Britney Spears reminds us of the ‘person living behind the lens’ amid film drama

Britney Spears in the middle of a crowd at a Hollywood event
Britney Spears attends the 2019 premiere of “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood” in L.A.
(Chris Pizzello / Associated Press)

After FX’s buzzy Britney Spears documentary exposed the toxic ways in which the media circus descended on her as a rising pop star, Spears delivered a poignant message on Instagram about fame.

On Tuesday afternoon, the singer posted three-year-old footage of herself performing her hit single “Toxic” and offered an update on what she’s been up to since she stepped out of the spotlight and the #FreeBritney movement ramped up.

Though she didn’t mention it directly, the post notably comes days after FX’s “Framing Britney Spears” premiered and prompted a new wave of speculation about her personal life.

“I’ll always love being on stage .... but I am taking the time to learn and be a normal person,” Spears wrote. “I love simply enjoying the basics of every day life !!!! Each person has their story and their take on other people’s stories !!!!

“We all have so many different bright beautiful lives ... Remember, no matter what we think we know about a person’s life it is nothing compared to the actual person living behind the lens.”


Released Friday, the provocative documentary explores how the media mishandled coverage of Spears during both her brightest and darkest moments, as well as her ongoing conservatorship battle with her father.

Since the film’s debut, Spears’ fans have been demanding justice for the musician on social media — and directing their collective outrage at people they feel have wronged her, ranging from her ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake to journalist Diane Sawyer.

Applying the rigor of “Frontline” to the story of her conservatorship, “Framing Britney Spears” is a pointed work of criticism aimed at celebrity culture.

Feb. 5, 2021

For example, many of Spears’ supporters recently criticized Sarah Silverman after video resurfaced of the comedian remarking on the Grammy winner’s “slutty clothes” and calling her children “the most adorable mistakes you’ll ever see” at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.

“I was known then 4 roasts,” Silverman tweeted this week in response to the backlash. “MTV asked me to mini-roast Britney after her big performance. “While she was performing I was having diarrhea & going over my jokes. Had no idea she didn’t kill. Unfortunate. Art changes over yrs as we know more & the world changes.”


“I wish I could delete it but I can’t,” she added in a follow-up tweet. “But you are posting it for people to see. So r u trying to be kind or right?”

In a rare public rebuke, even Spears’ boyfriend responded to the documentary this week by speaking out against her father, who continues to wield control over the “Oops!...I Did It Again” hitmaker via a court-approved conservatorship.

“Now it’s important for people to understand that I have zero respect for someone trying to control our relationship and constantly throwing obstacles our way,” Iranian actor Sam Asghari wrote Tuesday on Instagram.

“In my opinion [Spears’ father] James is a total d—. I won’t be going into details because I’ve always respected our privacy but at the same time I didn’t come to this country to not be able to express my opinion and freedom.”

Sam Asghari, who has dated Britney Spears since 2016, criticized her father, Jamie Spears, days after a documentary about her conservatorship premiered.

Feb. 9, 2021

Also included in the documentary is skepticism about Spears’ social media activity. Because her father has long micromanaged her career and public image through the conservatorship, fans have begun to question how much of the pop icon’s Instagram content is actually coming from Spears herself.

While several flooded the comment section of Spears’ latest Instagram update with love and well-wishes, a few skeptics doubted whether the caption was really written by the “Gimme More” artist.


“We just want you to be happy no matter what,” one fan replied. “Thank you for everything you gave us. Now is your time to be happy and enjoy your life like you want to. Love you Brit.”