You never forget your first love.
In this case, however, we mean the first celebrity couple you fell for, the twosome that defined togetherness for you, the pair that was just a given in Hollywood, part of the foundation.
Until they weren't, that is.
"PS I know we had one of the world's biggest breakups 20 years ago..... but hey the man is a genius!!!!" Britney Spears acknowledged last week in an Instagram post that featured her busting multiple moves to Justin Timberlake's "Filthy."
"Great song JT!!!! Pssss if you KNOW WHAT'S GOOD!!!!!!"
Well! Cue a quarantined fandom's endless appreciation!
Some matches simply weren't meant to last forever, no matter how serious they were at one point. Vows may have been said, children born, thousands of pictures taken, and yet none of that guarantees a happily ever after, any more than actually being each other's first love does. That's how it goes.
But even though one day you may wake up and two people who were married for 10 years have been divorced for 20, and that epic romance of yore is no longer the defining relationship of their lives, that doesn't mean it didn't leave a mark on our collective psyche, or otherwise shadow our view of that celeb's future love life.
Now, we don't usually advocate living in the past.
But in honor of the culturally iconic Britney and Justin (as well as another pair of exes who are actually physically-distancing together, with their kids), we're taking it back—not necessarily to a star's first-first love (though some do fit that bill), but to the first time their coupled life thoroughly registered in our collective consciousness.
Other loves may have come before, and have come and gone since, but here's where it all started, for us:
Just remember, we're not crying because they're over—we're smiling because they happened.
(Originally published Sept. 18, 2019, at 3 a.m. PT)