ET exclusively learned that Sam filed for divorce on Aug. 16, just hours after news broke that the couple had split. According to TMZ, who was first to report the separation, the pop princess and her longtime other half called it quits after an argument involving cheating allegations.
“It’s only a matter of time before Sam files for divorce,” a source told the outlet, which also reported that Sam had already moved out of Britney’s Thousand Oaks home after accusing her of infidelity.
A source told ET that Britney and Sam “have had issues on and off as a couple since before they were married.”
“Their issues tend to get worse when they are away from each other and spending time apart,” the source continued. “Britney has the tendency to feel like she isn’t being prioritized by Sam at times. Their arguments have led them to become unhappy at times in their relationship. They are also on different pages when it comes to their future as a couple, which has been a point of contention.”
Meanwhile, another source added that “Sam feels like he has gone above and beyond to support Britney and be there for her and it is never enough.”
Yet another source confirmed the split to ET, saying Britney was “adamant” that she didn’t cheat on Sam. “The two haven’t gotten along for a while and it finally came to an end after a major blowup,” the source added.
Here’s a look at the couple’s relationship — which began on the set of Britney’s “Slumber Party” video back in 2016 — and their ups and downs throughout the years.
Britney met Sam when he played the love interest in the music video for “Slumber Party.” In fact, Sam revealed to ET, he was handpicked by the singer herself after starring in Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home” music video.
“My first one was ‘Work From Home’ from Fifth Harmony, and now Britney Spears, the Princess of Pop, is calling me wanting me to play the love interest of [her music video],” he excitedly recalled at the time. “I said, ‘Why not? Let me give it a shot.'”
He was in such high demand to star in the video that he didn’t even have to audition. “It was a direct book,” Sam shared. “A good friend of mine was working on the music video at the time. They told the casting director to cast this guy and then they sent my pictures to [Britney] and she picked it. ‘I want this guy’ — and so that’s how it was.”
It wasn’t long before Sam received another phone call, but this time it was to get some sushi with Britney. “We talked at the music video [and] we talked about what do you like to eat, sushi,” he remembers. “…Then text messages and next thing you know, just like a normal couple.”
The pair hit it off immediately, and by 2019, Sam was already hearing wedding bells.
“Absolutely,” he told ET when asked whether he saw marriage in his future with the singer. “This is something that every couple should do. That’s the whole point of a relationship — we are a family.”
“My sisters love her, my family loves her,” he shared, adding that he had an “absolutely amazing” relationship with Britney’s sons.
IN THE PUBLIC EYE
2021 saw the release of the New York Times‘ documentaries Framing Britney Spears and Controlling Britney Spears, which cast a larger spotlight on the singer’s mental health, media image and conservatorship battle with her father, Jamie Spears. Amid the increased attention, Sam was by Britney’s side.
“I have always wanted nothing but the best for my better half, and will continue to support her following her dreams and creating the future she wants and deserves,” Sam told ET in February 2021. “I am thankful for all of the love and support she is receiving from her fans all over the world, and I am looking forward to a normal, amazing future together.”
He also took to his Instagram Story to speak out against Jamie.
“Now it’s important for people to understand that I have zero respect for someone trying to control our relationship and constantly throwing obstacles in our way,” Sam wrote at the time. “In my opinion Jamie is a total d**k.”
“I won’t be going into detail because I’ve always respected our privacy but at the same time I didn’t come to this country to not be able to express my opinion and freedom,” he continued.
In one of her conservatorship hearings, Britney addressed the Los Angeles court by phone, saying that she wanted to end the restrictive control over her life so that she could marry Sam and have another child.
“I would like to move progressively forward,” Britney stated. “I want to have the real deal. I want to be able to get married and have a baby.”
“I was told right now, in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby. I have an IUD [intrauterine device] inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant,” she continued. “I wanted to take the IUD out, so I can start trying to have a baby. But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out, because they don’t want me to have children, any more children.”
“I’m tired of feeling alone,” she admitted. “I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does by having a child, a family, any of those things. And more so.”
“I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough. It’s enough and it makes no sense at all … I’m done,” Britney said, accusing her father and those involved in her conservatorship of “criminal” behavior. “I want to sue my family, to be totally honest with you.”
FINALLY FREE TO MARRY
“Look at that. Do you like it?” Sam asks in the video, as the couple shows off the ring.
“Yes!” Britney yells back excitedly.
“I can’t f**king believe it ???????!!!!!!” Britney captioned the post, as fans shared their well wishes for the couple in the comments.
Britney’s conservatorship was officially terminated on Nov. 12, 2021, and ET spoke with Sam less than a week later at the Los Angeles premiere of House of Gucci.
“She’s doing great, I’m great, this is the happiest time of our lives,” he shared, beaming. “We’re just enjoying it!”
As for their upcoming wedding, Sam said he was leaving the plans up to his bride-to-be.
“It’s up to her. She’s wearing the pants now!” he laughed, though he did admit, “I want the biggest wedding in the world!”
In April 2022, Britney confused fans for a moment when she shared a rambling Instagram post which seemed to double as a pregnancy announcement.
“I lost so much weight to go on my Maui trip only to gain it back ???????????? … I thought ‘Geez … what happened to my stomach???’ My husband said ‘No you’re food pregnant silly ? !!!'” Britney wrote.
“So I got a pregnancy test … and uhhhhh well … I am having a baby ??,” she continued. ” … 4 days later I got a little more food pregnant ????? It’s growing!!! If 2 are in there … I might just loose it ??????”
Shortly after, Sam shared his own Instagram post that seemed to confirm the happy news.
“Marriage and kids are a natural part of a strong relationship filled with love and respect,” he captioned an illustration of two lions with a cub in between them. “Fatherhood is something I have always looked forward to and I don’t take lightly. It is the most important job I will ever do.”
The couple’s excitement was heartbreakingly short-lived. Just a month later, the couple took to social media to share that they had lost their “miracle baby.”
“It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that we have lost our miracle baby early in the pregnancy,” their joint post read. “This is a devastating time for any parent. Perhaps we should have waited to announce until we were further along, however we were overly excited to share the good news.”
“Our love for each other is our strength,” the statement continued. “We will continue trying to expand our beautiful family. We are grateful for all of your support. We kindly ask for privacy during this difficult moment.”
Sam later took to his Instagram Story to share his appreciation for fans’ condolences, saying that he and Britney are “moving forward” with their future.
“We have felt your support,” he wrote. “We are taking things positively and moving forward with our future. It’s hard, but we are not alone. Thank you for respecting our privacy.”
MARRIED AT LAST
Britney and Sam tied the knot in an intimate wedding at Britney’s California home on June 9, 2022. The wedding was attended by fellow stars including Selena Gomez, Paris Hilton, Madonna, Drew Barrymore, and Donatella Versace, who designed Britney’s custom gown.
“Wow !!! Holy holy crap !!! WE DID IT !!! WE GOT MARRIED ???? !!!” Britney wrote on Instagram, sharing a pic of the couple in their wedding day finest. “It was the most spectacular day !!! I was so nervous all morning but then at 2:00 pm it really hit me … WE’RE GETTING MARRIED ? !!! I had a panic attack and then got it together ?? ? … the crew who created our home into literally a dream castle were fantastic !!! The ceremony was a dream and the party was even better ? !!!”
“I am very ecstatic this day has come, and they are married,” the groom’s rep told ET at the time. “I know he wanted this for so long. He is so caring and supportive every step of the way. I am so grateful to have Sam in my life and can’t wait for the future they will build together.”
According to a source, Britney’s parents and sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, were not invited amid their estrangement. Her teenage sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline, Sean and Jayden, also did not attend.
“Although the boys will not be in attendance, Kevin and the boys are happy for Britney and wish her and Sam all the best going forward,” Federline’s attorney told ET in a statement at the time. “They are excited that this will be a positive development for her post-conservatorship life. Kevin and the boys want her to be happy. Hopefully this will be a key for her to be happy and remain happy going forward. They all feel that this is Britney and Sam’s day and nothing should take away from that.”
However, another ex did bring the drama to the pair’s special day. Britney’s ex-husband, Jason Alexander, tried to crash the wedding, barging his way into Britney’s home as crews put the finishing touches on the couple’s intimate wedding set.
According to video he posted on Instagram Live, Jason wreaked havoc while demanding to see Britney before he was tackled by security and ultimately arrested by Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a trespassing call. Britney was later granted a three-year restraining order against her ex, who pleaded guilty to the charges against him — including felony stalking, misdemeanor trespassing and refusing to leave private property, misdemeanor vandalism-damage, and misdemeanor battery.
“I have to wear this thing now,” Sam joked, pointing to his wedding ring when asked about life as a married man. “It’s just surreal, man. It’s been a minute, it was way overdue for us and we imagined this thing being a fairy tale and it was. We only had, like, 50 to 70 people. We wanted to just celebrate and that’s what we did.”
When asked how Britney was doing, Sam gushed, “She is amazing. She is doing great. She is my wife.”
Behind the scenes of their marital bliss and Britney’s excitement about her upcoming memoir, however, ET learned in February that there was a planned intervention to address Britney’s mental health and alleged substance abuse issues, but it did not end up happening after Britney purportedly learned about it. A source told ET that the singer has “struggled with drugs over the years,” and that family and friends grew so concerned recently that they planned an intervention. ET reached out to Britney’s rep for comment.
She seemed to address the reports in an Instagram post shortly after, writing, “This week in the news it said that I almost died and that I have a manager and ‘doctors’ !!! I don’t have a management team nor will I ever again in my life !!! I don’t have ‘medical doctors’ !!! I take Prozac for depression and that’s about it ???? !!! I’m an extremely boring person !!! It frustrates me to know that any news outlet would say any of this !!! It’s worse than a cruel joke because people actually believe this stuff and all of my efforts in getting better with my little routine of prayer and therapy seems to not count for anything when people can say things that are incredibly wrong !!!”
In another Instagram post, Britney responded to the speculation, writing, “As my hubby says it best: don’t believe everything you read!!!”
“It makes me sick to my stomach that it’s even legal for people to make up stories that I almost died … I mean at some point enough is enough !!!” she added. “I’m probably going to have to stop posting on Instagram because even though I enjoy doing it, there’s obviously a lot of people who don’t wish me well!!!”
Rumors about Britney and Sam not wearing their wedding rings started as early as March 2023, but Sam celebrated their first anniversary in June with a series of sweet Instagram posts — Britney could not as she had recently deactivated her account.
“One year married to the woman of my dreams,” Sam captioned one video of the couple’s big day. “Happy anniversary my Love.”
A source told ET in July that the pair was “doing well,” adding that “they are still very in love.”
“Sam is very supportive, comforting, and dedicated to Britney. He wants her to be happy and encourages her to be her best self,” the source said. “Communication is key in their relationship. Sam is a very active listener and provides Britney with honest, healthy, and constructive advice in an effort to grow together.”
“Sam is thrilled that Britney finally has the opportunity and freedom to speak her truth with her book,” the source said at the time. “He sees it as an opportunity for Britney to open up about what she has felt the need to address for far too long without being silenced or filtered.”
“He is confident that this will be a therapeutic experience and help her let go of many ongoing personal and professional hardships she has faced over the years,” the source added.
As for how Britney is feeling about the impending release, the source said she was “feeling excited and relieved about releasing her book.”
CALLING IT QUITS
According to TMZ, who was first to report the news, Britney and Sam split in August after an argument involving cheating allegations, and Sam had already moved out of Britney’s Thousand Oaks home at the time the news broke.
Of the split, a source told ET, “Britney and Sam have had ups and downs throughout their relationship. They have a lot of love for each other, but they also argue a lot over fundamental issues. Sometimes they feel as though each other’s needs aren’t being completely met. Recently, things took a bad turn and their arguments became more serious and real.”
A separate source told ET that Britney and Sam “have had issues on and off as a couple since before they were married.”
The source continued, “Their issues tend to get worse when they are away from each other and spending time apart. Britney has the tendency to feel like she isn’t being prioritized by Sam at times. Their arguments have led them to become unhappy at times in their relationship. They are also on different pages when it comes to their future as a couple, which has been a point of contention.”
Meanwhile, another source added, “Sam feels like he has gone above and beyond to support Britney and be there for her and it is never enough.”
Later that same day, on Aug. 16, ET exclusively learned that Sam had filed for divorce.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
As the divorce proceedings begin to move forward, allegations of infidelity seem to be taking center stage.
Sources told TMZ at the time of the split that the decision came after Sam confronted Britney over rumors that she had been unfaithful.
When a source confirmed the split to ET, they added that Britney was “adamant” that she didn’t cheat on Sam. “The two haven’t gotten along for a while and it finally came to an end after a major blowup,” the source added.
Following his divorce filing, however, another source told ET that, “Sam believes that Britney cheated on him. He believes he caught her in a lie and it caused him to be done with the relationship.”
Meanwhile, a third source told ET that Britney “has not been doing well” amid the split.
“She has been denying any cheating allegations and going through a lot of emotions,” the source said. “She is hurt because the situation brings up old feelings for her. This is the last thing she needed, especially after her boys moved to Hawaii, being worried about the fires there, and so on.
“She has been trying to get back on her feet and be healthy emotionally, physically, and mentally. Britney has people by her side and her immediate circle is there for her. They are rallying around her.”