Photo Credit: Ed Rode/FilmMagic
When you hear the name Jamie Lynn Spears, are you picturing a pregnant 16-year-old? It was 2007 when Britney's little sister became pregnant by her then-boyfriend Casey Aldridge. In the ensuing scandal, she left behind her role on Nickelodeon's Zoey 101 and went to Mississippi to raise her daughter Maddie, now 3, in peace. But that was more than four years ago. Now Jamie Lynn, who turns 21 in April, is ready to step back into the public eye -- and she's telling her story for the first time.
In a conversation with Glamour magazine, Spears reveals that Casey was her first love and the only boyfriend she'd ever had. Though she knew she should be on in birth control, she remembers being "scared" to go to the doctor.
"I was on a Nickelodeon show, and it (felt) especially embarrassing to ask someone to put me on birth control," she recalls.
When she found out she was pregnant, Spears decided to do one magazine interview, so that fans would find out about it in her own words. But, she says, her intentions were misunderstood.
"I wasn't trying to glamorize teen pregnancy," says Spears. "I hated when (the tabloids) said that."
Now a target for malicious gossip, Spears was upset by erroneous tabloid reports that she'd had a miscarriage, or was giving her baby up for adoption, or that Casey was cheating on her. Having seen how negative press affected her sister Britney ("I knew how far it could go"), she decided to move to Mississippi.
"I just wanted to get away from it as much as I could, to just go away and be a mom and figure out what I wanted, and to earn a sense of respect back for myself. Move to a town in the middle of nowhere and just raise my child," she recalls. "All I could be was a good mother. If anybody had anything to say after that, there was nothing I could do."
Spears and Aldridge became engaged and tried to make things work, but after Maddie was born, the pressures of parenthood and growing up fast were too much for their teenage relationship to bear. Though Spears says she will "love him as Maddie's father until the day I die," they've been broken up since 2009. She has not been in a serious relationship since, and for the sake of her daughter, she says she's "patiently waiting for Prince Charming."
Now that Maddie is a toddler, Jamie Lynn has quietly begun to perform again. She moved to Nashville in 2009, where she writes and sings songs. She's ready to share her work with a larger audience, and she hopes her music will speak for itself; she's very conscious of the fact that, as she puts it, "the world has never met me as an adult." But the world has changed, too; now, 16 & Pregnant isn't a tabloid scandal, but a hit TV show.
"When I saw MTV's Teen Mom was coming out, I remember thinking, 'Oh my God, I cannot wait to see this show because there's someone else out there,'" Spears gushes. "I mean, I feel for those girls. I've been that girl... There were so many times -- especially when Maddie would get sick -- when I would cry to myself and think, 'I really don't know what to do.' It takes bravery to be a young mom, and it does take bravery to let the world watch."