Britney Spears recalls running into ex Justin Timberlake backstage before her disastrous 2007 VMAs performance: 'I knew it was going to be bad'

  • In her memoir, Britney Spears writes that she had a "panic attack" the night of the 2007 VMAs.

  • She says she knew the performance was going to be bad and that she was forced to do it.

  • She also ran into her ex Justin Timberlake and recalls facing him on "one of the worst days" of her life.

In her new memoir "The Woman In Me," released Tuesday, Britney Spears recalls how running into her ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake affected her state of mind before her infamous 2007 performance at the VMAs.

She admits that she didn't want to perform, but her team wanted her to show the world she was fine amid her public struggles. "The only problem with this plan: I was not fine," she writes.

Spears opened the show that night, performing "Trouble" and "Gimme More." Timberlake closed it as a guest performer during a medley of Timbaland songs, including his song "LoveStoned."

In the memoir, Spears remembers that there was a problem with both her costume and her hair extensions the night of the VMAs. Plus, she felt insecure about her postpartum body, having given birth to two babies in about two years. "Everyone was acting like my not having six-pack abs was offensive," Spears writes.

At the time of her performance, Spears' youngest son wasn't even a year old.

Britney Spears in December 2007.
Britney Spears in December 2007.Jeffrey Mayer/Wireimage

"I hadn't slept the night before, I was dizzy," she writes. She also recalls that she ran into Timberlake for the first time in many years that night.

From Spears' perspective, her ex was on top of the world. "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," she says in the memoir.

Meanwhile, Spears was struggling that night. "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," she writes in the book.

Once the performance actually started, Spears says that she could see herself on a video monitor during it and felt like she was looking in a "fun-house mirror."

By contrast, Spears recalls Timberlake gliding down a runway to begin his performance. "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," the "Everytime" singer writes. She describes Timberlake's demeanor that night as "so fun, so light, so free."

Justin Timberlake performing at the 2007 VMAs.
Justin Timberlake performing at the 2007 VMAs.Jason Squires/WireImage

In the memoir, Spears also recalls comedian Sarah Silverman calling her two sons "adorable mistakes" in a roast of the pop star after her performance that night. But Spears writes she didn't hear about the joke until later because she was already backstage "sobbing hysterically" over her failed comeback. (Silverman addressed the controversial comment on X, formerly Twitter, in 2021 after the documentary "Framing Britney Spears" brought renewed backlash, saying she wished she "could delete it.")

In the book, Spears admits she had a "bad night" performing, but didn't expect so much backlash and so much media coverage making fun of how she looked and how she performed.

"You also don't usually have one of the worst days of your life in the same exact place and time that your ex has one of his best," the "Piece of Me" singer writes.

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