Britney Spears reveals she had an abortion while dating Justin Timberlake

Pop star’s memoir is set for release on 24 October

Amber Raiken
New York
Wednesday 18 October 2023 04:31 BST
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Britney Spears has revealed that she had an abortion during her relationship with Justin Timberlake, who she dated from 1998 to 2002.

The singer, 41, made the revelation in her upcoming memoir, The Woman in Me, which will be released on 24 October. In an excerpt obtained by People, Spears wrote about her decision to get an abortion after she became pregnant while dating Timberlake.

“It was a surprise, but for me, it wasn’t a tragedy. I loved Justin so much. I always expected us to have a family together one day. This would just be much earlier than I’d anticipated” she wrote about the pregnancy. “But Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young.”

While opening up about her decision to get the abortion, she implied that she did so because that NSYNC frontman had wanted her to. “I’m sure people will hate me for this, but I agreed not to have the baby. I don’t know if that was the right decision,” she wrote in the excerpt. “If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it. And yet Justin was so sure that he didn’t want to be a father.”

“To this day, it’s one of the most agonising things I have ever experienced in my life,” Spears said.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Timberlake and Spears for comment.

Timberlake and Spears were in a highly-publicised relationship for three years, after meeting on the set of the All-New Mickey MouseClub in 1992. They first went public with their romance in 1999, before they were spotted at multiple events together, including the iconic moment when they wore matching denim outfits to the 2001 American Music Awards.

The pair officially broke up in 2002, shortly after NSYNC released their hit tune, “Cry Me a River”. At the time, the music video for the song – which featured a woman with blonde hair - sparked rumours that he and Spears broke up because she allegedly cheated on him.

However, Timberlake opted not to address cheating speculation in 2002, while revealing during an interview with Barbara Walters that he and Spears agreed not to not to “say specifically why” they went their separate ways.

“We’re not perfect. I don’t judge anybody. It’s just young love. It was a very intense relationship, that’s for sure,” he said at the time.

The following year, Spears opened up about the breakup in an interview with Diane Sawyer. When Sawyer asked her what she had done wrong in the relationship, the “Toxic” singer said: “I think everyone has a side of their story to make them feel a certain way… and I’m not technically saying he’s wrong, but I’m not technically saying he’s right either.”

Since their split, the two singers have gone on to have separate relationships. Timberlake married actor Jessica Biel in 2012 and they have two sons: Silas, eight, and Phineas, two. Meanwhile, Spears went on to have two children - Sean 18, and Jayden, 17 - with her now ex-husband, Kevin Federline. She married fitness instructor Sam Asghari in June 2022, but the pair announced their divorce in August of this year.

Over the years, Timberlake has continued to reflect on his relationship with Spears. Following the release of the 2021 Framing Britney documentary, which addressed some of the public scrutiny that Spears faced during the 2000s, Timberlake came under criticism for the way he acted after the breakup.

He later issued an apology to Spears on Instagram, writing: “I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond. 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. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”

In June 2021, he also shared his support for Spears after she testified publicly in a bid to end her conservatorship, which was controlled by her father, Jamie Spears. The conservatorship officially came to an end in November 2021, after 13 years.

“After what we saw today, we should all be supporting Britney at this time. Regardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long ago it was,” Timberlake wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “What’s happening to her is just not right. No woman should ever be restricted from making decisions about her own body.”

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