A Britney Spears interview on A Current Affair in 2001 has resurfaced online after it featured in the New York Times documentary, Framing Britney Spears.
The documentary traces Spears’ life and career from her childhood to now, drawing on archival footage and interviews with close friends and cultural commentators to remind viewers how awful the singer was treated by the media and society.
It also examined Spears’ controversial conservatorship and her relationship with her father, Jamie Spears.
As Spears grew from the face of The Mickey Mouse Club to the artist behind ‘…Baby One More Time’, she received a barrage of criticism from the media for, well, being a young woman. Frankly, the media didn’t know how to report on her. So instead, she was reduced to her body and over-sexualised.
During a press junket, Spears was straight-up asked if she was a virgin and in another interview, the presenter asked her about her “breasts” because “everybody is talking about your breasts”.
“To many, you are a contradiction,” Munro said. “On the one hand, you’re a sweet, innocent virginal type. On the other hand, you’re a sexy vamp in underwear.”
“I wouldn’t say ‘in underwear’,” Spears responded.
But Munro didn’t back down, adding that she had recently posed in lingerie on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
“On the cover of Rolling Stone, that was the only time. But not when I perform, no,” Spears said.
“Well, you can see what I’m getting at,” Munro said.
Society’s treatment of Spears only worsened when her relationship with Justin Timberlake hit the tabloids. The pair started dating in 1999 and broke up in 2002, the same year Timberlake released his first solo album.
While neither Spears nor Timberlake publicly confirmed the reason behind their split, there was a rumour Spears cheated on the singer with her choreographer. And Timberlake played right into that narrative, casting a woman who looked like Spears in the music video for his song, ‘Cry Me A River’.
“The way that people treated her, to be very high school about it, was like she was the school slut and he was the school quarterback and he essentially weaponises the videos to one of his singles to incriminate her in the demise of the relationship,” Wesley Morris, the New York Times critic-at-large, said in the documentary.
In an interview with ABC’s Diana Sawyer, Spears was asked if she cheated on Timberlake.
“You broke his heart, you did something that caused him so much pain, so much suffering. What did you do?” Sawyer asked.
It was clear the public had taken Timberlake’s side, and it just sucks so much.
While Framing Britney Spears isn’t available to stream on any services in Australia at the moment, you can find out how to watch it via a VPN here.