Lance Bass issued and former bandmate Justin Timberlake after the singer came under criticism over allegations Britney Spears made about him in her new book, The Woman in Me
Fans’ criticism of Justin Timberlake following Britney Spears‘ allegations about their past relationship and breakup in her new memoir is tearin’ up Lance Bass‘ heart.
When asked if the backlash was fair or unfair, the fellow singer—who recently reunited with Timberlake and the rest of their *NSYNC bandmates to record their first song in 20 years—issued a plea.
“Look, I mean, everyone has their own opinion,” Bass told TMZ on-camera Oct. 26. “I just feel like the world is so full of hate right now, that we need to practice a little forgiveness. Britney did, so let’s take a note from her.”
He added, “Everyone deserves to tell their story. She did and I hope the fans can, again, find some forgiveness.”
In The Woman in Me, released Oct. 24, Spears said that she got an abortion after becoming pregnant with her and Timberlake’s baby during the course of their relationship, which ran from 1999 to 2002. The book states that the pregnancy was a surprise and that he “definitely wasn’t happy about it” and “said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young.”
Spears also stated that they both decided she should get an abortion and that “if it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it.”
In The Woman in Me, the “Toxic” singer also accuses Timberlake of cheating on her with another celebrity, while also admitting that she kissed choreographer Wade Robson, who worked with*NSYNC during their 2000 No Strings Attached Tour, while she and the pop star were together. She said it was a reaction to rumors of her ex’s own infidelity.
Also in her book, Spears alleges that Timberlake broke up with her via text while she was filming her “Overprotected (Darkchild remix)” music video, and that the breakup left her “devastated.”
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E! News has reached out to reps for Timberlake, who has yet to publicly address Spears’ memoir allegations.
A source close to him told E! News that the “Cry Me a River” singer isn’t paying any mind to the renewed public attention on his former romance with Spears, adding, “Justin has been working on music and loving what he’s been making.” The insider added that Timberlake and his wife Jessica Biel, are “also so busy” with their sons Silas, 8, and Phineas, 2.
Read on for more bombshells from Spears’ memoir The Woman in Me:
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First Kiss With Justin Timberlake
Britney Spears met Justin Timberlake when they were Mouseketeers on Disney Channel’s The Mickey Mouse Club in the early 1990s along with Christina Aguilera and slightly older talents including Keri Russell, Ryan Gosling and Tony Lucca.
Though it would be some years before they dated, falling for each other when she went on tour with *NSYNC, Britney writes that she and Justin shared their first kiss while playing Truth or Dare during a cast sleepover with—insert irony here—a Janet Jackson song playing in the background.
Britney Had an Abortion While Dating Justin Timberlake
Among the devastating low points Britney describes about dating Justin, she shares that she had a medical abortion because his position was that they were both too young to become parents. She underwent the process at home, she writes, recalling Justin lying on the bathroom floor with her and strumming his guitar during what she calls “one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced in my life.”
She still isn’t sure if she made the right choice, adding, “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.”
E! News reached out to Justin’s rep and did not immediately hear back.
But as various Justin-centric anecdotes in Britney’s book made headlines ahead of its release, a source shared that the 42-year-old is working on new music, plus he and wife Jessica Biel are feeling great and keeping busy with sons Silas, 8, and Phineas, 2.
Justin Dumped Her Over Text Message
According to Britney, Justin is in the club of celebrities who’ve ended relationships with the equivalent of a digital Post-It.
She was so “devastated,” she recalls, she “could barely speak for months.”
Britney went back home to Kentwood, La., to recover—and, post-breakup, she writes, Justin flew out there to personally deliver a letter he wrote and had framed that concluded, “I can’t breathe without you.”
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The Demoralizing Assumption That Britney Cheated on Justin
Recalling the insinuations in Justin’s “Cry Me a River” video that she had cheated on him, Britney writes of having to deal with the fallout, feeling “comatose in Louisiana” while her ex was “happily running around Hollywood.”
She points to her cringe-inducing November 2003 interview with Diane Sawyer, arranged by her father and manager, in which the journalist grilled her about the pain she supposedly caused Justin as her “breaking point.”
“I felt like I had been exploited,” she writes, “set up in front of the whole world.”
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The Extent of Britney’s Unfaithfulness
As was rumored years ago, Britney admits to making out with dancer-choreographer Wade Robson at a bar one night while she was dating Justin. But she attributes the gossip that Justin was cheating on her for pushing her into that mindset.
Otherwise, she writes, she was faithful to Justin.
Adderall Was Britney’s “Drug of Choice”
Britney maintains that, during the days when it looked like she was partying hard with Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, et al., she didn’t have a drinking problem, but used the ADHD medication Adderall to get high and enjoy “a few hours of feeling less depressed.”
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Hooking Up With Colin Farrell
It wasn’t much of a secret 20 years ago that something was going on between Britney and Colin Farrell, and she describes their fling as a physically intense couple of weeks.
“Brawl is the only word for it—we were all over each other, grappling so passionately it was like we were in a street fight,” Britney writes.
However, she admittedly wasn’t “over Justin” when she was Colin’s date to the Jan. 28, 2003, premiere of The Recruit, where the Irish actor told reporters they were “just mates” and not dating, but “she’s a sweet, sweet girl.”
Britney writes in The Woman in Me, “But for a brief moment in time, I did think there could be something there. The disappointments in my romantic life were just one part of how isolated I became. I felt so awkward all the time.”
E! News has reached out to Colin’s rep for comment but did not hear back.
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The Truth About Her Marriage to Pal Jason Alexander
Britney was bored and “just honestly very drunk,” she writes, when she and childhood friend Jason Alexander swapped vows in Las Vegas in January 2004. The union was annulled 55 hours later.
She marveled over her family’s reaction—”like I’d started World War III”—but it was “innocent fun” as far as she was concerned.
(Meanwhile, Jason was arrested and pleaded no contest to trespassing on Britney’s more consequential wedding day when she married Sam Asghari at home on June 9, 2022.)
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The Night Britney Shaved Her Head
The unforgettable night in February 2007 when Britney walked into a Los Angeles-area salon and buzzed all her hair off was a response to the constant objectification she’d been subjected to since coming of age in the spotlight. (She notes elsewhere in the book that she went on Prozac around the time Oops…I Did It Again was blowing up to deal with the heightened scrutiny.)
“I’d been looked up and down, had people telling me what they thought of my body, since I was a teenager,” she writes. “Shaving my head and acting out were my ways of pushing back.”
She was also “out of my mind with grief” while locked in a custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline over their sons, Sean and Jayden (who are now 18 and 17).
“Flailing those weeks without my children, I lost it, over and over again,” she recalls. “I didn’t even really know how to take care of myself.” She famously smacked a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella, her new haircut adding to the drama of it all, and remembers her thought process at the time growing increasingly childlike while she was still “in the throes of severe postpartum depression” and dealing with the end of her marriage.
Kevin was later granted sole physical custody of their kids on Oct. 1, 2007.
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Why Britney Didn’t Fight the Conservatorship Earlier
Britney was placed in a conservatorship on Feb. 1, 2008—initially after a series of emergencies, including the star being put on two 5150 holds in January 2008, but then it was extended indefinitely.
The “…Baby One More Time” singer recalls that she “begged the court to appoint literally anyone else” than her father, Jamie Spears, as her conservator. (Lawyer Andrew Wallet was co-conservator until March 2019.)
But she says she gave up the legal fight to free herself early on so she could be reunited with her kids as soon as possible.
“My freedom in exchange for naps with my children—it was a trade I was willing to make,” she writes. “There is nothing I love more—nothing more improtant to me on this earth—than my children. I’d lay down my life for them.”
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Britney the Person Withered While the Brand Continued to Bloom
Britney describes the alleged confines of the conservatorship as being too “sick to choose my own boyfriend and yet somehow healthy enough to appear on sitcoms and morning shows, and to perform for thousands of people in a different part of the world every week!”
Eventually, Britney writes, she “began to think that [dad Jamie] saw me as put on the earth for no other reason than to help their cash flow.”
She alleges she wasn’t even allowed to change her set list when she wanted to during her wildly successful Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood.
“My music was my life,” she writes, “and the conservatorship was deadly for that; it crushed my soul.”
Jamie, who took some time away from being co-conservator in 2019 while he dealt with health issues and then stepped down for good in September 2021, has stated multiple times in the past that he believed the decisions he was making were in Britney’s best interest.
The Crush of the Conservatorship
From her portioned-out medication to the settings on her iPhone, Britney writes, “Everything was scrutinized and controlled. Everything.”
Including, she alleges, her weight. “If I thought getting criticized about my body in the press was bad, it hurt even more from my own father,” she writes. “He repeatedly told me I looked fat and that I was going to have to do something about it.”
While she was notably silent about the circumstances of her life during most of the 13 years she spent in the conservatorship, Britney alleges she did try to say something…once.
“I even mentioned the conservatorship on a talk show in 2016,” she writes, “but somehow that part of the interview didn’t make it to the air. Huh. How interesting.”
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Falling Out With Jamie Lynn Spears
During what Britney describes as her involuntary trip to rehab in early 2019—”My father said that if I didn’t go, then I’d have to go to court, and I’d be embarrassed,” she writes—she recalls being prescribed lithium and being kept there “against my will” for months.
“I couldn’t go outside,” she continues. “I couldn’t drive a car. I had to give blood weekly. I couldn’t take a bath in private. I couldn’t shut the door to my room.”
From the facility, Britney texted Jamie Lynn Spears, pleading for help, she writes. Her little sister’s response, per the book, was, “Stop fighting it. There’s nothing you can do about it, so stop fighting it.”
Britney felt betrayed, writing, “I didn’t understand how Jamie Lynn and our father had developed such a good relationship. She knew I was reaching out to her for help…I felt like she should have taken my side.”
In early 2022 the siblings publicly sparred over Jamie Lynn’s memoir, Things I Should Have Said.
Jamie Lynn “rushed out salacious stories about me, many of them hurtful and outrageous,” Britney reiterates in her book. But, she concludes, she loves her sis, adding, “I’m working to feel more compassion than anger toward her and toward everyone who I feel has wronged me. It’s not that easy.”
E! News has reached out to Jamie Lynn for comment. She said on E!’s Daily Pop in 2022 that she and Britney “go back and forth, but at the end of the day, the love and support will always be there.”
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Her Introduction to #FreeBritney
Britney notes that it was during her 2019 rehab stay that she first saw YouTube clips, courtesy of a nurse at the facility, alerting her to the existence of the unofficial but vigilant #FreeBritney movement.
As the years went by and the public discussion around whether she still should be in a conservatorship intensified, Britney kept up with the news.
“Seeing the documentaries about me was rough,” she writes. “I understand that everyone’s heart was in the right place, but I was hurt that some old friends spoke to filmmakers without consulting me first.” She adds, “There was so much guessing about what I must have thought or felt.”
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Where Britney Was When Her Conservatorship Was Terminated
When Jamie was removed as co-conservator in September 2021, “I felt relief sweep over me,” Britney recalls. “The man who had scared me as a child and ruled over me as an adult, who had done more than anyone to undermine my self-confidence, was no longer in control of my life.”
She was at a resort in Tahiti on Nov. 12, 2021, when her lawyer called to tell her a judge had terminated the conservatorship entirely.
Those Naked Instagram Posts
Britney relishes being free to post whatever she wants on social media now, including the occasional strategically censored nude selfie.
“I know that a lot of people don’t understand why I love taking pictures of myself naked or in new dresses,” she explains. “But I think if they’d been photographed by other people thousands of times, prodded and posed for other people’s approval, they’d understand that I get a lot of joy from posing the way I feel sexy and taking my own picture, doing whatever I want with it.”
What Freedom Means
Britney writes that she has suffered “physical and emotional damage” from being in the conservatorship, and still gets migraines.
“I don’t think my family understands the real damage that they did,” she writes.
But she doesn’t take freedom for granted, whether that means “taking a break from Instagram without people calling 911” or “being able to make mistakes, and learning from them.”
It means “I don’t have to perform for anyone—onstage or offstage,” she writes. “Freedom means that I get to be as beautifully imperfect as everyone else. And freedom means the ability, and the right, to search for joy, in my own way, on my own terms.”