If you’ve been on the internet at all over the past 24 hours, you’ve likely seen that Jamie Lynn Spears’s Good Morning America interview has erupted across social media.
But for those who somehow missed it, Jamie Lynn found herself trending on Twitter last night, following the publicized discussion about her sister, Britney Spears.
Jamie Lynn’s decision to appear on GMA was something that attracted criticism from the moment it was announced, given that Britney publicly denounced her during court proceedings last June and suggested she'd done “nothing” to help while she was living under the restrictive terms of her conservatorship.
Under the legal arrangement, which had been in effect since 2008, Britney's father and lawyers controlled her life and finances. The conservatorship was terminated in November last year after a protracted legal battle.
BuzzFeed News uncovered abuse, neglect, and death across the guardianship industry. Read our investigative series "Beyond Britney" here.
But in spite of Britney’s past comments and the ongoing criticism she's faced about her alleged complicity, Jamie Lynn sat down with GMA on Wednesday to discuss the conservatorship and their controversial family dynamics for the first time.
“I love my sister,” she said. “I’ve only ever loved and supported her, and done what’s right by her. And she knows that. So I don’t know why we’re in this position right now.”
“When [the conservatorship] was put into place I was a 17-year-old. I was about to have a baby, so I didn’t understand what was happening,” she said. “Nor was I focused on that. I was focused on the fact that I was a 17-year-old about to have a baby. I understand just as little about it then as I do now.”
Jamie Lynn went on to claim that she actually “set up ways” to help Britney under the legal arrangement, saying that she “took no steps” to be a part of it.
“There was a time where my sister asked me — of her trust and will — if I would be the person who was sure that her boys got what they needed,” she said.
“Once I realized that ... she’s in a conservatorship, I felt like I just didn’t want to be a part of [it] until maybe she was out of the conservatorship,” she said.
“There was no me overseeing funds or something like that, and if that was, it was a misunderstanding,” she said. “Either way, I took no steps to be a part of it.”
Jamie Lynn said, “I’ve always been my sister’s biggest supporter, so when she needed help, I set up ways to do so.”
“I went out of my way to make sure that she had the contacts she needed to possibly go ahead and end this conservatorship, and just end this all for our family,” she said. “If it’s gonna cause this much discord, why continue it?”
She added, “If she wanted to talk to other people … I set that up. I even spoke to her legal team … previous legal team, and that did not end well in my favor.”
Jamie Lynn’s interview has continued to erupt across social media in the hours since its release, with many criticizing the actor for her “unconscionable” remarks.
Fans firstly questioned the Sweet Magnolias star’s claims about her lack of knowledge on the 13-year-long conservatorship.
“Jamie Lynn said she couldn’t help Britney in 07 because she was 17, pregnant and didn’t have the capacity to be concerned with Britney. But then says ‘I know as little about it now as I did then’… So in the 13 years, you never asked, you never researched… nothing?” one tweet read.
“Jamie Lynn Spears on GMA saying she had no idea what a conservatorship was at 17 when Britney was put in it. She’s now 30 and said she still doesn’t know what it is. Girl in all that time you never once googled what happened to your sister????” another user wrote.
In response, one person noted that Jamie Lynn’s claim contradicted her other remarks about allegedly providing Britney with resources to help her under the legal arrangement.
“And that contradicts her saying she gave Britney the resources to get out of it. How did she help her when she didn't know what it was. I literally can't. The entire interview contradicted itself,” the tweet said.
Moreover, fans called out another of Jamie Lynn’s contradictions. After describing Britney’s mental state as "erratic," "paranoid," and "spiraling” in her upcoming memoir, the actor said she “can’t really speak to anyone else’s state of mind” when questioned about it in the interview.
“Jamie Lynn is a walking contradiction,” one person tweeted alongside direct comparisons of her statements.
People also questioned Jamie Lynn’s apparent obliviousness as to why she and Britney aren’t on good terms. Given that the “Gimme More” singer has repeatedly condemned her over the past year, namely in court hearings and often on Instagram, many called Jamie Lynn’s cluelessness an attempt at “gaslighting” her.
“I’m sorry but Jamie Lynn on GMA acting as if she doesn’t know why her sister ain’t fuckin with her is extremely gaslighty to me. Dry up them tears mama,” read one tweet, which has received over 10,000 likes.
“I actually teared up watching this. I’m so so so sorry for Britney that after all they have done her family continues… gaslighting and [sponging] off of her,” another tweet said.
Amid the onslaught of criticism toward Jamie Lynn — and toward the ABC network for airing the interview — many users began to draw comparisons between the Zoey 101 star and another person Britney has a notorious past with: Justin Timberlake.
As you’re probably aware, Britney and Justin dated back in the early ‘00s. However, their three-year-long relationship ended with a very public breakup in 2002.
Britney was demonized by the media for years after Justin seemingly perpetuated the narrative that she was the cause of their split — perhaps, some think, to bolster his own career ahead of the release of his 2002 album, Justified.
Not only did the former NSYNC member insinuate that Britney had cheated on him with pointed lyrics in his hit “Cry Me a River,” but he also infamously featured an undeniable lookalike of his ex in the music video.
What’s more, Justin notoriously made disrespectful comments about Britney in a series of interviews over the course of their breakup. For example, he made crude remarks about their sex life while speaking with Hot 97, saying, “I did it. I'm dirty,” when asked if he’d had “oral intercourse” with her.
Justin’s treatment of Britney is something that came to light last year, following the release of FX and Hulu’s Framing Britney Spears — a harrowing documentary that recalls his willingness to scapegoat his ex throughout their breakup.
And in light of Jamie Lynn’s recent publicized comments about Britney, many fans were quick to cast their minds back to Justin’s treatment of the pop star.
Considering that both Jamie Lynn and Justin painted Britney in a demonizing and “erratic” light, fans have since accused both parties of calculatedly driving a pointed narrative in the media — arguably for their own benefit.
“[Jamie Lynn] is still profiting off of her sister playing out their relationship trouble in a public forum to sell her book. Honestly what’s the difference between what she is doing and what Justin Timberlake did?” one person said in a tweet that received over 400 likes.
“This. This. This,” one person replied in agreement.
Fans also accused Jamie Lynn of “victim shaming” and “invalidating” Britney — something that Justin has repeatedly been blamed for too.
However, many went on to argue that Jamie Lynn’s behavior appears more damaging than Justin’s, not least because she’s Britney’s sister, but given that she’s had years to reflect on her silence throughout the conservatorship — and yet still doesn't appear to have taken accountability.
Perhaps in light of the severe backlash he faced following the reexamination of his actions, Justin eventually issued a formal apology to Britney, admitting that he “failed” her in a written statement posted last year.
“I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” he wrote on Instagram in Feb. 2021. “I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right.”
“I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed,” he noted.