Spears, 41, confessed in her new memoir The Woman in Me that she experienced a panic attack backstage at the 2007 MTV VMAs before her controversial performance of “Gimme More.”
The celebrity stated she was motivated to perform for the first time in three years in September to promote her album Blackout, which was released the following month, despite a difficult year in 2007.
“I didn’t want to, but my team was pressuring me to get out there and show the world I was fine,” she wrote. “The only problem with this plan: I was not fine.”
No sleep the night before. I was woozy. My second baby in two years was less than a year old, but everyone thought my lack of six-pack abs was disrespectful.
“I couldn’t believe I had to go onstage feeling this way,” she wrote. A panic attack hit me. My practice was lacking. I disliked my appearance. I expected it to be bad.”
The pop sensation featured in an exclusive PEOPLE cover story before the memoir's release. In an email conversation, she described her path to telling her experience.
“Over the past 15 years or even at the start of my career, I sat back while people spoke about me and told my story,” the performer said. I was finally free to tell my tale without consequences from the persons in charge of my life after getting out of conservatorship.”
“It is finally time for me to raise my voice and speak out, and my fans deserve to hear it directly from me,” she stated. “No more conspiracy, no more lies—just me owning my past, present, and future.”