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A Look Back At Britney Spears' Life According To Covers Of Us Weekly

A story.

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Us Weekly has 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.

Never has someone's speculative virginity captured the public's attention so much. She was 19 then and it was really...awkward. And weird. And just yikes.
US Weekly / Via backissues.com

Never has someone's speculative virginity captured the public's attention so much. She was 19 then and it was really...awkward. And weird. And just yikes.

Dec. 1, 2001: Britney is voted one of the "Women of the Year," sandwiched between Condoleezza Rice and that woman from Just Shoot Me.

Us Weekly / Via backissues.com
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Feb. 18, 2002: The first (and only) cover story about Britney and Justin's relationship.

"Inside Britney's Super Bowl Party."This was the only cover with B & J on it before...
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"Inside Britney's Super Bowl Party."

This was the only cover with B & J on it before...

Apr. 1, 2002: The breakup.

DUN DUN DUN.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

DUN DUN DUN.

Aug. 19, 2002: That summer, Britney and Justin apparently ran into each other with a "big fight and dance-off."

I PRAY that this actually happened.
Us Weekly / Via deancainfranco.ca

I PRAY that this actually happened.

Sept. 2, 2002: Us Weekly paints Britney as a "betrayer."

"Friends now allege that cheating and jealousy drove the dream couple apart — and led to Britney's career 'break.'"
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"Friends now allege that cheating and jealousy drove the dream couple apart — and led to Britney's career 'break.'"

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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."

Hmmmm... Interesting.
Us Weekl / Via backissues.com

Hmmmm... Interesting.

Dec. 23, 2002: IT'S WAR.

Britney wore a "dump him" shirt and Justin had that Britney lookalike in his "Cry Me a River" video. It should also be noted that Justin's first single, "Like I Love You," kinda flopped, failing to crack the top 10. It's interesting how he used Britney's likeness in his second single, "Cry Me a River." Hmmm.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

Britney wore a "dump him" shirt and Justin had that Britney lookalike in his "Cry Me a River" video.

It should also be noted that Justin's first single, "Like I Love You," kinda flopped, failing to crack the top 10. It's interesting how he used Britney's likeness in his second single, "Cry Me a River." Hmmm.

Jan. 20, 2003: Its been almost a year since they broke up and Britney speaks!

"Whoa!"
Us Weekly / Via ebay.com

"Whoa!"

Feb. 17, 2003: For the rest of 2003, Us links Britney with a different random famous guy.

The first guy: Colin Farrell.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

The first guy: Colin Farrell.

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March 17, 2003: A month later, she's with Fred Durst.

SEX TELL-ALL.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

SEX TELL-ALL.

Sept. 1, 2003: And by September, she's with Jared Leto.

"Is Spears just having fun — or getting even with Justin?"Revengeney.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"Is Spears just having fun — or getting even with Justin?"

Revengeney.

Sept. 15, 2003: Us takes a break from the weekly Britney boy drama to bring us "Hot new best friends!"

"Pricey gifts. Spiritual bonding. The kiss! What's behind their sudden connection?"
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"Pricey gifts. Spiritual bonding. The kiss! What's behind their sudden connection?"

Nov. 10, 2003: Back to another story about Britney hooking up with some random guy. This time --> John Cusack!

Us Weekly / Via backissues.com
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Jan. 19, 2004: Shit. She's married.

"New shocking wedding details. All-night partying. Public tears. Why pop's former good girl is suddenly so bad."
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"New shocking wedding details. All-night partying. Public tears. Why pop's former good girl is suddenly so bad."

Jan. 26, 2004: "It's getting nasty!"

"IN HIDING! The groom says he's fine. Friends say he's furious. She's in seclusion. Worry sets in as Britney's bad behavior creates heartache and career chaos."In all honesty, this whole Jason Alexander wedding was very strange.But not as strange as...
Us Weekly / Via ebay.com

"IN HIDING! The groom says he's fine. Friends say he's furious. She's in seclusion. Worry sets in as Britney's bad behavior creates heartache and career chaos."

In all honesty, this whole Jason Alexander wedding was very strange.

But not as strange as...

May 10, 2004: THE K-FED ERA.

The first story about K-Fed isn't actually about K-Fed. It's about Britney stealing K-Fed from his girlfriend. Hmmm.
Us Weekly / Via ebay.com

The first story about K-Fed isn't actually about K-Fed. It's about Britney stealing K-Fed from his girlfriend.

Hmmm.

Sept. 6, 2004: BRITNEY + K-FED ARE GETTING MARRIED AND SHE IS A BRIDEZILLA.

Revengeney is back at it again: "Inside the fights, deceit and drama of Britney's fall wedding."
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

Revengeney is back at it again: "Inside the fights, deceit and drama of Britney's fall wedding."

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Oct. 4, 2004: WAIT, now Us is saying she faked the wedding.

Weird.
Us Weekly / Via ebay.com

Weird.

Feb. 8, 2005: Four months later, we have Britney's private album!

America's favorite couple share their never-before-seen photos of their secret romantic life lol.Kind of random.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

America's favorite couple share their never-before-seen photos of their secret romantic life lol.

Kind of random.

Sept. 26, 2005: She's preg.

Us Weekly / Via magazine-agent.com

And then the real drama happens.

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Knives are out.

Shit hits the fan.

Nov. 14, 2005: TROUBLE AFTER BABY.

"Fed up, Spears and her 6-week-old son leave home for a week after an 'insensitive' Kevin parties."
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"Fed up, Spears and her 6-week-old son leave home for a week after an 'insensitive' Kevin parties."

Dec. 19, 2005: Britney apparently kicks K-Fed to the curb.

"KEVIN MOVES INTO A HOTEL! She cancels his credit cards, takes back his car & spends her B-day alone."
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"KEVIN MOVES INTO A HOTEL! She cancels his credit cards, takes back his car & spends her B-day alone."

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Apr. 3, 2006: Wait, never mind, now SHE is moving out.

Then back in."New secrets behind her stormy marriage and why she can't let go."
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

Then back in.

"New secrets behind her stormy marriage and why she can't let go."

May 22, 2006: OK, now she's trapped.

"How Spears' surprise second pregnancy destroyed her secret plans to leave Kevin for good."
Us Weekly / Via magazine-agent.com

"How Spears' surprise second pregnancy destroyed her secret plans to leave Kevin for good."

THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING!

May 29, 2006: There's a secret deal now.

"Britney's ultimatum: Clean up or get out.What it will cost her to leave Kevin.How much money he gets now.PLUS: Brit puts baby in danger again."😶
Us Weekly / Via ebay.com

"Britney's ultimatum: Clean up or get out.

What it will cost her to leave Kevin.

How much money he gets now.

PLUS: Brit puts baby in danger again."

😶

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June 3, 2006: THE LAST CHANCE.

With a bonus appearance from a Christian life coach!
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

With a bonus appearance from a Christian life coach!

June 19, 2006: THE FINAL DAYS.

Us Weekly / Via ebay.com

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.

Us Weekly / Via magazine-agent.com

The narrative resumes.

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Nov. 20, 2006: SHE'S GONE!

Us Weekly / Via acrosstheboard.blogspot.com

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.

"Mom's intervention.The letter that ended it.She leaves Kevin broke."AND!"Secrets of her makeover."
Us Weekly / Via JANUARY 20 2003

"Mom's intervention.

The letter that ended it.

She leaves Kevin broke."

AND!

"Secrets of her makeover."

Then things get real bad.

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Dec. 11, 2006: We have an appearance by Paris Hilton.

"Wild sleepovers & all-night partying:How PARIS became BRITNEY'S dangerous new best friend — and what it means for her kids."
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"Wild sleepovers & all-night partying:

How PARIS became BRITNEY'S dangerous new best friend — and what it means for her kids."

Dec. 18, 2006: A week after that last Paris Hilton cover, there's talk of an INTERVENTION. Us is about to really go in.

"Spears' parents beg her to stop the party binge with Paris Hilton as she risks her career and the custody of her kids."
Us Weekly / Via magazine-agent.com

"Spears' parents beg her to stop the party binge with Paris Hilton as she risks her career and the custody of her kids."

Jan. 29, 2007: She takes a picture with some guy named Isaac Cohen and he's already her "NEW MAN!"

Random.
Us Weekly / Via acrosstheboard.blogspot.com

Random.

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.

It's almost like everyone is against her.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

It's almost like everyone is against her.

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March 5, 2007: The head-shaving incident.

Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

March 12, 2007: A week after she shaves her head, for some reason, Kevin speaks.

Cool.
Us Weekly / Via popsugar.com

Cool.

March 26, 2007: She shares the cover about "Hollywood's drug problem" with Paris and Lindsay.

Us Weekly / Via popsugar.com

June 25, 2007: Her mom speaks.

"Lynne Spears breaks her silence to Us on the pain of Britney's struggles and the fight to mend their bond: 'All I know is to be a mother.'"
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"Lynne Spears breaks her silence to Us on the pain of Britney's struggles and the fight to mend their bond: 'All I know is to be a mother.'"

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July 31, 2007: Us gets savage.

"Soda in baby bottles, Mommy's many men, nighttime cries for Daddy's love. Kevin battles for Sean and Jayden as Britney grows more dangerous."Jesus.
Us Weekly / Via magazine-agent.com

"Soda in baby bottles, Mommy's many men, nighttime cries for Daddy's love. Kevin battles for Sean and Jayden as Britney grows more dangerous."

Jesus.

Aug. 20, 2007: "Yes, it gets even worse."

"Topless, drunk and lonely, Spears seduces a college student in a hotel pool as Kevin rushes to save his boys."Rough.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"Topless, drunk and lonely, Spears seduces a college student in a hotel pool as Kevin rushes to save his boys."

Rough.

Aug. 27, 2007: Now the nannies are talking.

Drunk with the babies and bizarre nudity (whatever that means).
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

Drunk with the babies and bizarre nudity (whatever that means).

Oct. 1, 2007: The worst cover yet.

"MOMMY'S CRYING."
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"MOMMY'S CRYING."

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Nov. 19, 2007: "SICK!"

"Mental illness signs worsen.Leaves boys in a car while shopping; denies them trick-or-treating.Swaps clothes with bartender."WTF.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

"Mental illness signs worsen.

Leaves boys in a car while shopping; denies them trick-or-treating.

Swaps clothes with bartender."

WTF.

Dec. 3, 2007: Her childhood is to blame, obviously.

Us is all like, "THERE HAS TO BE AN EXPLANATION FOR THIS!"
Us Weekly / Via ebay.com

Us is all like, "THERE HAS TO BE AN EXPLANATION FOR THIS!"

Jan. 21, 2008: Us is basically predicting her suicide.

"Jayden's terror, Kevin's desperate call to Lynne, inside the locked bathroom.Dangerous love with a married paparazzo.Aunt: 'She needs to be on suicide watch.'"
Us Weekly / Via britney-spears.blogcindario.com

"Jayden's terror, Kevin's desperate call to Lynne, inside the locked bathroom.

Dangerous love with a married paparazzo.

Aunt: 'She needs to be on suicide watch.'"

Feb. 18, 2008: Rock bottom.

"Bipolar and locked in a psych ward."
Us Weekly / Via popsugar.com

"Bipolar and locked in a psych ward."

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March 3, 2008: One last jab at the kids.

"WHAT THEY KNOW"... Hopefully not a lot, because they are little children.
Us Weekly / Via ebay.com

"WHAT THEY KNOW"... Hopefully not a lot, because they are little children.

Apr. 14, 2008: The mental illness issue.

Nice choice of photo.
Us Weekly / Via popsugar.com

Nice choice of photo.

ANNNND that was it.

After a nearly two-year shitstorm of covers, Us stopped.

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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.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

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.

Hmmm. Maybe? But I'm not so sure about that.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

Hmmm. Maybe? But I'm not so sure about that.

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Jan. 25, 2010: She's skinny again!

Still no real mention of her recovery.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

Still no real mention of her recovery.

Oct. 11, 2010: Us finally acknowledges her recovery.

"How her boys' love saved her.Finally at peace with dad's control — and K-Fed.Why friends predict she'll get engaged."
Us. Weekly / Via famousfix.com

"How her boys' love saved her.

Finally at peace with dad's control — and K-Fed.

Why friends predict she'll get engaged."

Apr. 18, 2011: THE REDEMPTION ISSUE.

Britney finally gets a word in.
Us Weekly / Via backissues.com

Britney finally gets a word in.

Five years pass without a cover.

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Apr. 24, 2016: And here's one last issue about her getting skinny again.

Us Weekly / Via famousfix.com

And there you have it: the life and times of Britney Spears through the lens of Us Weekly.

I think this is the only proper way to end this:

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