Us Weeklyhas been around since 1977 but was a monthly industry trade magazine until 2000, when it became the tabloid version you see in every supermarket checkout line + tote bag at the beach.
2000 was also the time of Britney Spears. Britney literally grew up on the covers of Us Weekly and is without a doubt the tabloid queen of the past 20 years. Over the past 16 years, Britney has been a darling, then a target, and then a straight-up victim of the tabloid industry.
The first time Britney was on the cover of Us Weekly was on June 4, 2001, and it was because of her virginity — a subject that she was hounded about ever since her debut.
Dec. 1, 2001: Britney is voted one of the "Women of the Year," sandwiched between Condoleezza Rice and that woman from Just Shoot Me.
Feb. 18, 2002: The first (and only) cover story about Britney and Justin's relationship.
Apr. 1, 2002: The breakup.
Aug. 19, 2002: That summer, Britney and Justin apparently ran into each other with a "big fight and dance-off."
Sept. 2, 2002: Us Weekly paints Britney as a "betrayer."
AND THEN, a week later, they ran the complete opposite cover with Justin: "Solo in every way, the sexy singer sets the record straight on his new life, his hot new album Justified, & the truth about all those romance rumors."
Dec. 23, 2002: IT'S WAR.
Jan. 20, 2003: Its been almost a year since they broke up and Britney speaks!
Feb. 17, 2003: For the rest of 2003, Us links Britney with a different random famous guy.
March 17, 2003: A month later, she's with Fred Durst.
Sept. 1, 2003: And by September, she's with Jared Leto.
Sept. 15, 2003: Us takes a break from the weekly Britney boy drama to bring us "Hot new best friends!"
Nov. 10, 2003: Back to another story about Britney hooking up with some random guy. This time --> John Cusack!
Jan. 19, 2004: Shit. She's married.
Jan. 26, 2004: "It's getting nasty!"
May 10, 2004: THE K-FED ERA.
Sept. 6, 2004: BRITNEY + K-FED ARE GETTING MARRIED AND SHE IS A BRIDEZILLA.
Oct. 4, 2004: WAIT, now Us is saying she faked the wedding.
Feb. 8, 2005: Four months later, we have Britney's private album!
Sept. 26, 2005: She's preg.
And then the real drama happens.
Knives are out.
Shit hits the fan.
Nov. 14, 2005: TROUBLE AFTER BABY.
Dec. 19, 2005: Britney apparently kicks K-Fed to the curb.
Apr. 3, 2006: Wait, never mind, now SHE is moving out.
May 22, 2006: OK, now she's trapped.
THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING!
May 29, 2006: There's a secret deal now.
June 3, 2006: THE LAST CHANCE.
June 19, 2006: THE FINAL DAYS.
Oct. 25, 2006: And now here's a break from Britney's life unraveling to a random, totally out-of-place issue about how she got thin.
The narrative resumes.
Nov. 20, 2006: SHE'S GONE!
THE ERA OF K-FED IS OVER.
Nov. 26, 2007: A week after they were officially dunzo, Brit got a new haircut and is back for revenge.
Then things get real bad.
Dec. 11, 2006: We have an appearance by Paris Hilton.
Dec. 18, 2006: A week after that last Paris Hilton cover, there's talk of an INTERVENTION. Us is about to really go in.
Jan. 29, 2007: She takes a picture with some guy named Isaac Cohen and he's already her "NEW MAN!"
Feb. 26, 2007: K-Fed took a picture with Justin Timberlake and it's front-page news. The guy who she was "dating" last month says she's depressed.
March 5, 2007: The head-shaving incident.
March 12, 2007: A week after she shaves her head, for some reason, Kevin speaks.
March 26, 2007: She shares the cover about "Hollywood's drug problem" with Paris and Lindsay.
June 25, 2007: Her mom speaks.
July 31, 2007: Us gets savage.
Aug. 20, 2007: "Yes, it gets even worse."
Aug. 27, 2007: Now the nannies are talking.
Oct. 1, 2007: The worst cover yet.
Nov. 19, 2007: "SICK!"
Dec. 3, 2007: Her childhood is to blame, obviously.
Jan. 21, 2008: Us is basically predicting her suicide.
Feb. 18, 2008: Rock bottom.
March 3, 2008: One last jab at the kids.
Apr. 14, 2008: The mental illness issue.
ANNNND that was it.
After a nearly two-year shitstorm of covers, Us stopped.
Why? Because Britney actually DID get help and she got better.
She went on to have a No. 1 single and album, a successful world tour, and custody of her children.
The first Us Weekly cover she got after her breakdown, recovery, and unlikely comeback was in November 2009. That's over a year and half after he last cover.
Nov. 2, 2009: Us gives credit to Britney's boyfriend for saving her life.
Jan. 25, 2010: She's skinny again!
Oct. 11, 2010: Us finally acknowledges her recovery.
Apr. 18, 2011: THE REDEMPTION ISSUE.
Five years pass without a cover.
Apr. 24, 2016: And here's one last issue about her getting skinny again.
And there you have it: the life and times of Britney Spears through the lens of Us Weekly.