Is Britney Spears Retiring After Las Vegas?

The singer talks about being homesick for Louisiana, where she grew up. Will she abandon fame for a small-town life?

We didn't learn too much about Britney Spears from last night's E! documentary I Am Britney Jean. But she did say something very revealing in an interview on Saturday: she thinks about retiring.

"I have thought about it, but I think right now is my time to perform and doing what I'm doing," Spears told E! reporter Marc Malkin at a promotional event for her film. "If I happen to have another baby or something like that, I'd probably move back to Louisiana."

"I do miss Louisiana," she continued. "I miss the people. I miss the food. I miss the way of life, how everything is really simple. There's no traffic like there is in L.A. It's really nice."

Wow, she sounds really nostalgic for home! Considering that Spears is about to spend two years performing nightly in Las Vegas, that's a surprise. Is that Vegas cash being set aside as part of a retirement plan? Could the two-year residency be Britney's last hurrah?

It's possible that this retirement talk could be part of a marketing strategy, like Cher's succession of "farewell" tours: see Britney now before she's gone forever! But we suspect there's more to it than that.

Britney has always struggled with her own fame. Her new album Britney Jean was supposed to show the world the "real," authentic Britney -- but it left most of us wondering where she was hiding. Her pop-star image seems totally detached from anything she truly feels. She even said as much in I Am Britney Jean, joking that she has "bipolar disorder" because she turns "into this different person" when she performs.

Looking back on all the crazy things she's done, particularly her quickie marriage to childhood pal Jason Alexander, we wonder if it all came out of a longing to go back home. We have no idea who Britney really is, and maybe she's simply a small-town girl who's desperate to set down roots. That doesn't fit with her flashy image, but hearing her talk about Louisiana -- the place she lived before she became a child star -- makes us think that she left a part of herself there. Maybe the part that she left off her last album.

A world without Spears might be a little sad for her fans, but there's something to admire about stars who step out of the public eye to build a new life. Retiring young would probably be the bravest thing Britney has ever done. We hope she goes with whatever makes her -- the real her -- truly happy.

Donna Kaufman is a freelance writer and iVillage contributor. Find her on Twitter and Google+.

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