You may remember the “Toxic” singer’s friendship with Madonna from their kiss during the 2003 MTV VMAs, but Spears’ connection to the legendary vocalist began long before the on-screen moment. In her memoir, Spears, 41, talked about her relationship with Madonna, 65, in conjunction with a time in her life when she felt hopeless and lost amid the fame and recognition.
The two stars had been a part of a collective of artists that attended several of the same European award shows. Their friendship progressed over the years. However, when the “I’m a Slave 4 U” creator ended her relationship with NSYNC singer Justin Timberlake, Madonna went from Spears’ acquaintance to her “mentor”.
Promptly after her very public split, Spears was portrayed as a villain, having been accused of cheating on Timberlake by her ex himself in his “Cry Me a River” music video. She proceeded to move into Cher’s New York City apartment, thus beginning an time of sadness for the sought-after celebrity.
Spears shielded herself from the outside world with one exception – Madonna. She explained in her memoir how the “Material Girl” artist would come over to Cher’s pad and motivate her when she couldn’t herself.
“Stunningly beautiful, she exuded power and confidence. She walked straight to the window, looked out, and said, ‘Nice view,’” Spears wrote. “Madonna’s supreme confidence helped me see a lot about my situation with fresh eyes.”
“I think she probably had some intuitive sense of what I was going through,” she continued. “I needed a little guidance at that time. I was confused about my life. She tried to mentor me.”
An icon like Madonna, who had experienced her own fair share of negative publicity, tried to show Spears there would be light after the gloom. Additionally, Spears revealed Madonna introduced her to Kabbalah, a set of teachings under Jewish mysticism.
“At one point, she did a red-string ceremony with me to initiate me into Kabbalah, and she gave me a trunk full of Zohar books to pray with,” the “Baby One More Time” singer recalled.
“She told me I should be sure to take time out for my soul, and I tried to do that. She modelled a type of strength that I needed to see,” she went on to say, after admitting she’s gotten a tattoo at the base of her neck of a Hebrew word some Kabbalists believe mean “healing”.
Spears said she was inspired by Madonna’s strength through her own experience of being bullied and shamed for her sexuality. She referenced Madonna’s acceptance speech for her Woman of the Year award at the Billboard Awards to say that she agrees with her on her perception of the world being designed to benefit men and not women.
The “Circus” creator also described herself to be “nice,” too nice for the industry she worked in. She thought that her thoughtfulness could eventually “destroy” her.
“Madonna saw how much I wanted to please,” Spears proclaimed.
The Woman in Me is available in hard copy and digital form in stores and online now.
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