LeAnn Rimes compares Britney Spears’ story to her own ‘soul-sucking’ experience in music industry

Country star LeAnn Rimes is familiar with some of the struggles Britney Spears has faced.

At the age of 13, Rimes achieved mainstream success with the 1996 release of her song, “Blue.” In 2000, she sued her father, who had been working as her manager, alleging that he’d stolen millions of dollars from her. In a new interview, Rimes compares her experience with Spears.

“I saw the Britney Spears documentary and was thinking, like, all these people that make money out of her and she has nothing to do with it,” she told The Times. “It’s just soul-sucking. That poor girl. That poor woman, really.”

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Rimes explained that people who were child stars get “locked into a certain age” in the public eye.

“I was America’s sweetheart,” she said. “People didn’t want to see me grow up and explore my sexuality.”

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While several celebrities who became famous at a young age have shared similar stories, Rimes can relate to Spears, especially because of her issues with her father.

In 2008, the pop star’s father, Jamie Spears, placed her under a conservatorship. Spears has accused him numerous times of being too controlling and of using her talent and popularity for his own gain.

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“Feeling like you’re never good enough is a soul-crushing state of being for a child,” she wrote in her recently released memoir. “He’d drummed that message into me as a girl, and even after I’d accomplished so much, he was continuing to do that to me. I became a robot. But not just a robot – a sort of child-robot. I had been so infantilized that I was losing pieces of what made me feel like myself.”

In another part of the book, titled “The Woman in Me,” she wrote, “I began to think that he saw me as put on the earth for no other reason than to help their cash flow.” She also remembered an occasion on which he said, “I’m Britney Spears now.”

Spears was released from the conservatorship in 2021. Rimes, who also sued her record label in an attempt to get out of what she felt was an oppressive contract, eventually settled her lawsuits and made amends with her father.

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“Looking back, I think my dad did the best that he could,” the country singer told The Times. “Parents managing a child is always a recipe for disaster. For me it became a business and I ended up not having parents.”

Rimes, now 41, admitted that despite the difficult path she went down in becoming a star, she’s thriving now.

“I don’t feel like I stepped into my womanhood till the last five years,” she revealed. “Learning to say no was probably the best thing in the world. I started to realize how disappointed I felt in myself when I did things that I just didn’t want to do.” 

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