The performances at MTV’s Video Music Awards are famous (and infamous) for the drama, surprises and shock value that they bring with them.
Be it Beyoncé’s performance, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke's 2013 twerking episode or Michael Jackson's 1995 medley that had the whole arena on its feet, VMA performers traditionally know how to steal the show.
Especially for Britney Spears, the VMAs have been defining moments for her career.
Her 2001 performance, where she had the iconic seven-foot-long albino Burmese python (named 'Banana') draped around her neck when she danced to 'I'm a Slave 4 U', was a turning point in Spear's career, a moment of liberation and self-expression in a career that has since offered her very little of either.
Then came the tumultuous late 2000s where Britney's personal life was completely off-track. This showed in her 2007 VMA performance which had Britney lip-sync through a listless version of 'Gimme More'. Here's the clip of the infamous performance:
The unfocused, sluggish, poorly rehearsed performance was the breaking point for the disturbed pop star.
But trouble had started long before in 2004 when the pop star dropped her first bomb by marrying her childhood sweetheart Jason Alexander in a Vegas chapel in 2004. The couple had a quickie annulment 55 hours later.
After this first incident, her erratic behaviour only escalated, and ended with Britney losing custody of her two sons in 2007 for being intoxicated in their presence. She shaved her head, often flipped out at the paparazzi and lost touch with her fans. This led to Spears being placed under the temporary conservatorship of her father and being advised to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. She has since then, under her father Jamie Spears' careful watch, made a slow, steady climb to stability.
The steady climb has resulted in one inspirational thing for 'Oops I Did It Again' star. She hasn't stopped making music, no matter what. There's always a Britney Spears album in the horizon.
Her ninth studio album Glory has been released and she has now performed, for the first time since 2007, on stage for the VMAs alongside big names like Beyoncé and Rihanna. Britney performed her new single 'Make Me' and rapper G-Eazy helped her keep the song's slow EDM tempo. Here's a clip of her performance:
Though Britney seems to be in full comeback mode, things aren't going great for other celebrities who, like Britney, have achieved fame early in life.
Amanda Bynes, who shot to fame as a preteen because of her work on the Nickelodeon shows All That and The Amanda Show, is yet to recover from her early brush with fame. The Sydney White actress is now under her own road to recovery from a mental breakdown back in 2013, which makes her fans from her Nickelodeon years search longingly for the teenage girl with the superpower of perfect comic timing.
Then there's the odd case of Lindsay Lohan. The star, who made a name for herself when she was 13 with the film Parent Trap, went through a downward spiral after appearing in the iconic teenage film Mean Girls. Lohan sometimes appears to have made a full recovery from her days of partying and drug addiction, sometimes not.
But this is Britney Spears' story. She has recovered from a public meltdown and film failures like Crossroads, to name a few. Her's is a story that gives hope to all dysfunctional celebrities — no matter how bad the breakdown, there’s always a way up.