Amber Tamblyn is firmly “Team Britney.” Following the pop star’s damning testimony in which she detailed the abuse she’s experienced under her father’s court-appointed conservatorship, Tamblyn revealed that she sees a lot of herself in Britney Spears and labels her challenging of the legal arrangement as a “profoundly radical act.”
In a New York Times op-ed entitled, “Britney Spears’s Raw Anger, and Mine,” the actress drew parallels between hers and Spears’ experiences as young women navigating the entertainment industry, including the pressure to fulfill the role of breadwinner.
“I didn’t really identify with Ms. Spears’s music growing up, but I did identify with this newfound rage,” Tamblyn wrote.
Tamblyn got her start on the soap opera “General Hospital” as a tween before headlining her own series (“Joan of Arcadia”) and going on to star in such films as “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and “The Ring.” Although she is the daughter of actor Russ Tamblyn, star of “West Side Story” and other musicals from the 1950s, she admitted that money was often tight in her household growing up, an issue that her early success simultaneously helped and complicated.
“Having seen some of the complications and consequences that come with finding fame and financial success at a young age, I can attest to how challenging this combination of factors can be to navigate, even for those with the best of intentions,” Tamblyn said, “I also know how much potential they have to turn toxic, and how vulnerable they can make a young woman.”
Under the conservatorship, Spears’ father Jamie has had control over her career, finances, health and even daily whereabouts for the past 13 years. Tamblyn qualified her statements with the fact that, unlike Spears, her parents were “supportive and ethical in every way.” However, the blurred boundaries proved problematic nonetheless.
“I was everyone’s A.T.M.: a bank that was, nonetheless, unconditionally loved,” she added. “Still, as I got older, it got harder to trust the source of that love.”
Tamblyn also connected with Spears’ lack of control over her body.
“One of Ms. Spears’s most disturbing claims this week was that she was forced to get an IUD to prevent her from having more children; it was not just her money they wanted to control, but also her body, because in entertainment, for young women, the two are almost invariably intertwined,” Tamblyn wrote.
“I’ve experienced my own version of this dynamic,” she continued, “Growing up, my weight was openly discussed by everyone, from family members to Hollywood creatives. I’d grin and bear it, because staying silent — and thin — meant I would get hired again; getting hired again meant people would be proud of me and that I would have the money that was needed to keep the ship afloat.”
Tamblyn acknowledged that even though she’s experienced “just a small taste” of what Spears has gone through, she applauds her strength and courage for speaking up.
“By speaking up, she has reminded us that our autonomy, both bodily and fiscal, is worth fighting for,” Tamblyn said. “We can’t unknow her truth now — as told in her own voice, not a voice that’s been written for her, curated for her, or projected onto her. Now, it’s really up to us to listen.”