Britney Spears: People Don't Know the Real Me
In an interview with PopJustice.com the singer opens up about bedtime (she hits the hay at 10:30 p.m.), gray hairs (she has zero) and what she'd be doing if she weren't one of the most famous people on the planet ("I'd probably be a teacher," she says. "I'd specialize in reading and history.").
But when it comes to the real person behind the pop star, Spears believes most people only know about "half."
"I can be pretty guarded with my personal life and I've learned that's okay," Spears, 29, says. "I think your personal life is your personal life, and that should stay private."
And keeping people guessing, she says, is part of her job. "Sometimes it's our secrets that define us," she says.
But it's no secret that Spears has had a wild ride in the music industry. So what would she do if her boys – Sean Preston, 5½, and Jayden James, 4½ – followed in her footsteps and pursued pop superstardom?
"I'd definitely keep an eye on them, but if that's what they wanted to do then I'd let them go after it. I'd just be very protective," she says. "I wouldn't want them to go into it feeling fearful, and also nobody can really prepare you for this industry and what you experience, so I'd just have to trust that they have the instincts to know what's right and wrong and help guide them along the way."
Learning to trust her instincts is not something that came easy for Spears. "The biggest mistake I've ever made [was] to not trust my instincts," she says. "It's just about listening to your gut in different situations. I've learned to trust my instincts over the years but it definitely took time."
Spears is nominated for two awards at Sunday's MTV VMAs (where she'll be seated next to Beyonce!). For more on Spears – and all the other stars at the show – join PEOPLE.com on our live VMA blog Sunday.