While advance quotes and video clips from the upcoming MTV documentary Britney: For the Record have been slowly leaking out, on Thursday PEOPLE had an official sneak preview of the revealing chronicle of three months in the life of Britney Spears.
Among what's in store: The riveting, 90-minute documentary kicks off at Spears's home on the morning of the MTV Video Music Awards, with her tank-top-clad dad, Jamie, in the kitchen making his daughter cheese grits (with Velveeta) as she preps for the show. In the kitchen, her manager, Larry Rudolph, proclaims it "the official beginning of the comeback."
Though Spears says she doesn't like the word "comeback," she admits, "I had totally lost my way, lost focus, lost myself."
Loneliness Led to Wrong Choices
Early in the film – which premieres on MTV Sunday, Nov. 30, two days prior to the release of her new CD, Circus – the pop star, 26, explains why she agreed to let a camera crew follow her: "I wasn't being seen in the light that I wanted to be seen in. ... There's a lot that people don't know about me."
Spears takes topics ranging from her failed romances with Justin Timberlake and Kevin Federline ("I never really faced it, and I just ran," she says of divorcing him) to why she let "bad people" into her life. Her excuse: "Because I was lonely."
At one point, Spears – whose father has permanent legal conservatorship over her affairs – bursts into tears while discussing her situation. "It's bad," she says. "I'm sad."
Misses the 'Excitement'
Later, she complains that her life is "too in-control. There's no excitement. There's no passion."
The cameras follow Spears to New York City, where she meets with execs from her record label, goes shopping (she picks out a blouse and calls it "very Katie Holmes") and sees the Broadway musical In the Heights – all the while being hounded by photographers who she says cramp her style.
"I was a pretty cool chick," she says, "and I'm really not that way anymore."
Still, she tries to keep things in perspective. "I think, it could be a lot worse. … People have it a lot worse than I do."