In a moment that now feels like what might have been perhaps Britney Spears’ most iconic career move of all-time, the world watched in ejaculatory horror on February 16, 2007 as reports of Spears impulsively shaving her head at a hair salon in Tarzana (perhaps the most shocking element of all–Tarzana?) circulated throughout the media.
The purported reason? She’s gone cuhraaaaayzeeeee! Though, later, it would be maintained she did it purely to avoid testing positive for a drug test. Mhmmmm. We all know that the meltdown was real, and completely identifiable. Starting in ’06, the Britney backlash began to form after she was pictured with her son, Sean–barely one at the time–sitting in her lap while she drove instead of in a carseat. The scrutiny of the paparazzi was further intensified when Spears divorced from her least favorite mistake, Kevin Federline, in November of 2006. But at least we’ll always have Britney and Kevin: Chaotic.
Another emotional blow was delivered to Spears in January of 2007 when an aunt she was close with died of ovarian cancer. Let us also not forget that this was the year of the famous Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan driving together with Britney photo that spurred a “cautionary” Newsweek article about “The Girls Gone Wild Effect” (god, the Bush II years were more conservative than the Bush I years). And so, with these “bad influences” in her life, it’s no wonder Brit Brit tried to check into a rehab center in Antigua for a day (hence, her not that close proximity to Tarzana for a quick buzz cut).
From there, things became a runaway train, with Spears subject to more drug rehabilitation facilities in the spring of ’07, followed by an ongoing custody battle for her two children, which K-Fed ultimately won. Though her commercially successful Blackout album was released at the end of the year, a trainwreck performance at the VMAs led to increased speculation about Spears’ mental health/”fitness” as a mother.
By January 3, 2008, everything came to a head when Spears was summarily locked onto a gurney and taken to Cedars Sinai Hospital after a three-hour standoff between her and authorities. It was later stated that Spears was under the influence of an “unknown substance.” Whatever caused her eventual full-fledged breakdown, it can all be traced to that defining instant on February 16, 2007, a brief glimmer of what we were to see in 2008. Between the album she wanted to make getting scrapped and the continued disappointment of her personal relationships, it’s no wonder Britney snapped under the pressure. Then again, this was all mounting even around the time of her Diary episode. Though no one had faith Britney would recover, she proved she is the living embodiment of one of her best singles, “Stronger.” And, to be honest, I think we can all agree that this was the period that humanized her to those who previously had not joined the Church of Godney. Maybe there really is a silver lining to everything. In any event, never forget 02/16. Especially when you yourself feel like you might start to be going a little insane and wield an umbrella to take out your aggression.