Justin Timberlake turned the heartache of a very public breakup into one of his most famous songs, the pop star reveals in a new book.
Timberlake said that he wrote the song “Cry Me a River” in just two hours after his split with Britney Spears, which the Daily Mail noted came amid rumors that she cheated on him. The pair split in 2002 after being one of the most iconic couples at the turn of the millennium, and Timberlake now reveals that the heartache made the perfect inspiration for his song.
“I’ve been scorned. I’ve been pissed off. The feelings I had were so strong I had to write it,” Timberlake wrote in the book Hindsight: And All The Things I Can’t See in Front of Me. “I translated my feelings into a form where people could listen and hopefully relate to it. People heard me and they understood it because we’ve all been there.”
Justin Timberlake didn’t actually name Britney Spears in the passage and has rarely spoken about the headline-grabbing breakup for the former teenage pop stars. Because Timberlake refused to give details about the meaning behind “Cry Me a River,” it fueled rumors even more that Justin was spilling his heart out about the breakup and Britney’s alleged cheating.
The controversy around the song could have blown up even more, Bustle revealed in a story earlier this year. The outlet noted that Britney planned to release a response of sorts to the song in 2004, but it was only played once when Britney made a visit to a Los Angeles radio station. As the report noted, the song was clearly a reference to Justin Timberlake and sounded like “the love child of ‘Cry Me A River’ and *NYSYNC’s ‘It’s Gonna Be Me.'”
I won’t say it out loud (because I can’t) but I’m so excited this is hitting bookstores in 2 DAYS. If you haven’t already... get that pre-order!! #Hindsight https://t.co/NZWRraEpCM pic.twitter.com/11m3xneKcs— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) October 28, 2018
The song, called “Mona Lisa,” hinted about her unhappiness with feeling controlled. Even the name “Mona Lisa” is one that Spears had used as a pseudonym, the report noted.
Like Justin, Britney has mostly been quiet about the relationship and the breakup, though she did give a bit of a shout-out to Justin recently. In a video posted to her Instagram page, Britney performed some gymnastics while one of Justin’s songs played in the background.
Though the breakup with Britney Spears was very hard on Justin Timberlake, it helped lead to a much happier relationship for the Grammy-winning singer. Timberlake met actress Jessica Biel five years later, and the two married in 2012. Timberlake said his wife “changed my life.”