Jamie Lynn Spears wants the world to know that she’s more than just Britney Spears‘ kid sister, a child star and a teen mom — though it’s clear that the last of those labels has played the biggest role in shaping the woman she has become. In TLC’s Jamie Lynn Spears: When the Lights Go Out, which aired on Sunday, June 25, the now–25-year-old songstress reflected on her childhood cut short by motherhood, and while her motivation was to showcase her career goals for the future, the most emotional moments were rooted in the past.
Watching Britney launch to stardom at the age of 17, Jamie often tagged along on tours, filming silly videos with her friends to entertain Brit when she got back to the bus. Nickelodeon caught wind of some of Jamie’s antics and offered her roles, first on All That and then on Zoey 101, launching the preteen into stardom in her own right.
Described by Britney as “innocent and gullible,” Jamie Lynn was reportedly a daddy’s girl growing up. Combine this with her father Jamie‘s description of her as a “bad” kid who “had a mind of her own,” and the stage is set for what came next.
She Found Out She Was Pregnant in a Gas Station Bathroom
Reflecting on her relationship with Casey Aldridge, Jamie Lynn said it started out “very innocent, like every first love does.” They met at church when he was 16 and she was 14 and enjoyed going to the movies and riding four-wheelers. “I just knew it was going to be forever, until it wasn’t forever,” she explained.
After she’d returned from a stint in Los Angeles, a friend noticed Jamie Lynn had been sick. “I don’t know how you can say this without feeling a little tacky,” she began. “I kept actually throwing up.” Her friend asked if she could be pregnant and Jamie said there was no way — but with some urging, Jamie Lynn agreed to take a test. “We didn’t want to do it at home, so I went in the BP and I took a pregnancy test,” she recounted. Jamie Lynn’s friend did the honors of looking at the results and when she did, she began freaking out. “I was like, ‘What? What? What?'” Jamie Lynn recalled. It goes without saying, the test was positive.
Unable to tell her parents face-to-face, Jamie Lynn wrote a note and put it in her mother’s room. At first, her mom, Lynne, thought (or hoped) Jamie Lynn was joking, but she soon found out this was far from a joke. Her father didn’t take it well. “For me, the world stopped a couple seconds,” he said. “It was a total shock.”
Jamie Lynn admitted things were “not great” for a while as they struggled to figure out what to do. In addition to the basic stress of a teen pregnancy, Jamie had shot a season of Zoey 101 that was completed but had not yet aired — and it was safe to say this raised many questions about the future of the show and her career. Jamie Lynn did make a point during the special of clarifying that she was never actually pregnant on the set of the show, however.
Jamie Lynn Went Into Hiding and Became a Single Mom
While Jamie Lynn acknowledged that she had options, she insisted there was never any question that she would keep the baby. “At the end of the day I knew I had to make a decision as a young girl myself to do something that I could sleep with every night. I knew deep down that I was going to have my little girl, even if I had to raise her on my own, and that’s what I did.”
Knowing this was her plan, she “hid for three weeks in the house with two security [guards] while the story went out,” she remembered. “It was a real scandal situation at the time.”
With the headlines declaring her career was dead, Jamie Lynn “bought some land and put a big a‑‑ gate around it.” She stayed put and used that time to figure out who she was as a woman. “I was a child then,” she admitted. “I needed to grow up.”
Part of that growing up involved realizing her first love might not be her forever love. “[Casey] tried to do the right thing and he asked me to marry him and we were engaged for a while, but I think I realized rushing into something that’s not right is ultimately going to be worse,” she explained. The two continued to have a relationship coparenting their daughter, Maddy, but Jamie Lynn was clear that on a day-to-day basis, it was all her.
Jamie Lynn Found Love With a ‘Normal’ Guy
After spending time as a single mom out of the spotlight, Jamie Lynn met the man she would eventually marry, Jamie Watson (yes, there are a lot of Jamies in the mix). The two met through mutual friends and dated off-and-on for about five years before tying the knot. Watson described himself as “a normal guy” with “a normal job,” and said that he fell in love with Jamie Lynn when he fell in love with Maddy. “I consider her my daughter also,” he added. For her part, Jamie Lynn called Watson “the dad every girl deserves.”
But despite having a solid father figure at home for her daughter since marrying Watson two years ago, Jamie Lynn still admitted she often felt like a “guilty mom” for leaving Maddy behind when she had to travel for work.
Oh, yeah: Determined to be remembered for “more than getting pregnant at 16,” Jamie Lynn has thrown herself into her music and recently debuted new songs at a concert at the Grand Ole Opry. Both of her older siblings, Britney and Bryan, came on stage to surprise her at the big event and gave her rave reviews afterward. (Britney also admitted she was wearing a $40 dress from Bebe.)
Her Daughter Is Her Best Friend
Jamie Lynn called Maddy, 8, her “best friend” and said she always wants to have Maddy in the audience during concerts because she “can just look at her and sing to her and pretend like nobody else is there.” Discussing her dedication to her music over the last seven-plus years, Jamie Lynn reasoned that it was all for Maddy. “I just want to be a good mom who makes her little girl proud.”
We’ll have to wait and see if Jamie Lynn’s attempt at a music-career revival succeeds, but she definitely seemed to be succeeding with at least one critic. “It’s really cool to see my mom on stage,” Maddy said as she sat in Watson’s arms. “She’s a really good singer and she’s my mom. I love my mom very much.”
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