Credit: Ed Rode/

Jamie Lynn Spears shocked us all in 2007 when she announced she was 16 and pregnant with now-ex-boyfriend Casey Aldridge’s baby. The former Zoey 101 star, 20, then left tabloid-riddled Los Angeles and moved back to her home state of Louisiana to raise her daughter Maddie. Since then, she’s managed to dodge the limelight. That is, until she resurfaced as a country singer, a young mother, and a whole new woman, she told Glamour. “I was a kid who did a kid show,” she told the magazine. “Then I went away and raised my child, and the world has never met me as an adult. This is the first time anybody is really meeting me as a grown woman and grown mother making a decision about what to do with my life. Do people have an idea of who they think I am? Yes, and that’s fine with me.”

For someone so eager to shy away from press, why did she decide to open to OK! Magazine about her pregnancy five years ago? “I knew I needed to give an explanation to my fans, and I wanted it to be in my words first,” she said. “I had to make a decision that I could sleep with every night. I did feel responsible for the young girls and the mothers who I probably confused and let down. I apologize for that. But I wasn’t trying to glamorize teen pregnancy. I hated when [the tabloids] said that.”

The best-selling issue of OK! certainly saw plenty of eyes, but the story also led to plenty of snap judgments regarding the teen star. Spears said she was judged unfairly by fans and tabloids. “I’d had one boyfriend,” she said. “It doesn’t make it perfect or all right. But I was judged for something that probably most everyone does. I was young. I was in love. I was like every other teenager, except I had this last name.”

But there are a few women who she feels understand what she’s been through: the stars of MTV’s Teen Mom: “I remember thinking, Oh my God, I cannot wait to see this show because there’s someone else out there. I mean, I feel for those girls. I’ve been that girl. It does show that motherhood is hard.”

But Spears isn’t only telling her story; she’s singing it too. The single mom moved to Nashville two years ago to jump-start a country music career. Her debut album, out later this year, will feature music about her life as a pregnant teen and a young mother. “I’m more honest in my lyrics than I am in anything else,” she told the magazine. “It’s where I feel the most safe to express myself. I write about growing up, my family, Maddie and getting pregnant. If I’ve lived it, why wouldn’t I talk about it? I guess that’s been the coolest thing — realizing that it’s OK to just be myself and really tell my story.”

What do you think PopWatchers? Ready for another Spears comeback?

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