Britney Spears Writes of Having Abortion While Dating Justin Timberlake



The pop star included the detail in her upcoming memoir “The Woman in Me”; Timberlake did not immediately respond.

Justin Timberlake, in a shiny black jacket and open-collared shirt, and Britney Spears, in a satiny dress or blouse.
Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears in 2001.Credit…Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Britney Spears wrote in her much-awaited memoir that she had an abortion during her relationship with Justin Timberlake, according to excerpts released Tuesday by People Magazine.

“Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy,” the excerpt reads, according to People. “He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young.”

Representatives for Timberlake did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Spears and Timberlake dated for a few years starting when she was 17 and he was 18, generating a tabloid frenzy as they made their ascents as two of the defining pop stars of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Their relationship became subject to public scrutiny again in 2021, after a New York Times documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” included a re-examination of the world’s reaction to their breakup, which was framed in the media as being Spears’s fault — partly because a music video by Timberlake implied that Spears had cheated on him. Without going into detail, Timberlake apologized to Spears in an Instagram post, saying that he had “failed” her.

The memoir, called “The Woman in Me” and slated for release next week, is Spears’ first in-depth account of her life and career and is being published in the aftermath of her release from a legal conservatorship that governed her life for more than 13 years.

The collection of excerpts released so far recall the heady days leading up to her getting a record deal at 15, her inner monologue as she held a live snake in the famous moment at the 2001 Video Music Awards, and her loss of passion for performing while under the strictures of the conservatorship, which was instituted amid a series of public struggles in 2007 and 2008.

“I would do little bits of creative stuff here and there, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore,” the excerpt read. “As far as my passion for singing and dancing, it was almost a joke at that point.”

The end of the conservatorship nearly two years ago was preceded by waves of outrage from fans who called themselves the #FreeBritney movement and held rallies in Los Angeles for the end of the legal arrangement, which was largely overseen by her father, James P. Spears.

Since it ended, Spears, 41, has gotten married, separated from her husband and released two singles; she has shared bits of her rage about the conservatorship in Instagram posts, but her memoir will include the most significant — and organized — insights yet into her thoughts on the ways in which the minutiae of her life were under others’ control even as she worked as an international pop star.

In the excerpts released so far, Spears rewinds back to her days as a preteen in “The Mickey Mouse Club” — recalling a truth-or-dare kiss with Timberlake, a fellow cast member — and to coming close to being cast as the lead opposite Ryan Gosling in “The Notebook,” a role that ultimately went to Rachel McAdams.

She recalls her childhood growing up with parents that she would later blame for exerting too much control over her life, telling a story about how her mother, Lynne Spears, would let her drink cocktails as an eighth grader. And she discusses the constant pressures surrounding her body, writing how, during the conservatorship years, her father “repeatedly” told her that she “looked fat and that I was going to have to do something about it.”

“I’d been looked up and down, had people telling me what they thought of my body, since I was a teenager,” one excerpt said. “Shaving my head and acting out were my ways of pushing back. But under the conservatorship I was made to understand that those days were now over. I had to grow my hair out and get back into shape. I had to go to bed early and take whatever medication they told me to take.”

Spears’ had privately pushed for years to end the conservatorship, but she left no doubts about her position in 2021, when she told a judge in Los Angeles that the arrangement was “abusive,” saying that she was forced to work when she didn’t want to and prevented from removing her birth control device when she wanted to have more children. Her father has long maintained that the conservatorship had always been intended to protect his daughter from exploitation.

The memoir pushes back fiercely on the idea of that the conservatorship was for her own good: She writes, according to an excerpt, that the arrangement made her into a kind of “child-robot,” a shadow of her former self, asserting that male artists had mismanaged their money and dealt with substance abuse problems without being treated as she had.

“There was no way to behave like an adult, since they wouldn’t treat me like an adult, so I would regress and act like a little girl,” one of the excerpts said, “but then my adult self would step back in — only my world didn’t allow me to be an adult.”



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