Jocelyn, the lead character on The Idol, isn’t based on Britney Spears, as the character’s performer and co-creator Sam Levinson has revealed. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why people could have believed this to be the case.

Firstly, the Baby One More Time singer herself caused a bit of confusion all the way back in 2021 when the show was still in development. At the time, she took to Instagram to write: “I just shot a movie titled THE IDOL… it’s guaranteed to have hits and a lot of bright pics to put in my beautiful family’s faces.”

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Many people connected the dots because she said this at the same time as rumors of The Idol TV show were spreading. According to sources speaking to TMZ, Spears had “not been asked to be a part of the HBO show, and her team is unsure as to what movie she’s referring to in her caption.” It appears, however, that they were unrelated.

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Jocelyn’s tale is similar to Britney’s in that she is under pressure from her ruthless management team and fictitious pals to perform and earn money at the expense of her own mental health.

Among the many comments suggesting The Idol is a Spears story, one fan wrote: “From watching The Idol, I feel like Britney Spears was an inspiration for The Idol’s main character. Her father/husband was a version of Abel’s character. She was the hottest and biggest pop star of the late 90s/2000s; but was surrounded by the worst characters in the industry.”

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A Vanity Fair reporter says the choreography is like a “homage to Britney,” to which Jocelyn’s publicist responds (in typical PR style): “I think what Britney and Jocelyn have gone through is really unique but, ultimately, universal, you know? Look at what she’s overcome, you know, the press has been brutal. But Britney as well, people count them out, and this is Jocelyn saying I will not be written off.”

The actress cleared things up in a chat with ExtraTV where she was asked if The Idol is based on Britney, to which Lily-Rose Depp replied: “No, it’s not based on anyone in particular. We’re definitely not trying to tell anyone else’s story, but definitely create one of our own… This is a fictional character and fictional story.”