Britney Spears Tells Justin Timberlake to Go Cry ‘to Your Mom’
I really only have one reaction to this latest escalation and it's just a gazillion side-eye emojis
Justin Timberlake’s latest attempt to reanimate his music career is stirring up nothing but drama. First, there was the streaming war with Britney Spears stans and, on Sunday night, an entirely unnecessary apology from Spears. Then, on Wednesday night, determined to stir the pot further, Timberlake seemed to shade Spears at a concert in New York, belting out, “I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to absolutely fucking nobody.” He uttered this right before he performed “Cry Me a River,” a song that is famously about his 2002 break-up with Spears in which he accuses her of cheating and generally being the worst.
The thinly veiled diss didn’t go unnoticed by Spears, who didn’t address Timberlake by name but otherwise really went for it in an Instagram post on Thursday: “Someone told me someone was talking shit about me on the streets !!!” she captioned a stock image of a basketball hoop. “Do you want to bring it to the court or will you go home crying to your mom like you did last time ??? I’m not sorry !!!” (For those who, like me, don’t have much memory of 2001, this appears to be a reference to when Spears and Timberlake played a charity basketball game together. In December, Spears may have taken a similar swipe at Timberlake’s basketball skills, again without naming him: “I never mentioned how I beat him in basketball and he would cry … no disrespect ♀️ ♀️ ♀️ !!!” she wrote on Instagram.)
Spears’ Thursday post is quite the tonal shift from her Sunday night Instagram apology, which she made right before making her Instagram private. (It’s technically still private right now but when you have a gazillion followers, we’re all still going to see your posts, Brit!) “I wanna apologize for some of the things I wrote about in my book. If I offended any of the people I genuinely care about I am deeply sorry…” Spears wrote over the weekend, right before lavishing praise on Timberlake’s new music: “I also wanted to say I am in love with Justin Timberlake’s new song ‘Selfish’ it is soo good.”
I’ll say it: I’m glad that she’s now saying “I’m not sorry !!!” because, as I wrote on Monday, Spears never had anything to apologize to Timberlake about. In her memoir, she reveals Timberlake cheated during their relationship, that he dumped her over text, and how he was unhelpful and weird during her abortion. After their relationship, he went on to slut-shame and diss her any chance he got post-breakup—including with the track “Cry Me a River.” And in the face of renewed scrutiny after all the recent reporting over what Spears endured under her father’s conservatorship, and a general reckoning with 2000s misogyny, Timberlake offered up a half-baked apology to Spears in 2021, nearly two decades too late. And he now seems to have taken that apology back—classy!
Indeed, it looks like the vibe has shifted and everyone is back to hating each other again, which, good for Spears, because Timberlake sucks. But as for Timberlake’s end of things, you have to laugh. Last week, my colleague Audra Heinrichs wrote about how remarkably unchanged Timberlake is in his new music, like a time capsule of the early aughts when his career peaked. And it’s clearly not just his music—he still seems to think it’s the 2000s when you could treat women like utter shit and “apologize to absolutely fucking nobody.” Grow up, Justin. Or better yet, “Go home crying to your mom like you did last time!”