The complicated ‘falling upwards’ of Justin Timberlake.

“When Justin began making his first solo album, Justified, he started being very standoffish with me,” she recalled. “I think that was because he decided to use me as ammunition for his record, and so it made it awkward for him to be around me, staring at him with all that affection and devotion.”

Unsurprisingly, his biggest single of this period directly addressed their 2002 split. In ‘Cry Me A River’, Timberlake sings about the end of their relationship and in the video, he cast a Spears look-a-like.

Spears later said she was blindsided by the video. She felt the song gave an unfair depiction of her, but said Timberlake was a clever marketer. He knew that’d sell records, and he was right.

In The Woman in Me, Spears described the video turning her into a “harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy,” when she was actually “comatose in Louisiana” with a broken heart while he was “happily running around Hollywood”.

In an interesting passage, Spears wrote that she believed Timberlake — and NSYNC, as a whole — “tried too hard” to fit in with Black artists at their peak. She recalled a cringeworthy moment in which Timberlake altered his speech, using what is known as a “blaccent”, when meeting R&B musician Ginuwine.

“Fo-shiz fo-shiz what’s up homie!” she recalled him saying.

After their breakup, the ‘Cry Me A River’ video controversy landed Timberlake a radio interview for the Star and Buc Wild Morning Show. An urban contemporary show, it was a space Timberlake would never have found himself during his boy band days and he clearly enjoyed being there.