February 3rd, 2012
04:29 PM ET
Jamie Lynn Spears is likely a name you haven't heard in a few years, and that was by design.
The former Nickelodeon star tells Glamour magazine in its March issue that she intentionally stepped away from the spotlight after she got pregnant at 16.
Spears, who turns 21 in April, recalls that in 2007, after she finished filming Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101," she thought she'd go back home to Louisiana and finish school - but then she found out she was pregnant.
"I'd had one boyfriend," she tells Glamour. "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....And I made a decision that is forever my decision."
Spears says she believes "in safety and birth control," but "was scared to go to the doctor." Plus, she was on a kids show, "and it felt especially embarrassing to ask someone to put me on birth control."
After she learned she was pregnant, Spears says she did feel responsible for her audience, whom she feels she may have let down or confused. "I apologize for that," she says. "But I wasn't trying to glamorize teen pregnancy...Everybody is dealt a hand of cards. It was my choice to play them the way I played them."
And so, she and the father of her child got engaged and moved to Mississippi, where she could "get away from [the criticism] as much as I could, to just go away and be a mom and figure out what I wanted, and earn a sense of respect back for myself...All I could be was a good mother. If anybody had anything to say after that, there was nothing I could do."
In 2009, following the dissolution of her engagement, Spears and her daughter Maddie headed to Nashville, where the young mom has taken up songwriting and is performing again.
"The last time anyone heard from me, I was 16 and pregnant," she says of preparing herself for critical reactions to her music. "All I can do is my best. There will always be people who will never like me."
But aside from her career, her daughter still takes top priority, Spears says. "These days, the only thing I'm afraid of is not being a good mom. As long as Maddie is healthy and she loves me, the rest doesn't matter."
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