In the music world, old grudges die hard, especially when it comes to devoted fans of a specific artist.
On Friday, Britney Spears’ 2011 song “Selfish” – off her seventh album “Femme Fatale” from that year – reached no. 1 on the US iTunes chart, topping a new song of the same name from her former boyfriend Justin Timberlake, who dropped his “Selfish” track just the day before.
On Saturday, Spears’ song was still holding steady at the no. 2 spot on the chart, two slots ahead of Timberlake at no. 4.
Why does this matter? Both a 2021 documentary titled “Framing Britney Spears” and a memoir by the singer published last year, titled “The Woman In Me,” reframed and pulled back the covers on Spears’ very high-profile, decades-old romance with Timberlake, with whom she starred on the Mickey Mouse Club as children and later dated from 1999 to 2002.
In the memoir, Spears talked about how the breakup of her relationship with Timberlake became very public due to infidelity on her part, but what the public didn’t know was that Timberlake had not been faithful either, Spears wrote in the memoir, and that she was aware of his indiscretions.
She also discussed how she had an abortion during her relationship with Timberlake, something she wrote she “never would have done” if it were up to her alone. “To this day, it’s one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced in my life,” she added in her book.
Those revelations came two years after the “New York Times Presents” Hulu documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” which also renewed focus on her breakup with Timberlake and how, at the time, the former *NSYNC member was portrayed more positively in the media narrative about their breakup while Spears was summarily vilified.
The documentary prompted Spears’ devoted fanbase – who became galvanized during the #FreeBritney movement toward the end of her 13-year-long conservatorship – to call for an apology from Timberlake, which he did days after the doc’s premiere, writing on social media at the time, “I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments and concerns and I want to respond.”
“I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right,” he continued, later adding, “I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears.”
Clearly, devotees of Spears are still rallying to show support for the “Piece of Me” singer.
For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com