Britney reveals what really went on behind the scenes of her infamous 2007 VMAs performance

On the left, Britney Spears in 2013 smiling. On the right, Britney on stage during her 2007 VMA performance.

Princess of pop Britney Spears has revealed what really happened behind the scenes of her notorious performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards in her new memoir, The Woman In Me.

When Britney Spears took to the stage at the 2007 VMAs, her performance of Blackout’s lead single “Gimme More” instantly became one of the most infamous, and unsettling, pop star routines of the ‘00s.

The appeared to mime the song and move about lethargically, seeming unlike the Britney who had commanded the charts and the world’s biggest stages in the years prior. Her performance was globally panned by fans and critics alike.

Looking back, it’s understandable as to why Britney wasn’t at her best: it had been just six months since her public mental health breakdown, the death of her beloved aunt Sandra, and the fallout from her divorce from Kevin Federline and ensuing custody battle for her sons, Sean and Jayden.

Yet fans have always felt there was something more going on. When The Woman In Me was announced, what happened at the VMAs was one of the main things fans wanted to hear more about.

Britney performing at the 2007 VMAs.
Britney performing at the 2007 VMAs. (Getty/Jason Squires)

Rumours have long persisted about what was going on behind the scenes of the performance, with some saying Britney had missed rehearsals, and others believing she had got upset after seeing herself on camera before she went on stage.

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In the memoir, the 41-year-old “Toxic” singer reveals that there’s a bit of truth to both of those myths, but that her former boyfriend Justin Timberlake, who she dated from 1999 to 2002, also had something to do with it.

“It had been a while since I’d seen him,” she wrote in the book. “Everything was going great in his world. He was at the top of his game in every way, and he had a lot of swagger. I was having a panic attack. I hadn’t rehearsed enough. I hated the way I looked. I knew it was going to be bad.

“Justin glided down the runway,” Spears added. “He was flirting with girls in the audience, including one who turned around and arched her back, shaking her breasts as he sang to her.”

Timberlake won four awards that night.

An image showing Britney Spears alongside the cover of her new memoir The Woman In Me.
Britney’s new memoir, The Woman In Me. (

Britney also explained that “nothing was going right” behind the scenes and alluded to the fact that she wasn’t happy with the way she looked.

“There was a problem with my costume and with my hair extensions. I hadn’t slept the night before. I was dizzy. It was less than a year since I’d had my second baby in two years but everyone was acting like my not having six-pack abs was offensive,” she wrote.

“I couldn’t believe I was going to have to go out onstage feeling the way I felt.”

Despite seeming to have the world stacked against her, Britney has said she did “the best [she] could”.

“I went out there and did the best I could at that moment in time, which — yes, granted — was far from my best at other times,” she admitted. “I could see myself on video throughout the auditorium while I performed; it was like looking at myself in a fun-house mirror.”

Elsewhere in The Woman In Me, Britney revealed that she had an abortion during her relationship with Timberlake, claiming he did not want to become a father at the time.

She also gushed about her lifelong connection with and “unconditional love” for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Woman In Me is now available to buy at and Barnes & Noble.

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