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Britney Spears writes of abortion while dating Justin Timberlake in excerpts from upcoming memoir

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(AP) Britney Spears wrote that she had an abortion while dating Justin Timberlake more than 20 years ago, according to a peek inside her hotly anticipated memoir.

“If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it,” she writes of the procedure, according to the excerpt from “The Woman in Me” published Tuesday in People magazine. “And yet Justin was so sure that he didn’t want to be a father.”

The pregnancy “was a surprise, but for me, it wasn’t a tragedy,” she wrote in the excerpt, saying that she had wanted to start a family with Timberlake — it was just earlier than expected.

“But Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young,” she wrote. The couple broke up in 2002. It’s unclear when the pregnancy happened.

Representatives for Spears declined to offer further comment. Representatives for Timberlake did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press. The AP has not been able to independently review a copy of the “The Woman in Me” yet.

Spears, a prolific user of social media, has not posted to Instagram or X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, since the People stories were published.

In the excerpt published in People, she characterized the abortion as “one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced in my life.”

Spears’ long-awaited memoir will be published Oct. 24, just months after her divorce from Sam Asghari was announced and promising to shed light on the 41-year-old’s tumultuous decades in the spotlight.

“NO ONE KNOWS WHAT I REALLY THOUGHT … UNTIL NOW,” reads a teaser for the book she posted Sunday. The audiobook will be narrated by actor Michelle Williams.

Hailing from Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears rose to fame as a tween on “The Mickey Mouse Club,” alongside other future stars like Ryan Gosling and Timberlake — a trajectory chronicled in other excerpts published by People.

Despite some further attempts at acting — in the People excerpts, she says the lead in “The Notebook” came down to her and Rachel McAdams and that she was relieved when 2002’s “Crossroads” was “was pretty much the beginning and end of my acting career” — she found indelible stardom with her music career, starting with 1999’s “…Baby One More Time.”

She had two sons with Kevin Federline, but was placed under a court-ordered conservatorship — mostly under the supervision of her father — that controlled her life, money and voice after public breakdowns. That conservatorship would last nearly 14 years, ending in late 2021, after a swelling #FreeBritney movement that helped secure new limits on conservatorships in California.

Many of Spears’ allegations against her father and others who operated the conservatorship are expected to be heard in a civil trial scheduled for next year.

A 2021 documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” included an old interview in which Timberlake spoke of sleeping with a former girlfriend and indicated he ridiculed her in his “Cry Me A River” music video. That sparked a backlash in which fans accused the former NSYNC member of contributing to Spears’ breakdown and also renewed ire about his role in Janet Jackson’s so-called wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Subsequently, he apologized to Spears and Jackson “because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”

A few months later, as Spears revealed long-guarded secrets about what she described as an “abusive” conservatorship in court, Timberlake tweeted his support.

“After what we saw today, we should all be supporting Britney at this time,” he posted in June 2021. “Regardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long ago it was… what’s happening to her is just not right.”

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