Great Britain

Jamie Lynn Spears says she tried to 'hide away for a little bit' after announcing pregnancy at 16

Jamie Lynn Spears has opened up about the public scrutiny she faced after announcing she was pregnant at 16, despite her efforts to “hide away for a little bit”.

In a new interview with Nylon, the former Zoey 101 star reflected on finding out she was pregnant in 2007 with her then-high school boyfriend Casey Aldridge, explaining that her focus was on telling her family.

“You have your first love, or what you call love in high school. You think it's forever, and then oh my gosh, I'm pregnant," she said. "I am mortified to have to tell my parents this and my family this. I do not care what TMZ thinks about it.

“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.'”

The 29-year-old also revealed the lengths she went to to maintain her privacy while pregnant with Maddie, 12, telling the outlet: “I didn't really care about any of that nonsense, but 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. It's not like I was in LA walking down the middle of the most popular boulevard; I was in the-middle-of-nowhere Mississippi.”

The outlet also noted that the headlines focused on Spears’ pregnancy were “even more invasive and judgemental than what we’d see in today’s media.”

While Spears recalled that she put a big gate around her house and tried to stay out of the spotlight during her pregnancy, she said that paparazzi continued to follow her all nine months.

Explaining that she tried to do the “best she could,” she said: “And yet, sure enough, everywhere I went in Mississippi for that whole nine months, there was always paparazzi on me everywhere I went.”

However, according to the singer, who also shares daughter Ivey Joan, two, with husband Jamie Watson, her focus was giving her child a “sense of normalcy.”

“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,” she said.

In addition to navigating media scrutiny about her pregnancy, Spears said she also had to deal with reactions from fans, who blamed her at the time for Zoey 101 going off-air.

“In today's world, immediately I'd have my social media to post something, and it'd be cleared up,” she said, adding that the “people still have their thoughts about it” even though she didn’t become pregnant until six months after the show had wrapped.

Looking back, Spears, who is releasing her new single Follow Me (Zoey 101) on Thursday, said she credits her sister, Britney Spears, with helping her deal with the spotlight.

“I was able to see it from a different point of view by watching someone who is obviously now an icon, my sister, go through it,” she said. “She went from this small town to become this huge megastar that will always be remembered, and seeing the way she handled it so honestly, to me, that was so brave. She was open with me about it. She taught me to protect myself.

“And I think that I learned how to be strong, but also keep it honest, and it was 100 per cent helpful in every single way.”

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