After living under the radar in recent years, relatively speaking, Britney Spears is coming back in a big way, debuting as a judge on "The X Factor" alongside Demi Lovato, Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid on the show's season premiere next Wednesday.
She's also the cover girl of the October issue of ELLE magazine where the glamour-girl-turned-bad-girl-turned-mom says she's really just a "tomboy at heart."
"I love my jeans and my sweats…" she tells ELLE, while posing in a studded leather Versace dress on the cover and a Jason Wu blue leather jacket, satin bra and crystal bloomers inside the magazine. "So it's really hard for me to be like Kim Kardashian and be makeup- and hair-ready every time I go out of my house."
"I'm not a believer in that, you know?" she says. "On the other hand, when you do wear those sweats, you're like, 'Oh God, I should step it up a notch."
Spears, 30, has lived under the public eye since gaining fame as a Mousketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club as a tween in the 1990s. She was hospitalized in Los Angeles in 2008 after suffering a psychological breakdown which included shaving her head and slashing a tire with an umbrella in front of photographers.
When she signed on with "The X-Factor" in May, for a rumored $15 million, critics wondered whether she was ready to be back in the spotlight. Spears reportedly walked out, along with the other judges, of one audition in July and now admits she too was worried about the pressures of the show.
"[I was] extremely nervous," she confesses in ELLE. "I was having panic attack after panic attack."
Despite the nerves of appearing back on TV, Spears says the paparazzi and gossip that come with being in the public eye no longer faze her.
"I guess I've been under the microscope so long that I don't even pay attention to the nonsense anymore," she says. "I gave up getting upset about things people make up about me a long time ago."
Helping calm Spears, the mother of son Sean Preston, 6, and Jayden James, 5, with ex-husband Kevin Federline, is her fiancé of 10 months, Jason Trawick, also her former agent and, since April, the co-conservator with her father, Jamie, of her multi-million dollar estate.
Trawick, 40, was interviewed by ELLE alongside Spears and spilled the beans on how the two, who have yet to set a wedding date, first met.
"It was kind of one of those things where she moved, like, turned around, so we were face-to-face and then…," he said, hinting that she made the first move, until Britney interjected.
"Okay, that's enough information, sweetie. It was sweet, just say that," Spears says, interrupting him.
The ELLE October issue hits newsstands September 18.