Jamie Lynn Spears says she wasn't allowed to tell her sister, Britney Spears, when she became pregnant at 16 because the pop superstar was deemed "untrustworthy."
"My team believed everyone outside of the inner circle was a potential threat," the Zoey 101 star, 30, wrote in her renamed memoir, Things I Should Have Said. "They went so far as hiding my pregnancy from my sister, claiming, 'It's too risky to tell Britney about the baby.' I needed [Britney] more than ever and she wasn't able to help me in my most vulnerable time. Britney's condition was spiraling into something more concerning. They were concerned her instability at that time made her untrustworthy. I went along with what my team told me to do because I was a minor and didn't want to create any more issues."
Jamie Lynn, who had Maddie with ex Casey Aldridge, announced the pregnancy in an OK! magazine cover story in December 2007.
"Britney learned of the pregnancy when the article was released," the Sweet Magnolias star wrote. "To this day, the hurt of not being able to tell my sister myself lingers."
To put the time period in perspective, Britney had back-to-back babies with Kevin Federline in September 2005 and September 2006 and the pair split by November 2006. In early 2007, Britney, who reportedly suffered from postpartum depression, shaved her head and battled with her ex over custody of their babies. In October 2007, she lost custody of the boys, leading to two involuntary hospitalizations in January 2008. She was forced into a conservatorship the next month, which she has remained in to this day despite quickly turning things around and working non-stop.
Jamie Lynn recalled telling her parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears, about the pregnancy. She said things immediately went into crisis mode.
"Once Momma and Daddy told my team, things spiraled out of control pretty quickly," she wrote. "When I walked in, Daddy, [my brother] Bryan, and Momma were in the house and [a member of] my financial management team was on the phone. There was a whole lot of fighting going on between everyone involved. The entire Spears team was already caught up in my sister's PR difficulties, and everyone around me just wanted to make this 'issue' disappear."
Jamie Lynn wrote that her dad — a controversial figure today due to his management of Britney's conservatorship — "stopped speaking and the tension was terrible." She was pulled out of school while her family and management decided what her next step would be. They also took away her phone, to keep her from spilling the news.
Jamie Lynn recalled being told "termination would be the best course of action" by her church-going family.
The list of why she should abort was long, she noted. "It will kill your career. You are just too young. You don't know what you're doing. There are pills you can take. We can help you take care of this problem. Think about what you're doing to your family. Doesn't the family have enough to deal with? I know a doctor. There are procedures that remedy mistakes like this. You don't have to do this. He's a louse. He'll never be able to care for the baby or you. Jamie Lynn, don't make a mistake you'll regret for the rest of your life."
It was also suggested she be sent to Mercy Ministries, a home for unwed mothers in Tennessee, where she would give birth in secret and give up the baby for adoption. She said Jamie was especially furious when she declined the option.
"He grabbed me by the shoulders and held on tightly in the hopes of bending me to his will," she wrote. I got in his face and yelled, 'NO! I won't go.' I couldn't deal with any of them. I ran away from them."
The youngest of the Spears siblings said she hoped to prove everyone wrong by showing that she and Casey — her now-ex whom she refers to as "Casper" in the book —"could raise our baby and prove we could be happy." So she plotted to "move out from underneath my parents' roof and be on my own," despite their resistance. (Lynne and Jamie divorced in 2002, but were on and off before splitting for good in the early aughts.)
"My momma and daddy thought I was being foolish, and my brother, Bryan, felt sad that I was dealing with such weighty decisions at my age. Britney was in the midst of her own crisis, and because we were isolated from each other, our communication was nonexistent," Jamie Lynn wrote. "My family denied my attempts to be independent and left me with no other choice than to threaten to file for emancipation with the courts."
She had her lawyers draw up papers and served Lynne, noting Jamie was "gone at that point." A meeting with her team was called and they expressed "real concerns about me marrying my boyfriend and giving him access to all of my earnings," noting, "simultaneously, my sister was experiencing her own breakdown, and media speculation about her wellness and our family already had the paparazzi swarming. Everyone involved with my saga reluctantly agreed that we needed to do what was best to avoid any more negative media attention."
The memoir comes out Jan. 18 and has been in the headlines for months now. The originally announced name of the book (I Must Confess) came from a Britney song, which the "Toxic" singer — from whom Jamie Lynn is currently estranged amid the conservatorship battle — called out, and it was swiftly changed.
Also, Jamie Lynn promised a donation, with book profits, to a mental health organization. The organization then publicly declined the money after Britney fans pointed out that the singing superstar has been struggling with her mental health under the conservatorship for 13 years without support from her own family.
Over the summer, Britney gave impassioned testimony to the judge alleging conservatorship abuse, under her dad. Britney said her family did nothing to help her break free from the restrictive arrangement, that spawned the fan-driven #FreeBritney movement, instead profiting off it. Britney said she wants to sue her whole family.
Britney's next court hearing is Nov. 12 — and the judge will hear arguments about ending the conservatorship all together.