When Britney Spears’ controversial conservatorship was terminated in November after 13 years, many thought it would mark the end of the star’s troubles.
And admittedly, things did look up for Britney, who married her longtime love Sam Asghari in June and released a brand new single with Elton John, “Hold Me Closer”, last week.
However, drama is still constantly bubbling up in her personal life, and her strained relationship with her teenage sons has been in the spotlight in recent weeks.
Britney shares Preston, 16, and Jayden, 15, with ex-husband Kevin Federline, who she broke up with a year before the conservatorship was put in place.
During that year, Kevin had custody of their children, but Britney was again granted joint custody in 2008. Over the years, a new settlement gave Britney two visits from her sons a week in addition to a night.
She continually provided Kevin with $20,000 a month in child support and also covered the children’s school, insurance, and clothing costs. In 2018, Kevin asked for an increase in this arrangement, which left Britney fans furious.
In recent years, Jayden and Preston have started visiting their mother less and less, and they were notably absent from her wedding to Sam earlier this summer.
Last month, Kevin sparked a huge backlash when he discussed Britney in an explosive tell-all interview with the Daily Mailwhere he acknowledged his sons’ decision not to visit their mother.
“The boys have decided they don’t see her right now,” he said at the time. “They haven’t seen her for a few months. They made the decision not to go to her wedding.
Kevin went on to say that Jayden and Preston were uncomfortable with Britney’s lightly censored nude Instagram photos, which she previously said she shared in an effort to regain one’s power after enduring the constraints of his tutelage for more than a decade.
Kevin also claimed Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, ‘saved her life’ – although Britney accuses him of being offensive towards her.
“I saw this man [Jamie Spears] who really cared about his family and wanted everything to go well,” Kevin said. “When Jamie took over, things fell into place. He saved his life.
Britney and her husband, Sam, have been released statements at the time, condemning Kevin for making such public comments about his children.
Britney wrote on Instagram that she was saddened by Kevin’s choice to do the interview and claimed that Jayden and Preston were “hateful” towards her before they stopped visiting her.
“I know teenagers are just hard to deal with at that age… but GO ON, there’s being rude and then there’s being HATE,” she said, before adding, “they were visiting me, crossing the door, go straight to their room and lock the door.
Kevin responded by sharing a series of old videos which showed Britney arguing with their sons. The clips were apparently filmed in secret by the children and Britney didn’t seem to know she was being filmed.
Kevin captioned his social media post: “I can’t sit back and let my sons be accused this way after what they’ve been through. As much as it hurts us, we decided as a family to post these videos”, but the videos were quickly deleted.
Since then, Kevin and Jayden have appeared in further interviews, with Kevin appearing on the Australian news show. 60 minutes released on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Jayden talk to documentary filmmaker Daphne Barak for ITV News, where he spoke openly about his mother.
The teenager insisted there was ‘no hate’ between him and Britney but that ‘it will take a lot of time and effort’ to mend their relationship.
“I just want her to get better mentally. When she gets better, I really want to see her again,” he added. Jayden also said he was “really happy” for Britney and Sam, but it was not appropriate for him and Preston to attend their wedding.
“She didn’t invite the whole family and if it was just me and Preston, I just don’t see how this situation would have ended on good terms,” he said.
Jayden and Preston currently live with Kevin, his wife Victoria, their children Jordan, 11, and Peyton, 8, as well as Kevin’s two oldest children from a previous relationship, Kori, 20, and Kaleb, 18 years old.
Jayden described their home as their “safe place”, after claiming Britney struggled to give him and his brother equal love and attention.
“I don’t think she showed Preston enough and I feel really bad about it,” he said. “We’ve both been under so much pressure in the past that this is now our safe place, to process all the emotional trauma that we’ve been through to heal, to heal our mental state.”
And like Kevin, Jayden has also stood up for Britney’s parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears – whom he calls Memaw and Paw Paw. Jayden said his grandfather “doesn’t deserve all the hate he gets in the media.”
“I love him with all my heart. He was just trying to be a father,” he added, also praising Britney’s brother, Bryan Spears, whom she recently called for lying about being invited to her wedding.
Jayden then lambasted her mother for her social media posts, saying, “Social media helps her… So if that’s what she wants to do, that’s what she wants to do. I don’t I’m not going to hate her for it. At the same time, she should realize everything that keeps her from loving her family.
“It’s almost like she has to post something on Instagram to get some attention,” Jayden continued. “It’s been going on for years and years and there’s a good chance it will never end, but hopefully for me it does.”
Just hours after her son’s interview was posted online, Britney responded by admitting she was deeply saddened that she ‘didn’t live up to expectations of a mother’ in a lengthy statement on Instagram.
The star also said she would have failed as a mother if Jayden genuinely believed her parents were good people as she urged him and Preston to meet her for a face-to-face chat.
“Finally at 40, without the restraints of what my family did to me, I’m telling my son Jayden I’m sending you all the love in the world everyday for the rest of my life!!!! My love for my children knows no boundaries and it saddens me deeply to know of her outcry that I failed to live up to her expectations of a mother…” Britney wrote. that one day we can meet face to face and talk about it openly!!!!”
Britney also dragged Kevin “who hasn’t had a job in 15 years” as she said she understood how their different parenting styles meant her sons preferred to be raised by him.
“I guess it’s easier for you not to have someone check on you to make sure you do your homework!!! I’m sure your weed-smoking dad’s standards all days benefit your daily life at 15 and 16 to participate in a VERY COOL GENERATION!!!” she says.
Britney then opened up about all the work she’s done to provide for her sons, including the judgment on The X Factor and four tours, before writing, “It’s awful to see your dad being a hypocrite and calling the media awful when he makes you talk about personal things with them!!!”
“If you could pause for a second, remember where you came from!!! I hope you can look in the mirror and remember…you are my child and always will be!!! ” she continued. “Since Preston hasn’t spoken, I send my love!!! I would love nothing more than to see you two face to face.
Britney also responded to Jayden’s comments about her mental health, telling her to read a book before commenting on her “intellect”.
“As for my sanity… my dear child, understand that you have to learn to pick up a book and read one before you even think about my intellect dear!!!” she wrote.
Completing her statement, Britney told Jayden, “If you can honestly sit down and say with your brilliant, sane mind what Memaw and Paw Paw did to me, that’s fine and not calling them bad people… Then yes i failed as a mother and i hope this is a conversation for you and your dad to sit face to face and try to learn WHAT IS GOOD.
While many people sympathized with Britney and praised her for speaking out, it was widely agreed that the situation with her sons had become quite sad as fans expressed their hope that the family could heal privately.
Discussing Britney’s post on a Reddit forum, one user wrote: “I’m sad for everyone involved and really hope Brit and her children can privately address/heal so these children can break the cycle of dysfunction.
“There’s so much trauma, wasted time and such a deep need to finally be respected/heard, but I hope she doesn’t hold the boys too much to blame because they grew up with really fucked up normalized stuff. “, they said.
Someone else wrote: “This is all just messy and sad on so many levels…I feel awful for Britney to have to go through this so publicly.”
Neither Kevin nor Jayden responded to what Britney posted.