Britney Spears is reflecting on a painful moment that was broadcast for all to see.
In her memoir The Woman in Me, the "Toxic" singer recalled her now-infamous 2003 interview with Diane Sawyers, in which the journalist confronted Britney about her then-recent breakup with Justin Timberlake, as well as whether the pop star was behaving in a way to be a good role model for children. In fact, the line of questioning brought the then 21-year-old to tears in her own home.
"I'd often retreated to my apartment to be alone," Britney wrote of the period after her public split with the *NSYNC member in 2002. "Now I was being forced to speak to Diane Sawyer there and cry in front of the entire nation."
And when it came to the interview itself, the Crossroads actress described it as "completely humiliating."
"I wasn't told what the questions would be ahead of time, and it turned out they were 100 percent embarrassing," she continued. "I was too vulnerable then, too sensitive, to do this type of interview. I didn't want to share anything private with the world. I didn't owe the media details of my breakup. I shouldn't have been forced to speak on national TV, forced to cry in front of a stranger, a woman who was relentlessly going after me with harsh question after harsh question."
"I felt like I had been exploited, set up in front of the whole world," Britney wrote. "That interview was a breaking point for me internally—a switch had been flipped. I honestly feel like that moment in my life should have been a time for growing—and not sharing everything with the world. But I had no choice. It seemed like nobody really cared how I felt."
E! News has reached out to reps for Diane for comment but has not yet heard back.
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The 2003 interview resurfaced in 2021 after it was featured in the 2021 New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears. And when revisited under a new lens nearly two decades later there was outcry over Diane's treatment of Britney as well as calls for her to apologize, though the journalist never did so publicly.
In addition to her interview with Diane, Britney gives an intimate look inside her rise to superstardom and subsequent 13-year conservatorship in The Woman in Me, detailing her relationship with Justin and sharing she had an abortion after becoming pregnant with Justin's baby and reflecting on asking her sister Jamie Lynn for help amid as she sought her freedom.
For more of the memoir's biggest bombshells, keep reading.