"I've made the very difficult decision not to return for another season. I had an incredible time doing the show and I love the other judges and I am so proud of my teens but it's time for me to get back in the studio," Spears said in a press release Friday.
After being paid a reported $15 million for judging the second season of the Fox singing competition Spears said she wanted to focus on her eighth album.
"Watching them all do their thing up on that stage every week made me miss performing so much," the 31-year-old pop star said. "I can't wait to get back out there and do what I love most."
Spears joins L.A. Reid in quitting before the X Factor's third season.
But sources close to the reality show suggest that the two judges both quit in order to avoid being fired.
MTV News reported that a source had confirmed Spears "quit the show because she knew she would not be asked to return for this fall’s third season.”
Meanwhile, RadarOnline reported that record producer Reid had also wanted to beat Fox to the punch.
"A pro knows when to take the lead and make his own exit first," an insider told RadarOnline.
The same source told RadarOnline that Fox executives had met with Simon Cowell over the holidays to discuss Season Three's judging panel and Spears' name had not come up.
"It's pretty hard to quit a show you weren't being asked back to," another source allegedly told E! News.
No word yet who will fill the now vacant judging spots on X Factor.