Although an actress and singer in her own right, Jamie Lynn Spears is perhaps best known as Britney Spears’ younger sister. She starred in ‘Zoey 101’ on Nickelodeon, but why did she leave the show?
When Jamie Lynn Spears officially announced her pregnancy in December 2007, there were widespread rumors that this was the cause of the show’s cancellation. However, Spears has confirmed that the contract had finished and that she left because she wanted to finish high school.
Read on to learn more about why Jamie Lynn Spears left the show, and her life after ‘Zoey 101’.
High School Dreams
Jamie Lynn Spears played the title character in the popular teen sitcom ‘Zoey 101’, which aired from January 9, 2005 to May 2, 2008.
Spears told Glamour that once shooting had wrapped up for the final season, she “just wanted to go home to Louisiana and finish high school, be a cheerleader”. She later reiterated this in a comment on her Instagram, telling a fan that she went back home to finish high school and “was going to pursue movies”.
The series’ creator, Dan Schneider, confirmed that the last season of the show was shot in summer 2007 and wrapped up in August. At this point none of the production crew were aware of Spears’ pregnancy, and wouldn’t learn of it until a few weeks later.
Schneider added, “Zoey 101 ended for the same reasons Drake & Josh ended. The network felt they had enough episodes, and everyone involved with the show was ready to move on and do other things”.
The show had simply run its course, and the child actors involved were moving on to different things. For Spears, this meant high school.
It wasn’t until after the show had wrapped and Spears had moved back home that she learnt of her pregnancy with her then-boyfriend, Casey Aldridge, whom Spears described as her “first love”.
It was in an exclusive interview with OK! Magazine that Spears revealed her pregnancy, after discussing her situation with her parents. She said, “I can’t say it was something I was planning to do right now, but now that it’s in my lap and that it’s something I have to deal with, I’m looking forward to being the best mom I can be.”
She later told Glamour that she “wanted it to be in my words first”, acutely aware of the publicity her pregnancy would receive and wary of her fans’ reactions.
Whilst Spears was shocked by her pregnancy, she knew she had to do what was best for her, and Nickelodeon later released a statement expressing their support for the teen.
Whilst her close circle were understanding, many were not. The media were accused of glamorizing teen pregnancy, whilst Spears received a torrent of criticism from parents and fans for actions.
The impact of this public shaming was hard for Spears, and she told Glamour, “to have the world come down on a situation that was already affecting my family hugely was hard”, adding “the hateful comments hurt”.
Spears gave birth to her daughter, Maddie Briann Aldridge, on June 19, 2008 and the two clearly enjoy a very special bond, with Spears posting photos of the pair frequently on Instagram.
Life After ‘Zoey 101’
Spears and Casey Aldridge wouldn’t stay together in a relationship long-term, but she began raising her daughter and pursued a music career in Nashville, releasing an EP in 2014.
Her return to the screen came in 2019 when she was cast in the Netflix series ‘Sweet Magnolias’ and she’s since made a couple of guest appearances back on her childhood network, Nickelodeon, for ‘Zoey 101’ reunions – it’s like she never left!
Watch the ‘Zoey 101’ cast reunite virtually to reveal their set secrets, in the YouTube video below.