Britney changes her tune on smoking, drinking, sex. She says she should be allowed to act like a normal 20-year-old, and make the same mistakes
Britney Spears
Credit: Britney Spears: James Devaney/

Is Britney Spears trying to tell us something? In an interview with People magazine, the singer says she’s not the squeaky-clean teen she used to claim to be, that she is just like any other 20-year-old. ”I drink,” she says. ”Smoking, drinking, sex — why is it such a big deal with me? As you get to 20, you grow up, you experiment.” She adds, ”I never wanted to hide who I was, but until about a year ago I was trying to fit an image and trying to be someone I wasn’t.”

Spears says she’s been enjoying herself since her world tour ended last month with a disastrous, aborted show in Mexico City. She insists that her partying is just a normal young woman blowing off steam. ”I’m taking a break, so people are writing that I’m having a meltdown,” she says. ”I need this break to rejuvenate spiritually and to just play.” She says, ”This may sound weird, but I’m kind of the happiest I’ve been in a really long freakin’ time.”

She says she should be allowed to ”experiment” and make mistakes, like any young woman. ”If I mess up, I’m human. If I have a drink or I’m with someone, I’m human. I’m no different than anyone else my age.” She still won’t cop to smoking, however. She explains away the notorious photo taken of her a few months ago that shows her on a hotel balcony and holding a cigarette, saying, ”This may sound really cheesy, but I was holding it for a girlfriend.”

As for whether she’s still a virgin, she says, ”Who really cares if I’ve had sex? It’s nobody’s business. Trust me, I’m not going to have a press conference to announce it.” Uh, it sounds like you just did.

For the complete story on Britney’s (and her parents’) breakups, and her view on various vices, see’s cover story.