Britney Spears reveals truth of 2007 VMAs performance in The Woman In Me memoir

Britney Spears has lifted the lid on the devastating reality behind her 2007 MTV Video Music Awards performance – an infamous moment which made her the target of ridicule for years.

In her new memoir, The Woman In Me, she recalls being a bundle of nerves backstage, when she happened to run into ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, who had broken her heart just five years earlier.

“It had been a while since I’d seen him,” Spears, 41, wrote in her book, adding that the moment highlighted just how far apart their careers were at the time.

“Everything was going great in his world. He was at the top of his game in every way, and he had a lot of swagger. I was having a panic attack. I hadn’t rehearsed enough. I hated the way I looked. I knew it was going to be bad.”

The high-profile performance had been touted as Spears’ big comeback, as she prepared to take the stage to showcase her latest single, Gimme More.

But, according to the singer, she didn’t even want to take the stage as “nothing was going right” behind the scenes.

“There was a problem with my costume and with my hair extensions. I hadn’t slept the night before. I was dizzy. It was less than a year since I’d had my second baby in two years but everyone was acting like my not having six-pack abs was offensive,” Spears wrote.

“I couldn’t believe I was going to have to go out onstage feeling the way I felt.”

The Toxic singer ultimately went through with it – but was universally panned, exactly as she’d feared.

“I went out there and did the best I could at that moment in time, which — yes, granted — was far from my best at other times,” she explained.

“I could see myself on video throughout the auditorium while I performed; it was like looking at myself in a fun-house mirror.”

To make matters worse, Timberlake was at the top of his game, taking home numerous awards including Male Artist Of The Year and putting on a showstopping performance with Timbaland and Nelly Furtado.

It only served to make Spears feel worse about herself, as she wrote in her memoir.

“Justin glided down the runway,” the singer said.

“He was flirting with girls in the audience, including one who turned around and arched her back, shaking her breasts as he sang to her.”

Timberlake and Spears were one of the most high-profile couples in Hollywood when they dated between 1999 and 2002, after first meeting as young kids on The Mickey Mouse Club TV series in 1992.

In her new book, Spears says that after the split, the media portrayed her as the “harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy”.

The narrative was heavily fuelled by Timberlake’s break-up anthem Cry Me A River, which was released just months after their split and featured a Britney lookalike in the music video.

But ironically, as Spears details for the first time in her memoir, Timberlake allegedly cheated on her twice during their relationship, both times with famous women.

She claimed that the Like I Love You singer hooked up with “one of the girls” from a hit ‘90s girl band while in London in 2000.

However, as she writes in her memoir, Timberlake had actually broken her heart rather than vice versa – dumping her with a text message that read simply: “It’s over.”

Spears admitted she was “devastated” and considered quitting the music industry entirely after Timberlake dumped her.

“I was comatose in Louisiana, and he was happily running around Hollywood,” she wrote.

In The Woman In Me, Spears also revealed for the first time that she had fallen pregnant with Timberlake’s child when they were in their late teens, but had gotten an abortion at his urging.

“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,” she wrote.

“This would just be much earlier than I’d anticipated. 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. 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.”

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