You mightn’t remember the name – Chris Crocker – but you definitely remember the face.
We all saw it back in 2007, in the early days of Youtube, when one of the first-ever viral videos featured a bizarre and emotional rant from an androgynous young man, pleading into the camera, imploring the public to just leave Britney alone.
Spears, that is. For those who’ve forgotten, Britney had a bit of a public meltdown around that time, pulling bizarre public stunts like impulsively shaving off her famous golden locks. The bald look didn’t really suit her, everyone seemed to agree.
The tabloids couldn’t get enough of Britney’s seeming downward spiral, and people couldn’t look away, even as the public became concerned that she could die. And in the end, she was hospitalized, and largely lost control of her life when her father was awarded a life-long conservatorship of her estate.
In the midst of all this, there was one lone voice of sanity, begging us to just leave her alone to sort herself out. And while Chris Crocker may have been absolutely right, at the time he became a spectacle unto himself, entering the annals of internet history with one of the first truly viral videos by a Youtube uploader:
Most of us who saw the video would probably guess that the years had not been kind to Crocker. After all, he seemed to be pretty unstable at the time. And however you feel about his unconventional style at the time, it might not have aged well if he’d stuck with it.
Now, a decade later, Crocker is nearly thirty (he was nineteen at the time). And he’s opening up publicly about the circumstances that led to his infamous monologue. It seems that Crocker was going through a rough patch at the time, with his Mom just having returned from Iraq, after which she battled substance abuse and ended up homeless.
In that context, Crocker was particularly sensitive about people mocking a woman’s public meltdown:
But you’ll be glad to know that’s all in the past for Crocker. He seems to have fully overcome whatever emotional issues he was having at the time. After all, he was just nineteen. Most of us go through something or other around that time. By the looks of his Twitter and Instagram accounts, Crocker is now happy and well-adjusted.
But you’re probably still wondering what he looks like now. It’s safe to say that if you saw this man on the street, you would have no idea you were looking at the “Leave Britney Alone” guy:
Looking good, Chris. As they always say: it gets better.