There was a time in the last year when Lynne Spears feared for [artist id="501686"]Britney[/artist]'s life. "Yes, I did worry that that might happen," she said of her worries that her daughter might take her own life during a period when the singer was hospitalized twice this year for mental evaluations. "I couldn't see Britney, and you worry more when you're looking at things from a distance."
Mama Spears expressed those fears in an interview in England's Daily Mail to promote her book, "Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World." After Britney lost custody of her two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline, she reached out to her mother for help getting her children back, and that's when Lynne said she could tell Britney was turning a corner.
"When I started seeing her again, I felt more reassured," Lynne told the paper. "She told me that, as bad as life can get, she still likes life too much to consider ending it."
At one point, Lynne Spears said she considered calling her once-delayed book (which was pushed back from its original release date at the height of Britney's problems and just after the announcement of younger daughter Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy) "It's All My Fault." "I can laugh about it now, but did I feel that way at the time? Yes, I did," Lynne said. "And, if I'm being totally honest, I still do."
At the height of her success, Lynne said Britney didn't need her as much, but when things began to spiral downward, "I was out, because other people — dancers, managers — were closer to her, and with her day and night. Being a mother, you can't help but have regrets about what you did and didn't do for your kids, and I'm no different," she said. Spears added that it was especially hard to be "banished" from her daughter's life during the hardest period for Britney, when she lost custody of her sons and was ordered to submit to random drug and alcohol testing.
Spears denies being a stage mom or pushing her second child into show business, saying she never got the standard 5 percent cut that most mothers take from their star kids, even when times were tough for the family. "[Britney's father] Jamie and I both said that we never wanted to be her managers; we just wanted to be parents," she said. "I was never in the driver's seat as far as Britney's career goes."
Though Britney appears to be on the upswing now — with new album Circus poised to be a hit and a world tour planned for 2009 — Spears echoes some of the comments Britney made in her recent MTV documentary, "Britney: For the Record," in which the singer said things are more calm now and she's happier, but in some ways life is almost too boring.
"I think Britney's happy in most ways — very happy with her kids and ecstatic about work," Lynne Spears said. "But there's something missing in her life. ... That gut belief she had in herself when she was so young, that's what's missing, and she's got to get that back. She could set the world on fire in those days, and she knew exactly what she wanted. But the hardships she's been through have made her a little hesitant. She needs one big boost, one plug of energy and she'll be there."
Asked if she might do things differently if given the chance, Spears said that it's "unrealistic" to stop your child from pursuing their dreams. "You don't tell your child, 'You can't play football because you might get into steroids one day,' because you just don't foresee those problems," she said. "Even if I had said no to Britney, maybe worse things might have happened because she was frustrated and couldn't fulfill her dreams."
Though they divorced six years ago after 27 years of marriage, Spears has nothing but praise for the way her ex-husband, Jamie, has been handling his conservatorship over Britney, saying she admires him for being strong and keeping their daughter on the right track.
Asked about another difficult chapter in her family's life, Jamie Lynn's unexpected pregnancy at 16 — whose daughter is now 6 months old — Lynne Spears said she was shocked at first. "With Britney, everything had always been out there in the public domain," she said. "So, even if I wasn't used to the pain, I was still used to those things happening. But with Jamie Lynn, it was so different. I couldn't believe that my studious, perfect little girl had got herself pregnant. I just went into shock. But she's doing great now." And though she said Jamie Lynn and boyfriend Casey Aldridge will eventually get married, Lynne said there's "definitely not" plans for another baby anytime soon.
Though she expressed regret that when fame hit hard and "everything started slipping away," she wasn't there to help Britney deal with the pressures of stardom, Lynne said she's delighted with how her daughter has come out of her difficult period. "I'm so proud of Britney. She's been through a tough time and look at her now," she said. "That's my baby, and she's back."