Justin Timberlake Broke Up With Britney Spears Over Text Message, She Claims in New Memoir

Even Britney Spears has been subjected to the dreaded text message breakup, according to her upcoming memoir, The Woman in Me.

In the book (which The New York Times obtained ahead of its set October 24 publication date) Spears writes that former boy band member Justin Timberlake, whom she dated from 1999 to 2002, initiated their breakup over text message, leaving her “devastated.” Meanwhile, the media, she writes, portrayed her as a “harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy” though she was actually “comatose in Louisiana, and he was happily running around Hollywood.”

She first met as Timberlake when they costarred as Mouseketeers on Disney’s reboot of The Mickey Mouse Club and even shared a kiss during a childhood game of truth or dare, years before they’d captivate the public with their relationship, matching denim outfits, and ultimate, highly publicized, breakup.

She described the plot of Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” music video, released post-breakup in 2002 as, “a woman who looks like me cheats on him and he wanders around sad in the rain.” The song was a single off of Timberlake’s first post-’NSync solo album, Justified. And if the man that the newsboy-capped Britney avatar is involved with looks a bit like Wade Robson, choreographer for both Spears and ’NSync, and a long-rumored paramour of Spears, that’s no coincidence either: Spears reportedly writes in the memoir that she kissed Robson while she and Timberlake were dating after hearing rumors that Timberlake had been unfaithful.

After the breakup, Spears writes that she felt was pressured by her father and her management team into a now infamous interview with Diane Sawyer in 2003, where the journalist asked her in scandalized tones “what happened to your clothes?!” and asked her “what did you do” to Timberlake.

“I think everyone has a side of their story and to make them feel a certain way, to make them feel. I’m not technically saying he’s wrong, but I’m not technically saying he’s right, either,” Spears answered when Sawyer said Timberlake implied that she had “betrayed their relationship.”

In the memoir, she reflects on the interview and its fallout.

“I felt like I had been exploited,” she writes, according to the Times, “set up in front of the whole world.” She called it a “breaking point.”

At one point in the interview, she begins to cry and mutters, “Strong, Britney!” to herself. She says she’s embarrassed and asks to stop the interview, her face crumpling.

Robson now has a life coaching and mentorship business, in addition to still working as a choreographer. The Australian got his start as a five-year-old, when he won a dance competition and met Michael Jackson, whom he claimed sexually abused him for years. In 2019, he spoke publicly about it in the documentary Leaving Neverland.

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