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CNN People in the News

Profiles of Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears and Alanis Morissette

Aired August 06, 2005 - 17:00   ET


GERRI WILLIS, CNN ANCHOR: PEOPLE IN THE NEWS in a moment, but first, here's what's happening now in the news.
Rushing to the rescue, a British robotic undersea vehicle is expected at any moment at a staging site in the Pacific. Seven Russians are trapped in a stranded mini-submarine on the ocean floor. Russian rescue crews have moved cables under the sub, and are trying to raise it. We'll have live reports from the Pentagon and Moscow. That's coming up at 6:00 Eastern.

And tragedy off the coast of Sicily today. Rescue crews are searching for missing passengers after a Tunis Air flight reported engine trouble and went down in the sea. Almost two dozen passengers have been rescued, but more than a dozen others died.

And a fierce critic of the Iraq war, former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has died. Cook was on an outing with his wife, walking on a mountain in northern Scotland today, when he collapsed. He was air-lifted to a hospital in Inverness, where he was pronounced dead.

I'll be back with more headlines at the half hour. PEOPLE IN THE NEWS starts right now.


ANNOUNCER: Coming up on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, she's the struggling singer turned cultural phenomenon, thanks to reality TV. And her dad...

JOE SIMPSON, FATHER: If people could just know the heart of Jessica, they would love her.

ANNOUNCER: Now she tackles the big screen as Daisy Duke. But will rumors of a failing marriage affect her career?

PETER CASTRO, EXEC. DIRECTOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: They started to believe this stuff -- well, maybe we really are that unhappy.

ANNOUNCER: From the heartland to Hollywood, to hit TV, Jessica, Ashlee and Joe Simpson.

Then, from the moment we met her, she had our attention.

BRITNEY SPEARS, ENTERTAINER (singing): Hit me, baby, one more time. SUCHIN PAK, CORRESPONDENT, MTV NEWS: "Hit Me Baby One More Time" was mean.

ANNOUNCER: A former Mouseketeer, she quickly became...

SPEARS (singing): Not that innocent.

ANNOUNCER: After a walk down the aisle that lasted 55 hours, she's back with a new husband, and a baby on the way.

CASTRO: She's going to be a baby machine.

ANNOUNCER: From toxic temptress to stay-at-home mom? Britney Spears.

And later, the Canadian pop princess who became the voice of scorned women around the world.

RUSS BALLARD, PRODUCER: Every word, every line, every phrase was (INAUDIBLE) out of her soul.

ANNOUNCER: Her U.S. debut was one of the best-selling albums of all time. But stardom came at a price.

ALANIS MORISSETTE, SINGER: I was in survival mode, so I just kept my head down the whole time.

ANNOUNCER: The soul-searching journey of Alanis Morissette.

Now from the pages of "People" magazine and the network for news, some of the most fascinating PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.


PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi, everyone. Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. From choir girl to bombshell, Jessica Simpson has risen from pop wannabe to pop culture sensation, thanks to a litany of ditzy moments on reality TV and endless speculation about the state of her marriage to singer Nick Lachey.

Now she's starring in her first movie, as country vixen Daisy Duke in "The Dukes of Hazzard." But Jessica is just one part of the growing Simpson empire, an empire driven by her father, Joe -- a minister turned music mogul.


ZAHN (voice-over): She's the embodiment of pop star perfection, with her own rendition of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'." But take note, this is not your father's Nancy Sinatra.

CASTRO: We always knew she was pretty and sexy before, but this puts her on a whole other level of sexiness and gorgeousness.

ZAHN: But don't be fooled by the bodacious blonde singing sensation. It took more than her body and ballads to catapult her to pop star fame.

Before you heard any of her sultry vocals, you probably saw her on reality TV.

JESSICA SIMPSON, SINGER: Sit. Sit. Sit. Oh, you're already sitting.

ZAHN: Who knew that all she had to do was be herself?

JOE SIMPSON: She speaks before she thinks.

JESSICA SIMPSON: I mean, if a duck is like a chicken, why is it pink?

JOE SIMPSON: She says what's on her mind, because she has nothing to hide.

ZAHN: But after a few ditzy blonde TV moments, 25-year-old Jessica Simpson would become a phenomenon.

JESSICA SIMPSON: She's like bold-legged, the way she sits.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bow-legged. What did you call it?


LYNN SHAW, DRAMA TEACHER: I think she's just one of those people like a Lucille Ball or a Goldie Hawn that does it so well, that you just fall in love with it.

ZAHN: When she and her hubby stepped into the world of reality TV, Simpson became a household name. "Newlyweds" became MTV's most popular show. And Jessica, once a struggling singer, became a pop icon.

JOE SIMPSON: Same voice. Same girl. But now they've been introduced to her heart.

ZAHN: She graces the covers of best-selling magazines.

JESSICA SIMPSON: I got the new buffalo chicken pizza from Pizza Hut.

ZAHN: Hawks pizza and breath mints on TV commercials.


ZAHN: Oh, and let's not forget her "are they on or off?" relationship with former boy band hottie Nick Lachey.

JESSICA SIMPSON: What are you doing?

NICK LACHEY, JESSICA'S HUSBAND: I'm going to watch it in the theater room.

JESSICA SIMPSON: No, I'm going to the theater room. LACHEY: Well, then, vamoose!

ZAHN: When Nick and Jessica opened up their home and private lives on national TV, the couple became fodder for tabloids speculating on their marriage.

CASTRO: It was like this assault on their marriage. And they started to believe this stuff, and maybe we really are that unhappy. And it had a devastating effect. They would fight about it.

ZAHN: Add to the Jessica package, her famous pop rocker sis Ashlee, and you've got the ultimate marketing machine. The sisters raked in about $50 million last year.

Who's the mastermind behind the Simpson showbiz empire? Father Joe Simpson.

Simpson, once a struggling Baptist preacher and a youth minister, has become a well-known figure in the music world.

JESSICA SIMPSON: My dad likes to credit for...

ZAHN: The 47-year-old has guided his daughters' careers, transforming Jessica and Ashlee from unknowns into superstars.

BUSTER SOARIES, PROCLAIM RECORDS: He will know things that other managers and media moguls will not know. Because he has this unique connection to young people that started in his ministry in Texas at a Baptist church.

ZAHN: He was a pastor at this church in Richardson, Texas, a quiet suburb outside of Dallas, when Jessica was growing up. The preacher's daughter was a popular student, who swore off sex until marriage.

SHAW: She did not go out with the big drinkers. She did not go out with the partiers. She pretty much stayed within this group of kids. And they all had made the same pledge of abstinence.

ZAHN: Jessica sang in the church choir. When her family realized how talented she was, Joe left the ministry to become Jessica's full-time manager.

Twelve-year-old Jessica tried out for the Mickey Mouse Club in 1992, but choked when she heard another contender: Pop diva in training Christina Aguilera.

JOE SIMPSON: Jessica just happened to watch it, and it scared her to death. And she was next.

JESSICA SIMPSON: I froze in the audition. I forgot everything. And I ended up not getting it.

ZAHN: Jessica wasn't ready for Hollywood. But back home, she took the starring role in her high school production of "A Chorus Line." When she was 14, Simpson landed a recording contract with Proclaim Records, a small gospel music label. Her record was never released, though. Execs found Jessica too sexy for Christian music.

SOARIES: The two specific criticisms that I received, her dress was too short, and her gestures seemed to be too sensual.

JOE SIMPSON: Somehow double D's don't really fit on the overall picture of what works in white Christian music.

ZAHN: But Joe still tried to get Jessica's music to the masses. He borrowed $10,000 from his mother to mix Jessica's songs himself, then sold her records to churches all over Texas.

One of those demos made its way to a Columbia talent scout, and she sealed her first record deal in 1997.

Jessica dropped out of high school, and Joe moved the family to L.A. Simpson's debut album fared well, but in the late '90s, there was no shortage of pop princesses.

JESSICA SIMPSON: I signed with Columbia, and when I was 17, I hear that Britney signed with Jive, you know, the week before, and that Christina signed with RCA the week after. So it's been like this ongoing thing for me, to try to differentiate myself.

ZAHN: Jessica's follow-up album still couldn't set her apart from pop star rivals. And 2001's "The Irresistible," and later 2003's "In the Skin," fell flat.

JOE SIMPSON: We were a product of the belief that we should try to be first Mariah, and then Britney. And I was really asking for us to just be Jessica, because her gifts are not those other girls' gifts.

ZAHN: By 2002, Jessica was barely a blip in the music world. And the Simpson family was close to bankrupt, owing millions to record execs.

When we return, Joe sells Jess on her bubbleheaded charm.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Here's a trivia question. How did they make wine back in Jesus' days?

ZAHN: But could the preacher turned Hollywood stage dad push his kids too hard?

JOE SIMPSON: That's what we're set to do, the Japan loop and the Europe loop.

CASTRO: He's very resourceful. And some would say, he's shameless.


ZAHN: By the end of 2001, pop songs like "Irresistible" had branded 21-year-old Jessica Simpson just another Britney wannabe.

Though her career seemed dim, her love life lit up. She was hot and heavy with 98 Degree singer Nick Lachey. But the minister's daughter declared no hanky-panky before marriage.

LACHEY: I think we're both very happy and committed.

JESSICA SIMPSON: And it's definitely not a publicity stunt, that's for sure.

ZAHN: Nick wouldn't have to wait long. After a quick courtship, the two married in October 2002. Simpson's protective dad wasn't happy his little girl was getting hitched.

JOE SIMPSON: It had nothing to do with Nick, really had more to do with, baby, you're 22, you know. In a couple of years, you're going to go, oh, my gosh, I get it.

ZAHN: Jessica's dad eventually rallied behind the couple. But even with all the marital bliss, Jessica's career was sliding downhill.

Then, MTV approached Joe with an idea that would turn everything around. Why not chronicle the new marriage on TV?

JESSICA SIMPSON: You're going to kill me?

ZAHN: Joe convinced Jess it was the right move.

CASTRO: It was Joe Simpson who realized that he had a daughter with a floundering record career, and he had to act fast. Perhaps out of desperation, perhaps out of intuition.

It made her a household name, essentially, overnight.

ZAHN: With the phenomenal success of her TV show, Sony re- released Jessica's album "In the Skin." The same record that bombed just one year before soared to multi-platinum.

The Simpsons had achieved their dream. But Joe wasn't finished. He had another talented daughter at home.

JOE SIMPSON: When I went to MTV on Ashlee, I said, look, if we put out this record, without someone knowing who Ashlee is, they're going to kill me. Because they're going to say, oh, well, you know, she's Jessica's sister, so she's really not really talented, da-da-da.

ZAHN: But she would prove she was more than Jessica's kid sister.

Twenty-year-old Ashlee Simpson was no stranger to the spotlight before she won reality TV. She began dance lessons at the age of 4. And at 11, became the youngest person ever to be admitted to the School of American Ballet. She was a backup dancer for her older sister Jess.


ZAHN: And later, landed a recurring TV role on "Seventh Heaven." But the young actress later had music on her mind. She hired dad as her manager, and in 2003 caught the attention of Geffen Record exec Jordan Schur.

JORDAN SCHUR, GEFFEN RECORDS: Ashlee had a strong vision for what she wanted to be, and who she wanted to be. And Joe was very supportive of that.

ZAHN: Ashlee's first album, 2004's "Autobiography," debuted at a startling number one. But like her sister, it would be reality television, MTV's "The Ashlee Simpson Show," that would make her a star.

And as quick as the change of her hair color, Ashlee was transformed from Jessica's little sis to pop rock sensation. Joe Simpson had struck gold twice.

But one of his golden girls would soon be tarnished. In 2004, a media storm erupted when Ashlee got caught lip-syncing on "Saturday Night Live."

CASTRO: This was Milli Vanilli redone. And it just reminded a lot of people of that fiasco, and they came down hard on her.

ZAHN: And came down on her dad. Joe has been criticized for exposing his daughters to public scrutiny at such a young age.

CASTRO: Some people look at that and say, the guy has no scruples. He's completely unethical to do that with his kids. Other people say, good on you. Brilliant move.

ZAHN: But Joe admits the "SNL" slipup was painful for Ashlee.

JOE SIMPSON: It's a struggle for her. You know, she has said to me a number of times, daddy, you know, why did this happen to me? Daddy, do people not like me anymore?

ZAHN: Criticism aside, there's no question that Joe has helped make the Simpson family a small empire in the music industry. And now, possibly in the film industry. With the help of their dad, both daughters have ventured into movies. Joe is the executive producer of Ashlee's not yet released film, "Undiscovered."

A. SIMPSON: Working with my dad is honestly, like, amazing. And a lot of people, like, question it, like, oh, but it's your dad. But my dad has, like, such a good opinion, and I really, really trust him.

ZAHN: And Jessica is making her screen debut in the summer's much hyped "The Dukes of Hazzard."

JESSICA SIMPSON: How about a special, sir?

ZAHN: Does the onscreen success translate to success and harmony at home? The tabloids have said Nick and Jessica are all but over. Did Nick really cheat on Jess, and did Jessica fool around with co- star Johnny Knoxville on the set of "Dukes?"

The couple insists despite the rumor, everything is OK at home. And in July's "GQ" magazine, Jessica said, quote, "I really adore Johnny Knoxville. I think he's great. If people want to make that romantic, they can. But I'm married, and my husband is my romance."

So what's the deal with America's favorite couple?

CASTRO: The real deal is that they're still married. The other real deal is that they do fight. And the other third layer of that real deal is that they have had significant problems as a married couple.

ZAHN: It remains to be seen whether "The Newlyweds" will stay together. But those who know the Simpson family say, when it comes to his daughters, there's nothing Joe can't fix.

SOARIES: This whole divorce cloud that surrounds Jessica, and it's now becoming tainted by charges of infidelity, is something that Joe will manage.

ZAHN: After all, it's what the minister turned music mogul has done throughout their lives, transforming his daughters from the margins of teen pop, to mega stars, to a finely tuned marketing machine.

JOE SIMPSON: We've made a pledge to our children. If you dream the dream, I'll help you get there.


ZAHN: Joe Simpson is now working on two new reality shows, including one for son-in-law Nick, based on his attempts to sign with a record label.

As for his oldest daughter, Jessica, she has a new album, due out in November.


ANNOUNCER: Up next, from a material girl make-out to multiple marriages. This blonde keeps dropping bombshells.

LARRY HACKETT, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Her family didn't know. Her mother didn't know. Her sister was very upset. She thought she was the only one who hadn't been told.

ANNOUNCER: Now, Britney Spears goes from "Baby One More Time" to baby on the way, when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns.


ZAHN: Britney Spears isn't even into her mid-20s, and yet she's a veteran pop superstar, with fame, fortune and a tabloid history of an entertainer twice her age. Already on her second marriage, Britney now eagerly awaits the birth of her first child. Here's Kyra Phillips.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the ripe old age of 23, she's the undisputed, precociously seductive princes of pop.

CASTRO: Britney Spears became a superstar because she hit on a brilliant formula, and that was, I will be the modern-day Lolita. I will have a nation of screaming, preteen girls wanting to be me, and I will have a nation of horny old men wanting to sleep with me.

PHILLIPS: With that toxic blueprint, Britney Spears has planted herself in the pantheon of pop. She's Madonna's mini-me and the world can't get enough.

Four number one albums, 12 top 10 singles, 50 million in record sales, with a net worth estimated at $100 million. She's a headline- breaking, scandal-making, lip-locking machine.

We met Britney Spears a little more than five years ago, and from the start, her twist on the Catholic schoolgirl was wrought with controversy.

She danced with a snake, had sex with Justin Timberlake, and as the years passed, only the jaded tabloid reader would be bored. But in the fall of 2003, in the wake of her fourth album's release, Britney buzz took a turn.

JESSICA SHAW, SENIOR WRITER, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Well, before "In the Zone," the problem was, we were seeing a lot of Britney, but it was a lot of Britney in bad light. It was a lot of Britney acting out. She was flipping off the press in Mexico. She was drinking. She was smoking. She was out all night clubbing.

PHILLIPS: Then in January 2004, the biggest news of the new year, out of the zone. She's walked down the aisle, and oops, needs an annulment.

PAK: The Britney wedding, for a while, I think we all forgot that we went to war.

PHILLIPS: But the pop tart's 55-hour Vegas marriage was just the beginning of the buzz ahead.

SPEARS: Are you ready for what's next?

PHILLIPS: On September 18th, another official announcement. Yes, folks, she did it again.

JESS CAGLE, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: She shocked the world again.

HACKETT: The family didn't know. Her mother didn't know. Her sister was very upset at one point, because she thought she was the only one who hadn't been told.

PHILLIPS: And in April, just seven months after tying the knot with dancer Kevin Federline, the newlyweds let everyone in on yet another little secret.

CASTRO: Britney Spears is pregnant. There is a baby Federline on the way, and she's ecstatic. This is her ultimate goal.

PHILLIPS: She was born Britney Jean Spears on December 2nd, 1981, in the tiny southern zip code of 70444.

ALIX STRAUSS, BIOGRAPHER: Britney was born in Kentwood, Louisiana, which has a population of something like 2,400. It's very all-American. It's blue collar. It's everybody knows everybody. It's back to "The Andy Griffith Show."

PHILLIPS: Britney's father worked construction. Her mother, Lynne, taught school. Money came and went, but one thing always remained.

DARLENE HUGHES, BRITNEY'S FORMER TEACHER: Britney's voice bloomed. She was so strong, and her voice was mature and developed, and people would just stop and look with their jaw dropped.

PHILLIPS: From gymnastics to drama club. From off-Broadway to "Star Search." By the time she was 12, the House of Mouse had asked Britney to join its club.

SPEARS: Our final story is the shocker of the week...

STRAUSS: You had Keri Russell. You had Christina Aguilera. You had J.C. and Justin from 'N Sync.

SHAW: It was a very talented little gene pool going on with those Mickey Mouse ears.

PHILLIPS: And, boy, did they click.

T.J. FANTINI, FORMER DISNEY MOUSEKETEER: I was there for the first kiss. What happened was that we all decided to go over to my house, and we were hanging -- it was actually the night of the O.J. Simpson chase, and then we decided to play truth or dare, and one of the dares was for Justin to kiss Britney. And lo and behold, there was their first kiss.

PHILLIPS: But in 1995, two years into the show's run, the Mouseketeers found out they would no longer.

STRAUSS: My guess is that she was devastated. I mean, who wouldn't be? She was going back to Kentwood, Louisiana, for what? I mean, what do you go back there to?

PHILLIPS: Staying true to her roots, pop's future princess quietly resumed her life as an everyday student, and in the halls of Parklane Academy, a boy quickly caught her eye. His name was Reg Jones. A standout athlete from a prominent local family, the 18-year- old quickly became Britney's first boyfriend.

REG JONES, FORMER BOYFRIEND: I was in love. I mean, and it wasn't because she was Britney Spears. It was because she was Britney. Three years, a lot of good memories.

PHILLIPS: But the home-town romance hardly suppressed Britney's itch for the spotlight, and in the spring of 1997, the 15-year-old recorded a demo.

STRAUSS: And it was like this makeshift demo that they made at the house with a tape recorder, and they sent it to Jive Records. Jive Records really liked what they heard. They brought her in. She sang two songs for them, and they were just bowled over.

PHILLIPS: Overnight, Britney landed a contract. And before the ink was dry, she said good-bye to Reg and Kentwood, Louisiana.

Coming up, the making of an outrageous superstar. The scandals, the weddings, the albums. A baby.

FANTINI: With some of the things that I've seen and heard, if you believe it all, I'm really worried about her.



WILLIS: I'm Gerry Willis. PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns in a moment, but first, here's what's happening now in the news.

Russian rescuers have put cables underneath the mini-sub like this one that is stuck on the Pacific floor. A top Russian naval official says they're trying to pull it up to a level that's accessible to divers. Now, it's part of an international effort to save seven people on board. We're going to have live reports from Moscow and Washington at the top of the hour.

And 13 people are dead after a Tunis Air flight goes down off Italy's Sicilian coast. Rescuers were able to save 23 others, but the remaining two people on board are still missing. The plane was reportedly experiencing engine problems. It was supposed to make an emergency landing at an airport in Palermo.

And on a much lighter note, the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery bid goodbye and undocked from the International Space Station today. The shuttle is now on a course to return to Earth.

Monday morning at 4:00 a.m. Eastern, our Miles O'Brien will bring you live coverage of the shuttle's return.

More headlines in half an hour. Now, back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.


SHAW: The record label wanted the video to be this kind of space-age, Power Rangers kind of thing, and Britney was like, no way. We are not doing this. She actually came up with the idea to do the whole kind of bad Catholic school girl thing.

PHILLIPS: In October 1998, the world got its first look at a brand-new pop star, part Pollyanna, part Lolita. Britney's debut unleashed a phenomenon.

The single spawned Britney mania. And on January 12th, 1999, her first album debuted at number one. Within a month, it sold two million copies and became a global smash.

Soon Britney joined red-hot boy banders 'N Sync on their sold-out tour. It was here that she would reunite with her Mouseketeer crush, Justin Timberlake. And in the coming months, rumors of a relationship only added to the growing torrent of media coverage, a downpour which grew in intensity when she posed provocatively for "Rolling Stone" in April 1999.

SHAW: I think parents started getting a little concerned like, wait a second; this isn't the sweet little pop star we thought she was.

PHILLIPS: Twelve months and 10 million copies later, album number two.

CASTRO: People expected a sophomore slump, and that did not happen with her. If anything, the snowball got bigger.

PHILLIPS: And the controversies intensified. In May 2000, Britney's sophomore disk rocketed to number one. Adding to the craze, Britney and Justin were now living together, and preaching abstinence.

CASTRO: I think there was a point where she had, you know, not been a virgin anymore and she was still professing that. And it got to the point where it almost became a joke, like, who are you trying to kid?

PHILLIPS: Their red-hot romance would last three years, but by 2002, Britney and her boy toy were officially out of sync.

And as Justin cried himself a river, Britney announced a six- month hiatus.

SHAW: That's sort of when Britney's acting out began. The next thing you know, she's off boozing at clubs all night in Miami.

SPEARS: I made it through the wilderness...

PHILLIPS: On August 28th, 2003, Britney Spears returned, once again stealing the show at the MTV Video Music Awards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had you ever kissed a woman before?

SPEARS: No, I've never kissed a woman before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you again?

SPEARS: Would I again? Oh, no, I would not do it. Maybe with Madonna.

PHILLIPS: Album number four, "In the Zone," landed in the stores on November 18th. One toxic tune later, the 13 tracks had sold 2.5 million copies, making it the lowest-selling album of her career.

SHAW: She was topless in "Rolling Stone." She was bottomless on "Esquire," and it sold magazines, but people were also thinking, you know what, like, put on some underwear, honey.

PHILLIPS: Instead, she put on a wedding ring. On January 3rd, 2004, Britney Jean Spears became Mrs. Jason Alexander. Fifty-five hours later, what goes on in Vegas...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we just received a decree of annulment. There is no marriage now.

PHILLIPS: ... stays in Vegas.

CASTRO: I think one reason that she went through this wedding debacle is because it was some desperate way for her to reconnect to her roots. He was from Louisiana, and you know, let's do something crazy.

PHILLIPS: Speaking of doing something crazy, just nine months after wedding number one, Britney Spears was doing it again, this time with 26-year-old Kevin Federline, a Los Angeles dancer who just happened to have two children with a not-so ex-girlfriend.

In typical Britney fashion, their top secret ring swap was mirrored in her latest video, and Mrs. Federline, who released her greatest hits last November, is now working on an even bigger production. After months of rumors, Britney dropped the baby bomb on her official Web site. Some say it's just the beginning.

CASTRO: She's going to be a baby machine. And she's going to have a brood, and you know, they're going to get around Christmas trees during Christmas with Kevin's kids from his other marriage, and it's going to be one -- it's going to be a very Brady Bunch situation.

CAGLE: She is head over heels in love. She says she kissed a lot of frogs, and she finally found her prince, and she has found her happily ever after.

PHILLIPS: From teen titan to taboo temptress. The music, the marketing, the mania continues. And no doubt, for better or worse, so will Britney.


ZAHN: Britney Spears is due to give birth next month.


ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, she was queen of pomp in Canada, but her life and her music would take a dramatic turn.

MORISSETTE: I felt all these really vulnerable, angry, explosive feelings when I had been pushing them down for so long, and I think that's why they were explosive when they eventually came out.

ANNOUNCER: How Alanis Morissette found her voice and a new audience, just ahead.



ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Alanis Morissette is no stranger to controversy, but rock's angry young girl isn't so angry anymore. She's found love with actor Ryan Reynolds, and her music has evolved from those angst-ridden anthems of the '90s to more mellow and introspective tales.

She's even reinterpreted her breakthrough album, "Jagged Little Pill," releasing an acoustic version of the record that made her a star. Here again is Kyra Phillips.


PHILLIPS (voice-over): When she exploded on the music scene in 1995, Alanis Morissette was dubbed a prophet, the voice of a generation. Her "Jagged Little Pill" anything but hard to swallow.

GUY OSEARY, CEO, MAVERICK RECORDS: I didn't grow up on Carol King, but to me, this was mine. "Jagged Little Pill."

PHILLIPS: Generation X couldn't agree more, taking ownership in the blisteringly honest, sometimes X-rated album to the tune of 30 million sales. At the age of just 21, Alanis Morissette had the biggest-selling female debut of all time.

MORISSETTE: Very overwhelming, very exciting, hugely defining. Literally every two seconds, I was being given an opportunity to really define who I was, and I wasn't entirely sure who I was. So therein lay some of the struggle during those years.

PHILLIPS: A struggle that has helped define her career. From teen pop star to angst-ridden superstar, to upbeat and optimistic performer.

Now, 10 years since "Jagged's" original release, Morissette commemorates its success with an acoustic version of her career- launching album.

MORISSETTE: Now I'm able to look back and see that, you know, these very -- those were really big questions I was asking at the time, going within quite a bit. And as the years have gone on, I have just really enriched that and taken the questions even deeper.

PHILLIPS: Alanis Nadine Morissette was born on June 1st, 1974, in Ottawa, Canada, three years after brother Chad and just 12 minutes after her twin, Wade.

MORISSETTE: I grew up in a very masculine environment. So I was around a lot of men. My brothers and their friends, just a lot of guys around. We had to read half an hour a day, and we were only allowed to watch half an hour's worth of television. PHILLIPS: But movies were allowed. By 4, Alanis developed an obsession with the 1978 film, "Grease." Two years later, she took up the piano.

MORISSETTE: I started playing piano when I was 6, and I knew that I wanted to be involved in that form of expression, whether it was through music or acting or dancing, or painting or writing. You know, I was always writing all the time.

PHILLIPS: Opportunity came in the form of a local folk singer, Lindsay Morgan, a friend of the family, who made a living making music.

MORISSETTE: I thought, OK, so you can love what you do. This is exciting. So I just started writing, and I didn't think it was unusual or odd at all.

PHILLIPS: Two years later, in 1984, an audio cassette, this audio cassette, landed in Morgan's mailbox. On the tape, the rough beginnings of a song.

LINDSAY MORGAN, FRIEND: There was a line that came out, "fate, stay with me." I remember thinking, this is not just a little girl singing words. There's something there. I talked to Alanis and I said, "write some more."

I knew right then that there was something incredible here.

PHILLIPS: Her first big break came in the spring of 1985. Ten- year-old Alanis landed a role on the Canadian children's show, "You Can't Do That on Television."

Using money earned from the show, Alanis and 42-year-old Morgan formed a label. Her first single, a recorded mastered version of the song left in his mailbox.

MORISSETTE: I think we printed up 2,000 copies of it and pretty much gave all of them away. I think I sold three of them.

PHILLIPS: But finally, fate stepped in. NCA signed Alanis, and her first single, "Too Hot," debuted in 1991.

Her debut album, "Alanis," quickly went platinum. One year later, album number two, "Now Is the Time," was released. The LP, less glitz and more thoughtful. The result -- a flop.

MORISSETTE: I knew that I wouldn't stop in terms of looking for someone to collaborate with until I felt like I was being myself, whatever that was.

PHILLIPS: The wait wouldn't be long.

MORISSETTE: When I first moved to Los Angeles in 1994 and I started writing "Jagged Little Pill," I was experiencing a culture shock, I was experiencing growing into my young adulthood.

PHILLIPS: There, she was introduced to producer Glen Ballard.

MORISSETTE: I thought, wow, here's someone that I can delve into some subject matters that may offend or trigger or bother some other collaborators. Glen was embracing it. He was saying, keep on, let's do it.

PHILLIPS: And with that creative pairing, barriers collapsed. Hidden anger and frustration from the past poured out, and the music flowed freely.

MORISSETTE: It took a minute or two for me to come out of my shell. And then once I did, I thought, OK, this is who I am.

PHILLIPS: Coming up, from pop tart to queen of angst. Alanis Morissette is radically transformed by a "Jagged Little Pill."


PHILLIPS: In 1994, Alanis Morissette began a career-altering collaboration with producer Glen Ballard. Their coupling marked a raw and rugged birth of one of the biggest-selling albums of all time.

BALLARD: We were in the middle of writing another song, and for whatever reason I think we got bored or frustrated with a particular passage, and I just went to an E, and then resolved it. And she said -- sometimes. Then I went up to an F sharp minor nine. It's never quite enough.

MORISSETTE: There's a part of me that was, like, I'm sick of walking on eggshells and being...

BALLARD: And so she jumps the melody up a whole step there, which is really brilliant.

MORISSETTE: And you know, there's this inner conflict of, you know, wanting be a people-pleasing, perfect girl.

BALLARD: "Don't forget to win first place." "Don't forget to win first place," it was like, OK, I don't know what's going on here, but this is great. I mean, because she's coming up with it on the spot.

MORISSETTE: A part of me that just wanted to be authentic and raw. And you know, not -- not lie.

BALLARD: And that whole overwhelming sense of childhood started pouring down on you. I think she had encapsulated it in four bars. So it was a beautiful moment.

PHILLIPS: In the coming weeks, the album seemed to write itself. Locking themselves into the studio, 12 songs emerged -- in some cases, a song a day. And when "Jagged Little Pill" was released in June of 1995, it immediately caused a stir.

"You Ought to Know" was taken directly from Alanis' journal, a scathing ode to an ex-boyfriend. MORISSETTE: I was worried about some of the subject matter in it, and I remember Glen turning to me and saying, "is this how you feel?" And I said, "yes." And he said, "well, then don't change a damn thing."

PHILLIPS: Four Grammys later, "Jagged Little Pill" was on its way to selling 30 million copies, the biggest female artist debut of all time.

MORISSETTE: And it was so scary and so great, and I was humbled and blown away.

PHILLIPS: By the winter of 1996, the world, it seemed, had fallen head over feet for 22-year-old Alanis Morissette. The "Jagged Little Pill" tour had taken her around the world twice, but with newfound icon status bearing down upon her, pressure was building.

MORISSETTE: My life during that time was very tumultuous.





PHILLIPS: The wild ride had to stop. On December 14th, 1996, a visibly drained Alanis ended her tour, said good-bye to her fans, and set off to find herself.

JOHN ALEXANDER, FRIEND: I think she started to maybe isolate herself a little bit from some of the people she was very close to.

MORGAN: I remember her saying "I thought of walking away from it many times." It's that brutal.

PHILLIPS: With the help of yoga and Eastern spirituality, Alanis turned inward.

MORISSETTE: Got off the treadmill when I went to India, and it really allowed me to go within in a way that I've not done, and I was just filled with gratitude. I think it's a natural byproduct of stopping and really -- getting really present, and this gratitude emerges.

PHILLIPS: In January of 1988, she began to write again. She returned to Glen Ballard's studio. The angst was behind her, and a peaceful Alanis Morissette walked in.

BALLARD: When she walked in the door that day, we went right to it, and within an hour, there it was.

PHILLIPS: The album "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie," was released on November 3rd, 1998. Like "Jagged Little Pill" autobiographical, but something was different. The anger was gone, and fans didn't know what to think.

The 17-track album sold 10 million copies, just one- third of what "Jagged" had taken in.

CASTRO: Immediately, they talked about the sophomore jinx, which was rubbish. I mean, this was -- you know, if any other person had that album out at the time, they would have been deliriously happy.

PHILLIPS: But by the spring of 2002, Alanis, the singer/songwriter, returned. Her third album was written and produced entirely on her own, and aptly titled, "Under Rug Swept."

Rocketing to number one the first week in release, its debut single, "Hands Clean," immediately sparked controversy.

CASTRO: At age 14, she started dating a much older man, who she hasn't named, and it bothered her for years.

MORISSETTE: It's a song about a relationship that I was not emotionally prepared to kind of deal with at the time. So I wanted to speak the truth about it without seeking revenge of any sort, but seeking the liberation that comes from my speaking the truth.

PHILLIPS: And now, with the release of her sixth album, 31-year- old Alanis Morissette has moved beyond the restless and explosive lyricist that made her famous, to a cooler, more confident voice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her voice is clearly one of the great instruments for expressing just about anything that she may be thinking about.

MORISSETTE: I'll be writing songs until I die. There's just no question.


ZAHN: With the release of "Jagged Little Pill's" acoustic counterpart and a summer tour, Alanis Morissette is not only looking forward to spending some downtime with her new fiance; she's also getting ready to work on a new album.

That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next week, Angelina Jolie. The latest on her newly adopted daughter and her rumored relationship with fellow superstar Brad Pitt.

I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us. Hope you'll be back with us next week.