Jamie Lynn Spears is reflecting on media scrutiny she faced after publicly announcing that she was pregnant at 16.
The Zoey 101 alum, 29, opened up to Nylon about doing her best to escape the spotlight after revealing that she was pregnant in 2007, with the child TV star facing harsh headlines about becoming a mom. Spears' daughter Maddie, whom she shares with ex Casey Aldridge, turned 12 in June.
"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 told the outlet. "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.' "
"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," added Spears. "But of course, the paparazzi still found me. It's not like I was in L.A. walking down the middle of the most popular boulevard; I was in the-middle-of-nowhere Mississippi."
Today, Spears is also mom to daughter Ivey Joan, 2, whom she shares with husband Jamie Watson, whom she wed in 2014. Back when she was expecting her first child, the actress said she tried to evade the spotlight in order to give her child "some sense of normalcy."
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"So, I got me a little house. I put a big gate up around it, and I was like, 'I'm going to stay here, raise my baby, and figure this out because this is real life. I've put myself in this situation, I'm not condoning it or saying it's right, but these are the cards that I have to play,' " said Spears. "And I tried to do the best that I could."
"And yet, sure enough, everywhere I went in Mississippi for that whole nine months, there was always paparazzi on me everywhere I went," she added. "But 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."
Her mother Lynne told Nylon that Spears "grasped motherhood immediately and fully," adding that she "focused only on trying to make the best decisions for her baby and herself, and in that order."
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The actress and singer also added that growing up as the younger sister to pop star Britney Spears gave her a roadmap of how to handle fame. She explained that attention to their personal lives is "a whole family thing with us."
"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 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 said.
"She was open with me about it," added Spears. "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 percent helpful in every single way."
Spears will release her new single "Follow Me (Zoey 101)" single on Thursday and the Global Livestream Event "See It First: The Follow Me (Zoey 101) Experience" on Oct. 25.
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