Jamie Lynn Spears Recalls 'Painful' Time of 'Isolation' Following Teen Pregnancy in Memoir Excerpt
Jamie Lynn Spears is ready to tell all.
The Zoey 101 alum, 30, is opening up about the trials and tribulations she's faced as a teen star and teen mom in a famous family in her upcoming memoir Things I Should Have Said, of which PEOPLE has an exclusive first look.
"I felt a strong conviction to share my story, but there was a lot of personal work and healing that had to happen before I could share my truth the proper way," Spears wrote on Instagram at the time. "I've spent my whole life believing that I had to pretend to be perfect, even when I wasn't, so for the first time I am opening up about my own mental health, because this process challenged me to have to be painfully honest with myself, and face a lot of hard things, that I normally would have just glossed right over, like I was taught to."
In an exclusive excerpt from the memoir, which will be published by Worthy Books on Jan. 18, Spears finally reveals both the internal and external struggles she faced in 2007, when she became pregnant with Maddie at just 16 years old.
I came home from school, and Daddy and Bryan were there. A single day had elapsed before Daddy's anger brought out the sense of dread everyone felt about my situation. Once Momma and Daddy told my team, things spiraled out of control pretty quickly. When I walked in, Daddy, Bryan, and Momma were in the house and [a member of] my financial management team was on the phone. There was a whole lot of fighting going on between everyone involved. The entire Spears team was already caught up in my sister's PR difficulties, and everyone around me just wanted to make this "issue" disappear. My family and management pulled me out of school until they could figure out what to do next. They took my smartphone away, fearing the news would get out, and insisted that no one share any information with anyone, especially the press. My daddy and I stopped speaking and the tension was terrible.
For the first few days, I spent most of the time in my room. Everyone had their own opinion about what was best for me. One person after another—and there were many—came to my room trying to convince me that having a baby at this point in my life was a terrible idea. There was lots of chatter, but none of it felt right to me. It will kill your career. You are just too young. You don't know what you're doing. There are pills you can take. We can help you take care of this problem. Think about what you're doing to your family. Doesn't the family have enough to deal with? I know a doctor. There are procedures that remedy mistakes like this. You don't have to do this. He's a louse. He'll never be able to care for the baby or you. Jamie Lynn, don't make a mistake you'll regret for the rest of your life. I'll never forget that last plea—of making a mistake I would regret—because it reinforced my decision to have my baby.
Discussions continued, and everyone was certain that termination would be the best course of action. I will never forget when [a member of my team] stood up for me and said, "Y'all can't force her to abort the baby." She was the first and only person on my team to show any support for my desire to keep my baby. The next option was for me to go to Mercy Ministries, a home for unwed mothers in Tennessee, where I could eventually give up my baby for adoption. Daddy and I fought, slinging words and tossing insults. He grabbed me by the shoulders and held on tightly in the hopes of bending me to his will. I got in his face and yelled, "NO! I won't go." I couldn't deal with any of them. I ran away from them, panting with rage.
RELATED VIDEO: Jamie Lynn Spears Recalls Trying to 'Hide Away for a Little Bit' After Announcing Pregnancy at 16
Home felt like a prison without a smartphone or connection to the outside world. My team believed everyone outside of the inner circle was a potential threat. They went so far as hiding my pregnancy from my sister, claiming, "It's too risky to tell Britney about the baby." I needed her more than ever and she wasn't able help me in my most vulnerable time. Britney's condition was spiraling into something more concerning. They were concerned her instability at that time made her untrustworthy. I went along with what my team told me to do because I was a minor and didn't want to create any more issues. Britney learned of the pregnancy when the article was released. To this day, the hurt of not being able to tell my sister myself lingers.
I was still suffering with morning sickness, which in a way drained me of any fight I may have had at the time. I was banished and basically hidden away. Misery and loneliness persisted. Those feelings intensified when the team decided Momma and I should be moved from our house to a secure location far away until OK! released the story. This irritated me, yet I still couldn't garner the strength to object. Supported by our security team, my mom and I traveled to Connecticut, or so I was told, to an undisclosed location. We flew into New York and then drove for what felt like hours. To this day I'm not sure where in the Northeast we hid.
My baby and I were big news. Traveling through airports was out of the question. We stayed sequestered for a few more days and drove the twenty-two hours back to Kentwood to avoid the paparazzi. The cabin was bad enough, but the endless hours cooped up in that car were awful. I was uncomfortable and tried to sleep most of the way home. And still the isolation continued. This was a painful time for me.
At sixteen, my impressionable heart had already woven dreams of a home where Casper and I could raise our baby and prove we could be happy. The only way that could happen, and fast, was to move out from underneath my parents' roof and be on my own. Resistance to this idea came quickly from all fronts. My momma and daddy thought I was being foolish, and my brother, Bryan, felt sad that I was dealing with such weighty decisions at my age. Britney was in the midst of her own crisis, and because we were isolated from each other, our communication was nonexistent. My family denied my attempts to be independent and left me with no other choice than to threaten to file for emancipation with the courts. I spent days agonizing with my pending decision. But I followed my gut and instructed my new lawyer to go ahead and draw up the petition. The following Saturday morning, my lawyer and I showed up and served my momma with papers. Daddy was gone at that point, and Momma contacted the team to discuss the issues. They had real concerns about me marrying my boyfriend and giving him access to all of my earnings. Simultaneously, my sister was experiencing her own breakdown, and media speculation about her wellness and our family already had the paparazzi swarming. Everyone involved with my saga reluctantly agreed that we needed to do what was best to avoid any more negative media attention.
Excerpted from Things I Should Have Said by Jamie Lynn Spears. (Copyright 2021) Used with permission from Worthy Books, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
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