Alexa Nikolas was barely a teenager at the time but, even now, at 30, she vividly remembers when she had finally had enough of being on Zoey 101 and refused to continue working there: it was being confronted by Britney Spears, the older sister of her co-star, the "Zoey" in the show where she worked, Jamie Lynn Spears.
The former child star told Christy Carlson Romano, who herself co-starred on Disney's Even Stevens as a child, on her Vulnerable Podcast, that the day came on the last day of filming for Season 2. The episode aired in May 2006, although the show ended up running, without Nikolas, for a total of four seasons.
As she's said before, Nikolas told Romano that the talent coordinator had come to get her out of her trailer, where she was with her mom, and take her to makeup. Only, instead, he told her that Spears, whom Nikolas has accused of bullying her, and Spears's older sister, who was an adult and already a superstar, wanted to talk. And that Britney, who she thought might be stepping in to mediate between the girls, who have both claimed that the other bullied them, ended up yelling at Nikolas, while Jamie Lynn hid. The adult who was supposed to be there for Nikolas was nowhere to be found.
Nikolas told Romano that, after knowing all that Britney was going through back then, she has some sympathy. Nikolas even stopped telling the story for a moment to place blame for the incident on the network for failing to protect her.
"And Britney is an amazing person. She has apologized to me personally," she said. "Actually, Britney Spears apologized, but Nickelodeon hasn't. Isn't that funny? Yeah, Britney Spears apologized, and not Nickelodeon."
"It wasn't OK, because I was a 12, 13-year-old. But in retrospect, knowing the dynamic that was in place for her, I think, of course, that's what ended up happening," Nikolas said. "And I think, like, oh my god, poor Britney. She is in a horrible situation there. And she was like eight months pregnant, so she was hormonal, too. And I remember she was rubbing her belly while she was yelling, and it was like she was trying to calm herself. And you could just tell, it was very unhinged in a way that felt… like someone was manipulating her."
Spears herself has publicly accused her family of taking advantage of her and even premeditating the legal conservatorship that she was, unwillingly, placed under from 2008 to Nov. 2021, when the arrangement was dissolved, amid the #FreeBritney movement.
In January, Britney Spears appeared to take Nikolas's side, when she tweeted that Jamie Lynn was lying in her memoir, Things I Should Have Said, about multiple things. "The nerve of you to sell a book now and talk s***," she wrote, "but your f****** lying just like you lied about Alexa Nikolas !!!!"
Reps for Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears and Nickelodeon did not respond to Yahoo's request for comment.
Nikolas has since made it her mission to ensure that child actors are more protected than she was, by starting an organization for survivors just this year called Eat Predators. They've gained notice by protesting in places such as outside Nickelodeon, where she has alleged that she was abused for years.