Britney Spears Slams Double Standards Between Her & Justin Timberlake

“There’s always been more leeway in Hollywood for men than for women.”

Britney Spears and boyfriend Justin Timberlake arrive at the premiere of her movie "Crossroads" at t...
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Britney Spears is no longer staying silent about her breakup from Justin Timberlake. In her new memoir The Woman In Me, Spears slammed double standards between men and women in the music industry, recalling how her ex-boyfriend was able to get away with “sh*t-talking” her on his first solo album Justified.

Spears recalls when Timberlake released his “Cry Me A River” video in 2002, which depicts a woman who looks eerily like her cheating on him, at a time when she retreated to deal with their split. “In the news media, I was described as a harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy,” she writes. “The truth: I was comatose in Louisiana, and he was happily running around Hollywood.”

She went on to claim that Timberlake cheated on her “several times,” which he “neglected to mention” while promoting his album. But she says that he got away with that because of the industry’s double standards between male and female artists.

How The Double Standards Played Out

“There’s always been more leeway in Hollywood for men than for women,” she writes. “And I see how men are encouraged to talk trash about women in order to become famous and powerful. But I was shattered.”

Justin Timberlake singing “Cry Me a River” on Saturday Night Live. Michael Caulfield Archive/WireImage/Getty Images

Earlier in the memoir, Spears acknowledged that she had cheated on Timberlake with choreographer Wade Robson, but said that it was only one time in comparison to her ex allegedly cheating multiple times.

However, “Cry Me A River” framed Timberlake as the victim, and she attributed the song’s impact to an early 2000s trend of male artists dissing women in their music.

“The thought of my betraying him gave the album more angst, gave it a purpose: sh*t-talking an unfaithful woman,” she writes. “Getting revenge on women for perceived disrespect was all the rage at the time. Eminem’s violent revenge song ‘Kim’ was huge. The only problem with the narrative was that, in our case, it wasn’t like that.”

The Impact Of “Cry Me A River”

Spears said the success of Timberlake’s hit “shamed” her and made her feel like she wasn’t able to tell her side of the story. “I couldn’t explain, because I knew no one would take my side once Justin had convinced the world of his version,” she writes.

She went on to recall how she would get “booed” everywhere she went, from clubs to a Lakers game. “I don’t think Justin realized the power he had in shaming me,” she writes. “I don’t think he understands to this day.”

Justin Talking About Their Sex Life

Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears in 2001.L. Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images

To add insult to injury, Timberlake openly talked about his sex life with Spears in interviews following their breakup, which has been criticized in recent years. However, this is actually one aspect of Timberlake’s behavior that she didn’t mind, as it undid the false reputation of her being a virgin that her team had set up, without having to dismantle that image herself.

“To be honest with you, I liked that Justin said that,” she writes. “Why did my managers work so hard to claim I was some kind of young-girl virgin even into my twenties? Whose business was it if I’d had sex or not?”

She went on to praise Oprah Winfrey for shutting down conversations about her sexuality in an interview. “I’d appreciated it when Oprah told me on her show that my sexuality was no one else’s business, and that when it came to virginity, ‘you don’t need a world announcement if you change your mind.”