Jamie Lynn Spears has spoken out about some of the negative press she faced after getting pregnant at 15.
The 32-year-old actor spoke candidly about her family and pregnancy – as she first welcomed her daughter, Maddie, in 2008 – during a recent episode of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! Speaking to fellow castmate Fred Sirieix, Spears opened up about leaving her hit show – Zoey 101 – before having her first child, and recalled some of the scrutiny she faced at the time.
“After I finished Zoey 101, I had the love of my life, or what I thought, and I got pregnant,” she said. “I decided to keep the baby. I had a baby and the whole world was like: ‘You’re a slut, you’re horrible, your life is over.’”
She acknowledged how she really felt about the criticism since she’d gotten “pregnant young” and was “on a kid’s show”. Spears went on to discuss how her parents felt about her pregnancy at first, noting that they “had a lot going on”.
“I think they were sad I was in this situation – it’s your baby having a baby. I had to hide away for a long time, they were relentless,” the actor added, referring to the paparazzi.
She recalled how, even though she’d moved to a different state after getting pregnant, she was still surrounded by the press.
“I moved to Mississippi and literally hid, put a gate around me,” she said. “I had 20 paparazzi on me every day, but they wouldn’t leave me alone. They came and lived in Mississippi, the middle of nowhere. It was horrible. I hated it so much. I wanted to be normal because I wanted my baby to be normal.”
The Nickelodeon alum then shared how the scrutiny affected the decisions she made as a mother. She officially welcomed Maddie in June 2008 with her now ex-boyfriend, Casey Aldrige.
“Everybody thought I was going to be a horrible mum so I thought ‘I’ve got to raise this baby by myself,’ and I did,” she added.
She continued to reflect on her decision to move away, as she tearfully told Sirieix that when she first got pregnant, “a lot of people around” her didn’t want her to have the baby. After Sirieix told her that everything she’s done in her life so far “is amazing”, Spears still acknowledged that she didn’t feel comfortable with those close to her, which was why she moved to Mississippi.
The All That star also recalled that at the time, she even tried to emancipate herself from her parents – Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears – so she “could make her own decisions”.
“I was secretly telling [my mother] I was going to doctor’s appointments and stuff like that, and I was going to meetings with a lawyer,” she said. “I told my mom I was going to get gas one day, but I went and met the lawyer, and I showed up at the house with the lawyer… My poor mom, we put her through it.”
“She didn’t want me to [get emancipated] because she knew that would mean I’d probably marry the father of this child and lose my fortune that I’d amassed over the years of working,” Spears added, before noting that her mother then encouraged her to move away. After revealing that this was the first time she felt like she was “in control,” she said that after she went to Mississippi, her mother still came to visit.
In addition to her 15-year-old daughter, the Sweet Magnolias star has a five-year-old daughter, Joan, who she shares with husband Jamie Watson.
Over the years, Spears has continued to open up about the criticism she faced when she had a child in her teens. During an appearance on Hannah Brown’s Better Tomorrow podcast in July, Spears addressed her decision to stop filming Zoey 101 after getting pregnant, confessing it was a choice that made sense for her.
“That was something I took responsibility for the way that made sense for me,” she said. “That doesn’t make sense for everyone else, but it made sense for me and the whole world came down and told me I was the worst human alive for doing so and that every young girl who ever watched my show was going to be ruined because of me and my personal decision.”
In her memoir,Things I Should Have Said, which came out in January 2022, Spears wrote that when she first got pregnant, and before she moved to Mississippi, her parents begged her to not have the baby or give her up for adoption. However, Spears claimed that after she chose to keep her child, she then ended up being “banished” to a location she said she can’t recall now.
“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,” she wrote.
Spears compared the time in her life to being in prison, adding how her team “went so far as hiding my pregnancy from” her sister – Britney Spears. She wrote that while her team said it was “too risky” to tell the singer about the baby, she still needed her sister “more than ever and [Britney] wasn’t able [to] help [her] in [her] most vulnerable time”.