Britney Spears has been on nearly 100 magazine covers, but her first was Rolling Stone, in the spring of 1999. “It was freakin’ awesome,” she says. “Most girls my age would have done their first cover for Seventeen or something.”

Her debut album, … Baby One More Time, was already triple platinum, but Spears was only seventeen and still living with her parents in her Kentwood, Louisiana, childhood home. Which is where David LaChapelle and his crew spent two days snapping the pop star, in her element. Her father, Jamie, hosted a crawfish cookout on the first night, and her mom, Lynne, lent set designer Kristen Vallow a sewing machine to stitch together the purple satin sheets Spears is lying on.

Spears and LaChapelle both say they knew the photo would cause a bit of commotion, but they figured it was worth it. “I said to her, ‘You don’t want to be buttoned up, like Debbie Gibson,’ ” LaChapelle recalls. “I said, ‘Let’s push it further and do this whole ****** thing.’ She got it. She knew it would get people talking and excited.” Spears proved, even then, that she was going to take charge of crafting her own image. One night while they were shooting, LaChapelle says, Spears’ manager, Larry Rudolph, walked in at 2 a.m. to find her posing in her bra and *******. Rudolph demanded to know what was going on. “Britney said, ‘Yeah, I don’t feel comfortable,’ ” says the photographer. “At first I felt betrayed. But as soon as Larry walked out, Britney said, ‘Lock the door’ and unbuttoned her shirt wide open.”

Says Spears, “Holy Roller religious people made such a big deal about that photo, and I didn’t really get it. That’s the way I’ve always been, and I thought that photo was a good representation of who I really am.” Thanks for the info.

Leave a Reply