15 years as a pop star, the multiplatinum singer is on a roll—her longrunning Las Vegas residency has grossed nearly $50 million in ticket sales in little more than a year. But while she loves performing, Spears’s true passion is being a mother. “My kids come first in my life, bottom line,” says Spears, 33. Her mom, Lynne, who visits from Louisiana each month, tells PEOPLE, “I am so proud of my daughter and all her accomplishments, but I am especially proud of the mom she is and the woman she has become.”
Finding a balance isn’t always easy, but Spears is thankful she’s able to enjoy both a booming career and a private life as a soccer mom, girlfriend and devoted daughter. She doesn’t take any of it for granted. Says the megastar: “I’m very, very blessed.”
What’s a normal day at home like?
We get up and have breakfast. Eggs, bacon, croissants – yummy stuff. The kids just got into doing their hair and trying to be cool, which is really funny. Preston wants to be Justin Bieber, and Jayden has this whole Jim Carrey look…. After school sometimes they’ll go to gymnastics, which they love. Or I take them to the skate park. They’re obsessed. We have a half-pipe at the house. They go to a really hard school, and this week we had three hours of homework [a night]. Some of it is hard for me. Next year when [Preston’s] in fifth grade, he’s going to be doing prealgebra, and I’m taking classes so I know how to do it! Homework is a priority, and we have a reward system that helps motivate them: If they get so many A’s, they get one toy a month.
Describe their personalities.
Preston is very opinionated, very expressive, and if he doesn’t like something, he’s going to tell you. But he has a huge heart, he’s a good kid, and he has manners. It’s been enlightening for me to see him growing and changing. Jayden is sweet, very soft-spoken, kinda funny. He’s adorable – a mama’s boy…. They put their plates in the sink and wash them off; they take out the trash and help with the dogs. Preston just asked for a high allowance – like $10 a week or $20 a week—but we’ll see
How would you feel if they wanted to go into the entertainment business?
They’re not passionate about it. If it’s something they want to do in the future, I would try to steer them away from it. But if they really had a true love for it, then I would help them, since it’s about what that little person wants for their life, you know?
How is Charlie with them?
They relate to him really well, and they have fun together. He’s refreshing to be around and really lighthearted…. My assistant introduced us. I saw a picture of him and I thought he was really adorable, and she said he was good people, so I went for it. For our first date he said, “What do you want to do?” and I said, “Cook for me,” so he made fish, mushrooms, avocado with a dressing, and tomatoes and mozzarella. It was amazing. There was something about him that made me feel really peaceful and at ease. And he was really hot too. Adorably hot. For my birthday we made waffles on the floor, with candles, and he bought me a real beautiful cake and a beautiful gift that I have on the wall. One of my favorite songs is “Thank U,” by Alanis Morissette, and he put all the words to the song in a long frame. It was really thoughtful.
Would you get married again?
I would love to. I believe in the fairy tale…. Love is a hard one. I don’t really understand love as far as relationships. With my kids it’s just unconditional, and that’s hard to find. It takes two people just loving each other a lot.
Unfortunately I haven’t been given that in a really long time. I’m not really the person to ask what it takes to get married, but personally for me, it’s about loving each other and communicating right and being respectful and honest.
Are you open to having more kids?
I would like to have one more. I am very satisfied with my two boys, but maybe in the future. I would love a mini-me. That would be fun!
Things seem great for you right now.
I’m in a real good place in my life. I have a great show, and I’m able to be off every six weeks and I get to indulge in my kids. I get summers off, so we can do fun things like have barbecues. The boys are in such a good stage in their lives. They’re able to think for themselves and are becoming little people. It’s fascinating…. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. My priorities are straight: making family No. 1 and being consistent with that and having God in my life.
Did you ever think you’d be this happy?
No, never. Not in my wildest dreams.