The singer recently reflected on her memorable performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, during which she sang her hit single “I’m a Slave 4 U” with an albino Burmese python draped around her neck.
On Instagram, Spears shared a series of photos taken from the awards ceremony, in which she is pictured with Mick Jagger for a red carpet interview.
The 39-year-old accompanied the post with a caption explaining how her then-boyfriend Timberlake had offered some words of encouragement in order to calm her nerves before the show.
“I will tell you this… before I went on that night I was feeling kinda out of body with nerves,” wrote the singer.
“... I mean… I was in a cage with a live lion. Justin saw I could hardly talk so he held my hand and gave me a 5 minute pep talk which obviously worked.”
The “Toxic” singer accompanied the caption with a series of emojis, including multiple red roses.
Earlier this year, following the release of Framing Britney Spears, Timberlake was criticised by fans for his “disgusting” treatment of his former partner, with whom he was in a relationship between 1999 and 2002.
One part of the documentary focused on the shocking aftermath of allegations that Spears cheated on Timberlake, whom she was dating at the time. Spears found herself at the centre of a smear campaign by the world’s media, which Timberlake fuelled with his music video for “Cry Me a River”.
“Justin sacrificed Britney’s image on the public altar to promote himself by implying that she cheated,” one viewer wrote, with another adding: “Never liked Justin Timberlake and #FramingBritneySpears proved my intuition was always right.”
Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music Sign up now for a 30-day free trialSign up
The NSYNC* star issued an apology to Spears in response to the backlash.
“I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right,” he wrote.
“I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”
He also apologised to Janet Jackson over an incident at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.
During his performance with Jackson, an infamous wardrobe malfunction caused Jackson’s breast to briefly become exposed.
Jackson seemed to suffer most of the backlash, with Timberlake facing a fraction of the blame and returning to perform at the Super Bowl for a solo halftime show in 2018.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies