Throwback photos have emerged of Britney Spears and then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake’s PDA show celebrating her turning 18. He has since apologized for how he treated her after their 2002 breakup.
The future seemed to bright for Britney Spears and then men in her life as she celebrated her 18th birthday with those who loved her, in new photos that have emerged. Her boyfriend Justin Timberlake was by her side, and her dad Jamie Spears was also there at the New York bar Halo for her party on Dec. 1, 1999, a day ahead of Brit’s big day. Now with the release of the Fx/Hulu documentary Framing Britney, it makes the photos so heartbreaking as Justin went on to trash Britney in songs, while Britney has been trying to get out from under her father’s conservatorship for the past 13 years. You can see the rare throwback photos here.
At the time the photos were taken, Britney was on her way to becoming a global pop sensation thanks to her 1998 debut single “…Baby One More Time,” which had just gone platinum. She wore a plunging blue snakeskin mini-dress, along with silvery glittery eye makeup. Brit could be seen in one photo cuddled up to NSYNC star Justin, who was still in his curly ringlet hair days. The adorable teens looked like the picture of young love.
Justin Timberlake and then-girlfriend Britney Spears arrive at Planet Hollywood in Times Square, New York on Feb. 3, 2002. Photo credit: Abaca/Sipa USA
In another photo, Justin, now 40, can be seen hugging his lady and bending down to lay his head atop her shoulder. Britney, now 39, reciprocated the affection by leaning her head against his and holding on to his shoulder. Her eyes were closed for the sweet, intimate moment. It wouldn’t be revealed to the public until a few months later that Britney and Justin were officially a couple.
The pair was young pop royalty for several years before breaking up in 2002. It was messy, with Justin writing spite songs about Britney including “Cry Me a River.” In the music video, he even used a Britney look alike to show her cheating on him. That period of the “Toxic” singer’s life was revisited in Framing Britney, which included clips from a 2003 interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, who went in hard on Brit for the demise of her three year relationship wit JT.
Diane asked the then 22-year-old, “I have to ask a couple of things about Justin. He has gone on television and pretty much said you broke his heart. You did something that caused him so much pain, so much suffering….what did you do?” Even in the documentary, a friend of Britney’s noted that while she was being raked over the coals for the breakup, no one asked Justin what he might have done to cause their romance to end.
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were music’s hottest young couple during their three-year romance. Photo credit: MEGA.
After the documentary dropped on Feb. 5, 2021, fans started coming at Justin for the harsh and public way he treated Britney following their split, along with how he made Janet Jackson take all of the heat for their onstage Super Bowl halftime “wardrobe malfunction” in 2004 where her nipple was exposed on live TV.
Justin apologized to both women in a Feb. 12 Instagram post, he wrote, “I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond. I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”
Justin continued, “I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed. I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be part of and grow from.
Also present in a number of the birthday party photos is Britney’s dad Jamie, who she has been estranged from for quite some time. They looked like happy family at the snapshot, but the two are no longer on speaking terms. Jamie applied to a court in Los Angeles to be named his daughter’s conservator in 2008, after she had a series of personal struggles that caused her to end up in a psychiatric ward following a breakdown.
The documentary has explored the controversy surrounding Jamie’s control over his daughter, as 13 years later, he’s still her co-conservator, despite Britney’s legal team fighting hard to have him removed per her wishes. She’s even said she will not perform again until Jamie is removed from her conservatorship, stating that she is “afraid” of her father. Britney was dealt another setback during a Feb. 11, 2021 hearing, where a judge allowed Jamie to continue as co-conservator of her estate, along with the wealth management company Bessemer Trust, which was added in Nov. 2020.