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Britney Spears says ex Justin Timberlake gave her a ‘pep talk’ ahead of her 2001 VMAs performance

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Britney Spears has revealed some of the backstory behind her iconic 2001 MTV Video Music Awards performance.

On Thursday, the 39-year-old pop star shared throwback photos from the awards ceremony and recalled how ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake helped calm her nerves before she hit the stage.   

‘Geez … this is me before my VMAs performance with @MickJagger 20 years ago !!!!,’ Britney wrote in the caption of several photos in which she was seen being interviewed alongside The Rolling Stones frontman, now 78, and posing on the red carpet.

Looking back: Britney Spears has revealed some of the backstory behind her iconic 2001 MTV Video Music Awards performance

Sweet: On Thursday, the 39-year-old pop star shared throwback photos from the awards ceremony and recalled how ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake helped calm her nerves before she hit the stage. Seen in 2001

Sweet: On Thursday, the 39-year-old pop star shared throwback photos from the awards ceremony and recalled how ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake helped calm her nerves before she hit the stage. Seen in 2001

‘This is one my my favorite dresses I’ve ever worn and it’s simple black lace !!!!’ Spears said of the black long-sleeved lace Dolce & Gabbana dress that she wore over a black bra and panties set. 

The outfit is considered one of the Toxic hitmaker’s most memorable looks.  

She continued, ‘I will tell you this … before I went on that night I was feeling kinda out of body with nerves … I mean … I was in a cage with a live tiger!!!!!’

Throwback: 'This is one my my favorite dresses I've ever worn and it's simple black lace !!!!' Spears said of the black long-sleeved lace Dolce & Gabbana dress that she wore over a black bra and panties set

Throwback: ‘This is one my my favorite dresses I’ve ever worn and it’s simple black lace !!!!’ Spears said of the black long-sleeved lace Dolce & Gabbana dress that she wore over a black bra and panties set

Iconic: The outfit is considered one of the Toxic hitmaker's most memorable looks

Iconic: The outfit is considered one of the Toxic hitmaker’s most memorable looks

Nervous: Britney said that she was feeling 'kind of out of boy with nerves' ahead of her performance

Nervous: Britney said that she was feeling ‘kind of out of boy with nerves’ ahead of her performance

Reassurance: She went to say that her boyfriend at the time, Justin Timberlake, gave her a five-minute pep talk

Reassurance: She went to say that her boyfriend at the time, Justin Timberlake, gave her a five-minute pep talk

‘I will never forget the moment before I went in the cage !!!! Justin saw I could hardly talk so he held my hand and gave me a 5 minute pep talk which obviously worked!!!!!’ 

Britney added, ‘Psssss guess I’m sleeping because my eyes are closed in half of these pics!!!!’ 

Ahead of the 2001 performance, Spears and Mick sat down for an interview with MTV News.

Pre-show: Ahead of the 2001 performance, Spears and Mick sat down for an interview with MTV News

Pre-show: Ahead of the 2001 performance, Spears and Mick sat down for an interview with MTV News

Sneak peek: Britney told Mick and MTV host Kurt Loder 'I'm being very brave tonight. So it's very interesting'

Sneak peek: Britney told Mick and MTV host Kurt Loder ‘I’m being very brave tonight. So it’s very interesting’

‘My goal for this performance is not to just not to fall!’ She told host Kurt Loder with a laugh.

She went on to say, ‘I’m being very brave tonight. So it’s very interesting.’ 

‘You’re being very brave?’ Jagger asked. ‘Very brave!’ Britney replied.

‘How is that going to be?’ Mick responded.

Spears teased, ‘You will see!’ 

Wild: In the jaw-dropping performance, Britney performed her hit song I'm A Slave 4 U alongside a caged tiger with a seven foot long python draped around her shoulders. Pictured in 2001

Wild: In the jaw-dropping performance, Britney performed her hit song I’m A Slave 4 U alongside a caged tiger with a seven foot long python draped around her shoulders. Pictured in 2001

Love in the spotlight: At the time, Spears was engaged in a high-profile romance with Timberlake, now 40. Seen in 2001

Love in the spotlight: At the time, Spears was engaged in a high-profile romance with Timberlake, now 40. Seen in 2001

 In the jaw-dropping performance, Britney performed her hit song I’m A Slave 4 U alongside a caged tiger with a seven foot long python draped around her shoulders.

At the time, Spears was engaged in a high-profile romance with Timberlake, now 40. The two began dating in 1998 after meeting while co-starring on The Mickey Mouse Show and confirmed their romance in 2000.  

However, the relationship didn’t end well, with their split in 2002 blamed on rumors that Britney was cheating on Justin.

He then used the relationship to promote his own solo career even using a Britney lookalike in the music video for his 2002 hit Cry Me A River.

In a 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer, Sawyer asked Britney: ‘He’s gone on television and pretty much said you broke his heart, you did something that caused him so much pain. What did you do?’

Back then: The two began dating in 1998 after meeting while co-starring on The Mickey Mouse Show and confirmed their romance in 2000 (pictured in 2000)

Back then: The two began dating in 1998 after meeting while co-starring on The Mickey Mouse Show and confirmed their romance in 2000 (pictured in 2000)

Britney, then 21, replied: ‘We’re both really young. It was kind of waiting to happen. I will always love him.

‘Everyone has a side of their story and to make them feel a certain way, make them feel, you know… I’m not saying he’s wrong and I’m not saying he’s right either.’  

In February of this year, Justin publicly apologized to his ex-girlfriend following the release of the documentary, Framing Britney Spears, which laid bare how she has, according to her fans, been exploited by the men in her life.

Split: However, the relationship didn't end well, with their split in 2002 blamed on rumors that Britney was cheating on Justin. Pictured in 2001

Split: However, the relationship didn’t end well, with their split in 2002 blamed on rumors that Britney was cheating on Justin. Pictured in 2001

In a lengthy Instagram post, Justin wrote that he was ‘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 a system that condones misogyny and racism,’ he said.

He went on: ‘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 a part of and grow from…’  

Justin’s statement continued: ‘The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way. As a man in a privileged position I have to be vocal about this.

‘Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again. I have not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career.’

Justin added: ‘I know this apology is a first step and doesn’t absolve the past. I want to take accountability for my own missteps in all of this as well as be part of a world that uplifts and supports.

‘I care deeply about the well-being of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better,’ he said.

Support: The former N*SYNC boybander married actress Jessica Biel in 2012 and they have two sons together. He said in June that the couple send their support to Britney amid her conservatorship battle with her father Jamie Spears. Seen in 2018

Support: The former N*SYNC boybander married actress Jessica Biel in 2012 and they have two sons together. He said in June that the couple send their support to Britney amid her conservatorship battle with her father Jamie Spears. Seen in 2018

In June, Timberlake spoke out following the star’s testimony about her life under her father Jamie Spears’ conservatorship.    

In a statement posted to Twitter, Justin said: ‘After what we saw today, we should all be supporting Britney at this time. Regardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long ago it was.

‘What’s happening to her is just not right. No woman should ever be restricted from making decisions about her own body.’ 

He added: ‘No one should EVER be held against their will… or ever have to ask permission to access everything they’ve worked so hard for.’  

The former N*SYNC boybander married actress Jessica Biel in 2012 and they have two sons together.

Justin tweeted: ‘Jess and I send our love, and our absolute support to Britney during this time. We hope the courts, and her family make this right and let her live however she wants to live.’

Exes: Britney has two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline whom she married in 2004 and divorced in 2007. Seen in 2006

Exes: Britney has two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline whom she married in 2004 and divorced in 2007. Seen in 2006

After Britney’s highly-publicized mental breakdown in 2008, Jamie took control of her finances and personal life.

The singer has been engaged in a lengthy legal battle to have her father removed as her conservator.   

In her statement, the pop star described how she feels ‘ganged up on, bullied and alone’ and has no say about what she does, where she goes and who she spends time with.

She also does not have direct access to her estate which is valued at $60 million while paying her father $16,000 a month to be her conservator.

Legal woes: The singer has been engaged in a lengthy legal battle to have her father removed as her conservator. Jamie pictured in 2012

Legal woes: The singer has been engaged in a lengthy legal battle to have her father removed as her conservator. Jamie pictured in 2012

In a bombshell revelation, she said she has been fitted with an IUD contraceptive device and her request to have it removed so she can have another baby has been denied.

Britney has two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline whom she married in 2004 and divorced in 2007.

The boys – Sean Preston, 15, and Jayden James, 14 – live with Federline and have only limited contact with their mother.

In September, Jamie filed to his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court.

On September 22, Britney, who recently announced her engagement to her boyfriend Sam Ashgari, filed paperwork through her lawyers to have Jamie immediately terminated as her conservator.

Termination: On September 22, Britney, who recently announced her engagement to her boyfriend Sam Ashgari, filed paperwork through her lawyers to have Jamie immediately terminated as her conservator

Termination: On September 22, Britney, who recently announced her engagement to her boyfriend Sam Ashgari, filed paperwork through her lawyers to have Jamie immediately terminated as her conservator

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