Ah, the early 2000s. Or the "early aughts," as folks are now dubbing the most recent past decade. Since we're almost midway through the 2010s (hmm, I wonder what shorthand people will use to describe our current decade in the future?), people are just now starting to reflect on the time that wasn't really so way back when. So when you're feeling a bit nostalgic, it is worth taking a look back at some of the most early 2000s things celebrities have ever said.
The early 2000s have not been explored and examined nearly as thoroughly as, say, the '80s or '90s. And you can argue that it is for a good reason. After all, not enough time has passed to do any in-depth sleuthing about what really defined the era. But since our generation grew up with it, we can get little clues from what some of the biggest stars of the time had to say about what was happening. And a lot of what was happening is soooo dated now. Think: everything anyone ever said about Britney and Justin. Get ready for a blast from the past.
1. Justin Timberlake On Feeling "Old" In A 2003 Rolling Stone Interview
"I turned on TRL the other day, and I'm the old guy now. Avril Lavigne and B2K, they're the new little faces of teen pop, as much as they'd tell you to f*ck off if you told them that. As for me, I'm somewhere in the middle, starting from zero, rebuilding my whole base. This year has been all about change. Big change. I ended a four-year relationship. I bought a house in L.A. I embarked on a solo career. And, on top of that, I did it all in front of the world, without losing my head. And now, for the past three weeks, I've been here, away from the world. It's been really good."
As you might remember, TRL was a very important part of the early 2000s kid after-school starter pack. And all the gossip he spilled in that one quote is a little much to handle now that we know how he ended up: uber successful and married with a baby.
2. Ashton Kutcher On How He'd Punk President George W. Bush In A 2003 Rolling Stone Interview
"I would get Saddam Hussein look-alikes and have them hang around the White House. I'd inform the entire Cabinet, then I'd have Saddam walk into the Oval Office, turn around and walk out. Dick Cheney would play the straight man, telling Bush that Hussein wasn't around and that maybe Bush should sleep a bit more. Then I'd make Cheney leave and have Saddam knock on the window. Bush would lose his sh*t."
Mixing Punk'd and 2003 politics!
3. Former New Kid On The Block Joey Mclntyre On *NSYNC In A 2000 Rolling Stone Interview
"*NSYNC is my favorite. I look in their eyes and I see that they're at the point where they've got the world by the balls and they're having a good time. It's all about hanging onto that and seeing if you can. I actually think they can transcend the whole boy-band thing."
Well, it looks like the group didn't really "transcend the whole boy-band thing" — although, Justin Timberlake did. Where is *NSYNC's shout out to One Direction, by the way?
4. Britney Spears On Justin Timberlake In 2001 The Guardian Interview
"With him, it's still the same as I felt two years ago. But it is a deeper love now than when I was younger. Like, we've gone through so much together and we've known each other since we were 12 years old. We know each other inside and out."
RIP to the staple couple of the early aughts.
5. Angelina Jolie On Those Infamous Blood Vials In 2001 A MSNBC Interview
"It's my husband's blood... which is beautiful to me, you know? Some people like diamonds around their necks or things like that. I think that's beautiful. And it makes me, it's his life."
Remember when Angelina Jolie wore a vial of Billy Bob Thornton's blood around her neck?
6. Christina Aguilera On Britney & Justin In A 2003 Rolling Stone Interview
"He and Britney made a great couple. I've known the both of them since that time, and they kind of had their little crushes even back then. Britney has known him for such a long time, too — before he was Justin Timberlake, the star, when he was just Justin, the kid on the Mickey Mouse Club. I don't know, I have a feeling that there's going to be some reconciliation. I know that they talk and everything, and it's cool. I don't think it's over."
Britney and Justin FOREVER.
7. Eminem On Picking Fights In A 2003 Spin Interview
"How ridiculous would it look if I was really serious about kickin’ Moby’s ass? It’s like stepping on a flea."
A helpful reminder that Em once dissed Moby in "Without Me" with the eternal words, "Nobody listens to techno." (Among other, much worse insults.)
8. Chris Rock On Hosting The VMAs In A 2003 Time Interview
"It's one of these gigs where you get in touch with the 'youth culture,' so you get to be hip by association. 'Hey, I'm next to 50 Cent!'"
Ah, back when Fiddy defined "youth culture." Good times, good times.
9. Avril Lavigne On Being The "Anti-Britney" In A 2003 NBC Interview
"Oh yeah, the anti-Britney, the anti-Britney. Everybody just thinks because — you know, the whole pop thing, show off your belly, dance around with your background dancers, lip sync, whole deal thing was really popular for a long time. I’m not made up and I’m not being told what to say and how to act, so they have to call me the anti-Britney, which I’m not. I think that’s very rude and very mean. I think it’s a dumb game. It’s just the media putting up like those labels."
Good for her on speaking out against labels!
10. Jessica Simpson On Admiring Jewel In A 2003 Rolling Stone Interview
"Everyone was always like, 'Who's Jessica Simpson?' 'Oh, she's like Britney and Christina.' It was so hard on me. Plus, I never had my own thing happening, so I felt like I had to do what they did, like, I had to show my stomach and dance. But that's not me. My dream is to be like Jewel, to sit on a chair in my bluejeans and sing my heart out."
Remember the big Britney versus Christina debate? And where Jess fit into all that? And Jewel? Jess has it all covered here.
11. Paris Hilton On Paris Hilton In A 2006 Time Interview
"There's nobody in the world like me. I think every decade has an iconic blonde — like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana — and right now, I'm that icon."
OK, OK, so this quote is a little after the earlier aughts. But what's more early aughts than Paris Hilton talking about Paris Hilton? Especially if it's about her context of her legacy in that decade? It's a perfect way to round it off, in any case.
Personally, I can't wait to see some more in-depth exploration about what this decade meant in the larger scheme of things, and maybe even some celebrity thoughts on it. It was quite a time, after all!