The 30-year-old actress and author of a new memoir Things I Should Have Said was best known for her starring role in Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101 and for being the younger sister to superstar Britney Spears. But after becoming pregnant at 16 years old, Jamie Lynn’s name appeared in countless unflattering headlines.
“Being called a slut, so many different names, [speculation] about who the baby daddy was and all these kinds of things were just completely … it broke my heart,” she recalled. “I’m about to have a baby and honestly what made me madder was like I don’t want my daughter to think that her mom’s a piece of s***. And now you’ve already done that and she’s not even here yet. Also, I don’t want my daughter to ever read a headline that she ruined my career or something because that’s not true.”
Unwanted attention from the media was a prime concern for Jamie Lynn’s parents and team after she told them that she was pregnant with her boyfriend at the time, Casey Aldridge. In an effort to maintain some control over her own narrative, she agreed to do an exclusive pregnancy announcement with OK! magazine.
“I will have control over the pictures that are of my child, the words that are written about me,” she remembered thinking.
She quickly relinquished that control after having “kind of agreed” to hide away with her mom in a house somewhere outside of New York while waiting for the announcement to come out.
“I had already kind of prepped for knowing that they probably were gonna want to isolate me. So I did already, I went to the local Walmart bought me some burner phones,” Jamie Lynn said. “So I tell them I’m pregnant, there are a few days where we’re at home and everybody’s like crisis mode, what are we gonna do? The OK! deal is made for me and I’m just kind of like a piece in this puzzle I guess and I’m kind of just going through [the motions]. And I feel like s***, mind you, so I don’t really have the strength to really fight back. I’m literally vomiting. And so I just know that they say, ‘Look, the story’s gonna break. People are going to absolutely hound this house and you just can’t be here. We need to put you somewhere where things can be controlled and you can have the space.'”
Jamie Lynn had felt that her mom “surrendered” to the “machine” that was her PR and management team at the time who were all working to navigate the “crisis.” Still, it seemed that there was little anybody could do to combat the “out of control” paparazzi.
“I moved to Mississippi. I built my big ass gate around my house. … I’m not kidding you, I still would have 15 paparazzi on me and in the middle of nowhere Mississippi. Like what are you doing here? I’m not walking out in the middle of Beverly Hills asking for this,” she said. “I was still a minor. Whether I was having a child or not, I was still a little girl having a baby, yeah. That’s a lot. And then for people to go ahead and pre-destine another little girl’s [life], how she might feel about this.”
Jamie Lynn’s eldest daughter Maddie is now 13 years old and has recently been kept private on her mom’s social media pages. The star explained that the harshness she experienced from the media as a teen hasn’t gone away, but instead evolved into internet vitriol.
“We say we’re better but no, now we just do it on the internet on people’s social media and hide behind it,” Jamie Lynn said. “At least the magazines had enough balls to put it on their cover.”
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