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Actor and singer Jamie Lynn Spears is opening up about having a child at 16 years old, just as her career was taking off. When she found out she was pregnant, she had just wrapped her final season of Nickelodeon's Zoey 101 and auditioned for Twilight. "I remember sitting in this little room, and I think Lily Collins was there, and I felt so sick," she told Nylon in a new interview of the Twilight audition. "Little did I know, I was pregnant.”
Spears is now 29 and her daughter Maddie is 12 years old and just started seventh grade. Spears and her husband Jamie Watson, whom she's been with since 2010, also have a 2-year-old daughter named Ivey. Spears' life has never been "normal," having been raised in the same household as the most famous girl in the world at the time—big sister Britney Spears—but when she found out she was expecting at just 16, she became a target of intense judgment and tabloid scrutiny. As a result, Jamie Lynn Spears felt she had no choice but to disappear from the public eye for five years.
"I didn't become pregnant until probably six months after we wrapped or something like that," Spears said, but that didn't mean people didn't blame her and her pregnancy for the end of Zoey 101 and her coinciding "good girl" image. "The show had already wrapped and there was never a negotiation to go into any more seasons. We were too old. It was done.”
“In today's world, immediately I'd have my social media to post something, and it'd be cleared up,” she told Nylon, but back in 2008, that wasn't an option.
The father was her high school boyfriend, Casey Aldridge, and she said she got pregnant while back home in Louisiana after she wrapped the show. “You have your first love, or what you call love in high school," she said. "You think it's forever, and then, oh my gosh, I'm pregnant. I am mortified to have to tell my parents this and my family this."
Spears said she didn't care what tabloids thought at the time, her focus was always on the people closest to her and her fears about being a mother. "I do not care what TMZ thinks about it," she said. “That was all I was thinking about: ‘These are the people I love that I have to tell, and also, I'm pregnant. There's a human being growing inside of me, and I'm so young, I'm almost a baby myself.'"
She talked about why she decided to "hide away" when she was pregnant and had Maddie.
"When we did announce that I was pregnant, I did hide away for a little bit during that time and I didn't have a phone. But of course, the paparazzi still found me," she said. "So, I got me a little house [in Mississippi]. I put a big gate up around it, and I was like, ‘I'm going to stay here, raise my baby, and figure this out because this is real life. I've put myself in this situation, I'm not condoning it or saying it's right, but these are the cards that I have to play."
The paparazzi hounded her while she tried to come to terms with this new phase of life, but Spears did her best to not let them get to her.
"But I just knew that if I just stayed away from it long enough that I could give my child some sense of normalcy back in her life."
Spears's mother, Lynne Spears, told Nylon of her daughter, "Although her teenage years were few, she grasped motherhood immediately and fully. She focused only on trying to make the best decisions for her baby and herself, and in that order."
Now, as a mother-of-two, an actress, and a singer, Spears feels like she's finally settled, content, and ready to take on the next adventure—which just so happens to be a Zoey 101 reboot. Things have oddly, and happily, come full circle, and according to Spears, she has no regrets.
"I don't want to feel like I have to hold myself back in any way because I can be a mother, I can be a wife, I can be a daughter, I can be a sister, and I can be an artist," she said. "I put so much into my personal life and really building that to be strong, that now it's time for me."