"From Tears to Triumph," OK!, May 2, 2016
“From Tears to Triumph,” OK!, May 2, 2016

Everywhere you turn, there are signs of `90s nostalgia: A Friends frenzy thanks to Netflix, the Full House reboot, Hill & Bill and all their drama, and talk of a dot-com bubble. But the best evidence we’re in a full-tilt Gen Y moment was the anxiously awaited Britney Spears’ Billboard Music Awards performance. The pop icon received the BMA’s Millennium Award (past recipients include Whitney Houston and Beyoncé) and performed a set from her Vegas show, which is already a must-see moment for thirtysomething women. The show settled a recent gossip cover showdown that depicted Spears as either a hot mess or better than ever.  And the fact is you would have to be a bit of a bitch not to be rooting for Britney right now. She wasn’t just a star behaving badly when she dove head-shaved-first into tabloid sensationalism. She was suffering from an undiagnosed bipolar disorder, surrounded by show-biz cling-ons who were manipulating her, and woefully unable to care for two small children, herself, or a multi-million dollar fortune. As the top music editor of People at the time, I had an all-access pass to her leading a trail of paparazzi on crazy car chases to Malibu and back, or her Frappuccino-fueled step-and-repeats outside every single San Fernando Valley Starbucks. When it became apparent to myself and my colleagues just how ill she was in late fall 2007, the publication pulled back from covering most of her activities until January 2008, when her parents stepped in, hospitalized her, and confirmed to the world she was suffering from mental health issues. Recently, a story in Us raised questions about her father Jamie’s continued role in her life (as well as his over $120,000-a-year salary), quoting a New York Times piece that explored the strict conservatorship the 34-year-old has lived under since those dark days. The courts will one day soon decide whether Britney’s back, but there’s no denying she and her family have coped with a paralyzing disorder, making her a role model in a way we never thought possible in 1996. That’s what you call being stronger than yesterday.   Maggie Murphy, Editorial Director                                                                           @ThatMaggieM