The Evolution Of Britney Spears: Follow The Pop Star's Career In Photos

It's crazy to think that Britney Spears was only introduced to the pop scene a decade ago. In those 10 years, Britney has had breakthroughs and break downs, break-ups and broken records. From Baby One More Time to Circus, she has redefined the pop music scene in ways only seen previously by her idol, Madonna.

Click on the photo below to take a gander at Brit Brit 10 years ago and how she's grown since. Then, keep reading for more on her rise to fame after the jump.

After two years on The Disney Channel's "The New Mickey Mouse Club," Britney briefly joined the all-girl pop ground Innosense in 1997. When Britney first signed to Jive Records, she was 16-years-old and the opening act for the then insanely popular *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. Her first studio album, Baby One More Time, was released in 1999 and it quickly reached #1 on the Billboard Top 100. She followed up her success with 2000's Oops! I Did It Again, which did it again as it debuted at number one in the US.

It was during this time that Britney dated *NSYNC hearthrob Justin Timberlake, both of whom had performed together on "MMC." The pair arguably were the most popular young musicians entering into the new millennium. Also in 2000, Britney made her first appearance at the VMAs, performing "Oops!"

She released her third (self-titled) album in 2001, and though it debuted at number one, it only sold half as many copies in its first week as Oops! did. After her tour to promote Britney prematurely ended in early 2002, Britney's four-year relationship with Justin also came to a screeching halt. Following that, she was romantically linked to a variety of (often random) people, like Fred Durst and Colin Farrell. She also made her first big screen performance in the poorly received "Crossroads."

In 2003, Britney released her fourth album, In The Zone, making her the first female artist in the Nielson SoundScan era to have four albums debut at #1. She also won her first Grammy, for Best Dance Recording, for "Toxic." It was at her fourth performance at the VMAs that same year that she and Madonna shared their infamous kiss during their performance with Christina Aguilera of "Like A Virgin."

The following year was a whirlwind for Britney: she was married twice (first for 55 hours to childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander and then eight months later to back-up dancer Kevin Federline), starred in a short-lived UPN show "Britney & Kevin Chaotic" and was soon pregnant with her first child. She also released her first compilation album, Greatest Hits: My Perogative.

Seven months after the birth of her first child, Sean Preston, Britney announced on "The Late Show with David Letterman" that she was pregnant with her second child, Jayden James, who she gave birth to in September of 2006. Two months later, she filed for divorce from Kevin.

That year was the pop star's toughest to date. She admitted herself into drug rehabilitation clinics multiple times, shaved her head, attacked paparazzi with an umbrella and was charged with a hit-and-run and driving without a license. She lost custody of her children and was forced to release her newest album, Blackout, a month early due to an online leak. Her performance of "Gimme More" at the 2007 VMAs was widely criticized.

If 2007 was her downfall, then 2008 was her redemption. Britney obtained a bit part on CBS' popular comedy "How I Met Your Mother" as a receptionist who becomes involved with series favorite Neil Patrick Harris, bringing in the show's highest ratings to date. As a follow up to her poor performance at the 2007 VMAs, Britney opened the 2008 show with a prerecorded bit alongside comedian Jonah Hill. She won awards at the show for Best Female Video, Best Pop Video and Video Of The Year.

Though Blackout was not the return of Britney the world had been waiting for, the November release of her sixth studio album Circus certainly was. On October 15, the album's first single, "Womanizer," made a record-breaking jump to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record set by T.I.'s "Live Your Life." It was her first song since "Baby One More Time" to reach number one on the Top 100.

Britney started her most recent tour, "The Circus Starring: Britney Spears" in March of this year. It opened with sold out shows and has continued to sell out ever since. Her three-night run at Madison Square Garden concluded this past Wednesday night, and after a brief break the tour will continue to cover North America before heading off to Australia later in the year. In July, she confirmed via her Twitter account that she is recording new material, which should be released later this year.

Don't miss the other "Evolution Of..." honorees in our series so far: "Inglorious Basterds" actor Brad Pitt, "Bandslam" starlet Vanessa Hudgens and real-life Bella Swan, Kristen Stewart.