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By 2008, Jamie Lynn Spears had found fame like her superstar sister. Then, she gave it all up.

When you hear the name Spears, you usually think of Britney Spears, no?

Between her isolation dances to ex Justin Timberlake’s bangers and accidentally burning her gym down with a candle (our greatest fear), the Grammy-winning singer is having a moment.

But turns out, so is her younger sister.

After a decades spent out of the spotlight, Jamie Lynn Spears is back on our TV screens in the show set to be Netflix’s next bingeworthy rom-com success, Sweet Magnolias.

WATCH: Check out the trailer for Sweet Magnolias below, post continues after video.

Video via Netflix

The 29-year-old plays Noreen Fitzgibbons, a young nurse who has an affair with the town doctor Dr. Bill Townsend – played by another familiar face, American Pie actor Chris Klein. The result? A messy, small town divorce and a baby on the way.

Noreen finds herself the subject of gossip, something Spears can relate to – from being a child star and the younger sister of the world’s biggest pop star, to living through a highly-publicised teen pregnancy.

Keep scrolling to find out what the younger Spears sister has been up to away from acting, and why she’s decided to return to the small screen.

Jamie Lynn Spears’ career: From Zoey 101 to a country music album.

If you were a teenager in 2005, or parent of one, and had Foxtel, you’ll remember Spears played Zoey Brooks on her hit TV show Zoey 101.

Spears was 13 when she took on the role, although she was no stranger to the celebrity life thanks to her sister’s fame. Before getting her own show, she had a cameo role in the Britney Spears film Crossroads, and appeared on Nickelodeon’s All That sketch show.

After only three seasons, Zoey 101 ended in 2008. At this time, Spears disappeared from the spotlight.

zoey 101
Zoey 101 ran from 2005-2008. Image: Nickelodeon.
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Jamie Lynn Spears was on her way to being a success in the entertainment industry like her sister. Image: Getty.
In 2008, Zoey 101 ended, much to the disappointment of fans. Image: Getty.
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Six years later, she released a country album called The Journey. She's also done a lot of songwriting for other artists – in 2016, she won an award from the Nashville Songwriters Association.

Sweet Magnolias is her first big acting role since finishing Zoey 101 12 years ago. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Spears said she didn't receive many acting offers during her time away from the industry.

"I've kind of been behind the scenes. I was in Nashville writing music for a while, for other artists and for myself. But there's nothing since I've had my children that I've passed on that I regret or that I remember being some huge deal," she said.

Jamie Lynn Spears' kids.

Like her older sister, Spears has two children – 11-year-old Maddie and two-year-old Ivey.

Maddie was born in 2008, around the same time the final episode of Zoey 101 aired. Spears had announced her pregnancy with then-boyfriend Casey Aldridge at the end of 2007. She was 16 at the time.

Jamie Lynn Spears and Casey Aldridge before their breakup in 2009. Image: Getty.
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"When I became pregnant my world came crashing down," she said of finding out she was pregnant in a petrol station bathroom in the 2016 documentary Jamie Lynn Spears: When the Lights Go Out.

"I am not going to sugarcoat it, things were not great there for a while. I felt extremely guilty, I lived my life trying to be this perfect girl and I was about to let people down. I knew I had a lot of young girls who looked up to me and I felt that responsibility, but at the end of the day, I knew I would have to make a decision as a young girl myself, to do something that I could sleep with at night."

Spears' teen pregnancy was highly publicised, with many assuming it was the reason her Nickelodeon series was cancelled. That same year, Britney Spears was making headlines after shaving her head in a 'meltdown' that saw her hand over control of her assets to her father in a conservatorship that's still in place today.

In 2009, a year after their daughter was born, Jamie Lynn Spears and Aldridge called off their engagement, splitting for good in 2010. In March 2014, Spears married businessman Jamie Watson. They welcomed their first child together, Ivey Joan, in 2018.

 

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From Instagram, Spears appears to have a close relationship with her tween daughter, who like every other kid on the planet, is doing TikTok videos with her mum. Speaking to Access Hollywood, she said Maddie is "indifferent" to her mum's fame, adding, "she's more concerned with her life."

When asked about the similarities between her own life and that of her pregnant character's in Sweet Magnolias, Spears told The Hollywood Reporter there are definitely parallels there.

"At the end of the day, you have to stand up for what's best for you and your baby. I think that’s what people didn't understand about me and my first pregnancy," she said.

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"Every decision I made came from a place of wanting to do right by Maddie and being the best mum that I could be. For this part, I really just drew from the experience of being a young girl who was trying to do what was best for her and her child. I was under a microscope."

Jamie Lynn Spears and Britney Spears' relationship.

Jamie Lynn Spears and Britney Spears have always had a close relationship. At the height of Britney's career, Jamie Lynn was travelling the world with her. She has long insisted having such a successful sibling never made her feel like she was living in someone's shadow.

"I remember thinking to myself that not only is my sister a superstar, but she's changing things. She's really the best of the best. She made me believe that anything was possible. She's given the world a lot," she said in the 2020 Hollywood Reporter interview.

Jamie Lynn travelled the world with sister Britney. Image: Getty.
The sisters still share a close bond today. Image: Getty.
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How cute is this 90s throwback?? Image: Getty.

 

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She's always been my #ICON ????Love you❤️

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Recently, Britney spent two weeks in Louisiana in quarantine with Jamie Lynn, their mother Lynn, and Jamie Lynn's, family before returning to her LA home. Jamie Lynn told Access Hollywood she and her sister have different parenting styles.

"I'm more of the tomboy and she's the girly girl, so it's funny I had the girls and she had the [two sons with ex-husband Kevin Ferderline]. So she gets to spoil my girls."

She also said she wishes both she and Britney had listened to their mum's advice more, saying, "looking back, I realise she was right nine out of 10 times."

"Overall, the best advice that I could give myself – and could give anyone, for that matter – is to listen to your mum. There were so many times where I should've just listened to my mum growing up. That's who's going to save you when you make a mistake – or save you from making one in the first place," she said.

"Me and my sister, we both would have saved ourselves a world of trouble and a world of pain if we had been more open and honest with our mum, and then listened to her."

Jamie Lynn Spears in Sweet Magnolias.

 

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2020 marks a return to acting for Spears, and considering the initial success Sweet Magnolias has seen, she couldn't have picked a better role.

While Spears and her character Noreen live different lives, she said she drew on her own life experiences of controversy and being in the public eye to depict the 'other woman'.

"I've been her in many ways, and I have compassion for [her]."

While there are talks of a Zoey 101 reboot, Spears is hoping for a second season of Sweet Magnolias. Despite finding fame so young, at 29, she said all she really wants to do is "get my foot in the door again."

Feature Image: Getty.

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