First thing's first - I was never a big #DaddyGang kind of girl, the original iteration of the podcast wasn't really for me but I can respect something that's wildly successful even if I'm not the target. That being said, I really like these kinds of interviews the show does now. I think Alex Cooper is in a great position where she can get these huge guests and produce a comfortable conversation with them, and I have to give credit where its due. I went into this fully ready to rip it apart, to see Jamie Lynn expose herself as this person who is taking advantage of a situation that isn't really her own, and after watching Part 1, I'm left feeling like we've all been incredibly hard on Jamie Lynn.
Off the top - do I think this book/all of the press that comes along with it, should be happening right at this moment in time? No. I think she should've waited for some of the dust to settle, maybe waited until she repaired her relationship with her sister. If you write a book, you always do press about it, because you want to sell the book. I'm sure if it were up to Jamie Lynn right now after all of the misunderstandings happening with exchanges on social media and her sister, she wouldn't be promoting this book. Regardless of this, I think its very clear that Jamie Lynn telling "her experience" has a LOT to do with Britney because...her life WAS Britney. They have a 10 year age gap, and by the time Britney became extremely famous, Jamie Lynn was in first grade, along for the ride. She was an afterthought in a house with a superstar sister and two abusive parents (both mentally and physically.) Her sister (and brother) were the only actual stable "parental" figures she really had. Their father was a full fledged dirt bag, also an alcoholic, and her mother was extremely naive and silent when it came to managing her children's lives. JLS also tells us how she wasn't a planned child, and was treated as such her entire life. "I didn't even get a B name, like my siblings. My parents just put their names together to make mine." She constantly mentions how difficult things must have been for her mom, and asks us not to "come for her"...even after telling a story about how her mother beat her with her purse in a parking lot once. "That was really unlike my Mama." She justifies it by saying "I was a real asshole to my mother." We all know that no matter how awful you are to your parents, its never an excuse for them to forget that THEY ARE THE PARENT. JLS, having learned throughout her whole life that the best practice is to stay out of the way and not make trouble, swallowed countless situations like this and tried to live a normal life. After hearing all of that, how can you possibly be normal?
One thing that stuck out to me was the fact that Jamie Lynn "doesn't remember" a lot of pivotal moments in her own life. Big moments are marked with trauma caused by Britney fall out, or being pushed around by her own teams and not having control over her own life, as a minor. Her constant "I don't even remember having a conversation about this tragic moment" makes me think they either didn't give a shit about how JLS' life was affected by what was happening all around her with her family, or that everything was so scarring that she has mental blocks about them. Jamie Lynn seems sad, frustrated and confused about her upbringing, only now as a 30 year old being able to process the very difficult life she's led.
A few cliff notes:
- The Justin Timberlake breakup: everyone is mad at JLS for saying how sad she was about this breakup and how it affected her, despite the fact it wasn't even her relationship. She explains that at 10ish years old, after her sister had been this motherly "protector" for her whole life, Justin was one of the only stable "father figures" in her life, he was around during some of the best years their family had, and she associates him with that. He was thoughtful and considerate of young Jamie Lynn, and of course she had no idea about the ups and downs of their relationship, so when they broke up, she felt like she was being abandoned. She felt so much pain for what her sister was going through, and it sounds like Justin was extremely close to the family. Of course she had a hard time understanding what was going on, especially when nobody would tell her the truth about anything. She even makes a little jab about "Cry Me A River," saying "I guess that's one way to launch a solo career."
- The "locked in a room with a knife" story: Jamie Lynn describes this as a situation she knew nothing about while it was happening, except the fact that her sister and protector was so afraid of something, that it made JLS afraid too. She still doesn't know why it happened (again, I think this is her blocking out trauma) and she told her mom about it after the fact. Her parents had her retell the story to "a therapist," and then she never heard about it again. No therapy for it, no explanations, just left wondering what happened to her sister that made her so afraid, she grabbed Jamie Lynn, a knife for protection, and locked them both in a room together for safety. Another huge misstep by her parents and her team. She goes on to say "why after hearing that story were they not concerned enough to give this girl a break?" She's angry about how while she was being neglected, so was her sister during a serious moment, when she was clearly in need of attention.
- Trying to navigate her parents' unhealthy relationship: at one point, Britney told her mother that she would buy her a house if she divorced Jamie, her father. Her mother did this, got the house and the divorce, and then her father basically lived at the house anyway. He even stayed there the first night they were in the house. Jamie Lynn didn't know how to act, knowing her sister's wishes but seeing her mother staying with this man - she was angry, upset, and still a minor, not being asked for input and stuck in her situation.
- Jamie Lynn getting pregnant at 16, and filing for emancipation: something we all need to remember. This girl got pregnant, was told by everyone in her life to get an abortion including her parents, and decided to take control by having her baby. When she made the decision, her father stopped speaking to her and left her life completely. Her team rushed to hide her in a cabin somewhere on the east coast, isolated from the world (including her sister.) This happened right in the middle of Britney's breakdown, of which Jamie Lynn was told NOTHING except what she read in the tabloids. As she was isolated and pregnant, OK Magazine published the exclusive on Jamie Lynn's pregnancy - and that is how Britney found out about it. JLS thinks that Britney was hurt by this, thinking it was an intentional move to keep her in the dark. JLS was also upset and not understanding why her sister wasn't with her, by her side...but she couldn't be, because no one told her what was going on. After this, their relationship was obviously fractured. Jamie Lynn filed for emancipation from her parents, as her finances were being controlled and she needed to prepare for the baby. No one would listen to what she needed - she wanted to buy a house and set up her life. She wasn't able to take care of herself until they finally came to an agreement that allowed her to have full control over her own finances. It was at this point that we generally stopped hearing anything about, or from, Jamie Lynn. Shortly after, if I'm doing the math right, (again she's only like, 17) is when Britney's conservatorship kicked in. Jamie Lynn explains that she never got, or asked for, any money from her sister.
I think, as usual with the Spears family, the media and PR teams have played a large part in the huge wedge that's been put between these two sisters. Even with this book - Jamie Lynn elaborating on the quotes that have been shared all over social media, make complete sense. The media is making them sound malicious, using them as clickbait (I'm guilty of that myself) and painting her in this greedy "it's all about me" light. When have we EVER heard from Jamie Lynn? She was so, so young. Everyone keeps saying "she was young but not THAT YOUNG she should have done something!" Were you raising a baby at 17 after a life of abuse and lies from your own family? Give me a break. It almost seems like both Britney and Jamie Lynn's teams kept them apart so they couldn't compare notes, and realize how horribly they were both being treated. I watched this interview completely transfixed, trying to think if I've ever even heard a peep out of Jamie Lynn, especially in this brutally honest way. Its sad that we're watching everyone twist her words, and even her own sister is left thinking she has a motive other than wanting to shed some light on how hard it was for BOTH of them growing up. I said it myself the other day, "why don't these two just get on the phone and talk it out?" I think after years of being kept apart and being made to feel like one another was purposely excluding them from their lives, something as simple as a phone call doesn't seem like an option. Nothing was simple in their lives. Looking at this through a different lens, its almost as if Jamie Lynn is speaking out now to help people understand why she, and her sister, are the way they are. She so clearly loves her sister, and wants nothing more than to live as normal of a life as she can. I hope these feelings of sympathy last throughout part 2 of the interview, and I have a feeling they'll only intensify.