Britney Spears recounts in a forthcoming memoir that she had an abortion to end a pregnancy by fellow pop star Justin Timberlake while the two were dating in the late 1990s and early 2000s, according to excerpts published on Tuesday (Oct 17) in People magazine.
Spears, 41, recalled in her autobiography, The Woman In Me, that the pregnancy “was a surprise” but she wanted to have the baby and agreed to an abortion at Timberlake’s insistence.
“I loved Justin so much. I always expected us to have a family together one day,” Spears wrote. “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.”
Had it been her decision alone, Spears wrote, “I never would have done it. And yet Justin was so sure that he didn’t want to be a father.” She described the episode as “one of the most agonising things I have ever experienced in my life”.
Representatives for Timberlake, 42, did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
Timberlake and Spears, who met as young cast members on television’s The Mickey Mouse Club, dated for about three years in their late teens and early 20s, becoming tabloid sensations, before splitting abruptly in 2002.
Spears was questioned relentlessly in the media about her virginity, while Timberlake said he had slept with her and then wrote a song Cry Me A River, in which he implied she had been unfaithful to him in their relationship.
In 2021, following a TV documentary about Spears that included a segment on how she was shamed in the media when their relationship ended, Timberlake publicly apologised to Spears on social media, saying he had “failed” her.
Spears went on to become a mother to two sons, now aged 18 and 17, with her second husband, Kevin Federline, a singer and onetime backup dancer to whom she was married for two years.
In April 2022, Spears said she was expecting a third child with then-fiance Sam Asghari but the following month she said she suffered a miscarriage. She and Asghari wed in June 2022, but he filed for divorce 14 months later, in August of this year.
Spears’ highly anticipated memoir comes nearly two years after she was released from a 13-year court-ordered conservatorship set up and controlled by her father, Jamie Spears. The arrangement had governed Spears’ personal life, career and US$60 million estate from 2008 until it was terminated in November 2021.
The memoir’s title apparently was taken from a line in the book in which Spears wrote, “The woman in me was pushed down for a long time. They wanted me to be wild onstage, the way they told me to be, and to be a robot the rest of the time.”
The book is due for release Oct 24 from Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.