Long before Jamie Lynn Spears wrote and sang country music, she starred in Nickelodeon's hit series Zoey 101. But, at the height of her acting career in 2007, Spears' life changed dramatically.
Only 16 at the time, Spears' life was sent spinning after the results she saw on the home pregnancy test she took in a gas station bathroom.
"It was scary – I couldn't believe it," Spears told PEOPLE in a new interview.
Jamie Lynn and her then-boyfriend kept the news to themselves before sharing it with close family in the fall and going public in December. "My biggest concern was, 'Oh my goodness, I need to tell my mother and father and my family,'" she says.
There was also a great deal of pressure on her to be a role model. "I was on a Nickelodeon show, so I felt responsible for what these young girls were gonna think looking up to me," Spears said. "I put myself in an adult situation, so I needed to handle it like an adult. My age was never an excuse for me."
Spears was determined to be the best mother that she could be. For her that meant getting out of the spotlight and hiding away in her Mississippi home.
"I needed to step away from the noise of the world and just focus on growing up and becoming the best mother," says now 25-year old Spears.
Maddie Briann was born on June 19, 2008. Two years later, Jamie Lynn and Maddie's father separated.
"We tried to do the right thing, but it ultimately wasn't the right thing for our forever," says Spears of the split. "It just wasn't the the healthiest situation for any of us. So accepting that and moving forward and working on myself allowed me to be open to finding the right person."
Several years later, Spears decided it was time to step back into the entertainment career she left behind. But, this time she wanted to pursue music. The Zoey 101 star moved to Nashville where she found a passion for writing and singing country music. She made her Grand Ole Opry debut earlier this year, and penned a gold-certified single, "I Got The Boy", for Jana Kramer. In addition, she will be sharing her story in a TLC documentary titled Jamie Lynn Spears: When the Lights Go Out, set to air on June 26.
Despite her career successes, Spears considers her daughter her greatest success.
"She's got such a sweet little heart," Spears says of 8-year old Maddie. "I feel like I've raised her with a lot of honesty, but I've also raised her with a lot of love. She's a very happy, content little girl, and there's nothing more a parent could ask for. That's my most proud accomplishment out of anything and always will be."
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