“Overprotected” music video director Chris Applebaum gave Britney Spears two options following her 2001 split from Justin Timberlake — stop the video shoot or show the ‘NSync musician that “he just lost the best thing that he ever had.” The rest is history.
Applebaum, now 53, recalled Spears, now 41, showing him the “it’s over” text from Timberlake, now 42, during the music video shoot.
“[It] seemed like that was the end of the video shoot, and I acknowledged that with everybody,” Applebaum recalled during an interview with ABC News on Thursday, November 2. Ultimately, the director let Spears make the final decision.
After a minor break, the singer returned to set and was “on fire,” per Applebaum. “This was the Britney that everyone knows and loves,” he added.
Spears and Timberlake dated from 1999 to 2002, after meeting on the Mickey Mouse Club set. She detailed getting the breakup “text message” while on the “Overprotected (Darkchild Remix)” music video set in her The Woman In Me memoir, which was released last month.
Spears recalled feeling “clinically in shock” and “devastated” after Timberlake broke things off between them.
“I was comatose in Louisiana, and he was happily running around Hollywood,” she said of the aftermath.
In her book, Spears detailed the ups and downs in her life — focusing on what really went down between her and Timberlake. The “Toxic” singer even revealed that she had an abortion when they were together.
“Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young,” Spears wrote. “I’m sure people will hate me for this, but I agreed not to have the baby. I don’t know if that was the right decision. If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it. And yet Justin was so sure that he didn’t want to be a father.”
While Spears was “crying and sobbing” on the bathroom floor, she recalled Timberlake attempting to comfort her by playing his guitar.
Timberlake, for his part, was unaware that the details of their past relationship would be revealed in Spears’ book. He even turned off his Instagram comments following the book’s release.
“Justin thought Britney might talk about their ups and downs in more general terms — not air out their very personal, dirty laundry,” a source exclusively told Us last month. “He’s disappointed she went this route decades after they split up.”
Days after The Woman In Me was published, Timberlake was photographed getting off a plane alongside his family, including wife Jessica Biel, as they arrived in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
While some fans speculated that he was trying to keep a low profile following Spears’ book release, a separate source exclusively told Us that Timberlake did not “flee” to Mexico.
“It had nothing to do with Britney’s memoir,” the insider added. “He and his family already had this vacation planned months ago.”
The source went on to say that Timberlake is “focused on his family and living in the present,” however, he’s “supportive of Britney’s decision to put her truth out there” overall.