Britney Spears is aware of The New York Times' newly released documentary about her life.
A source tells ET that the 39-year-old singer first heard about Framing Britney Spears through her team. The unauthorized project premiered on FX and Hulu last Friday and explores everything from Britney's rise to fame to her portrayal in the media, along with her ongoing conservatorship battle with her father, Jamie Spears.
"She's always made aware of any important new releases that pertain to her life and career, and this was no different," the source says. "She hasn't seen the documentary because she never likes to focus on what others say about her."
One topic from the documentary that a lot of fans on social media have been reacting to is Britney's former relationship with *NSYNC superstar Justin Timberlake. Footage from the early 2000s shows Britney being put in the hot seat and questioned about her role in the highly publicized breakup, while Justin was seemingly idolized.
During a sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer from 2003, for example, Britney is asked, "Justin has gone on television and pretty much said you broke his heart. You did something that caused him so much pain, so much suffering. What did you do?" Meanwhile, in a New York radio interview, Justin was asked if he and Britney had ever slept together, to which he jokingly replied, "OK, yeah, I did it!"
"Watching the #BritneySpears documentary and I am legit disgusted by Justin Timberlake and how he dragged Britney through the mud like that," one fan tweeted, with another adding, "Damn, Justin Timberlake really was the villain when it came to Britney Spears. Smh."
ET's source says that Britney has "no interest in getting involved with any details being discussed about her past relationship with Justin Timberlake."
"She wouldn't want her fans to speak negatively about him because she has the utmost respect for both Justin and his wife [Jessica Biel]. She laughed about how people are talking about it now. It happened so long ago," the source adds. "Right now, Britney's focused on getting some new projects off the ground. And, as always, her dance moves and choreography."
Ahead of the doc's release, a post shared to Britney's Instagram account last month showed her dancing around in her home to JAY-Z's 2013 song, "Holy Grail," which features vocals from Justin. "Danced in my black 🐢 neck last week to HOLY GRAIL !!!! I KNOW … turtle necks are SO ME 😂💁🏼♀️✨💃🏼," she captioned it, tagging her ex's Instagram handle.
The post came less than a year after Britney reflected on their breakup via Instagram, while praising his track "Filthy" last April.
"This is my version of Snapchat or TikTok or whatever the cool thing you're supposed to do these days ????!!!!! As you can see I’m not really dancing folks …… I’m just very bored," she wrote. "PS I know we had one of the world's biggest breakups 20 years ago …… but hey the man is a genius !!!! Great song JT ✨ !!!!"
Justin responded at the time, commenting on the post with a simple crying-laughing emoji and a few raised hands.
https://www.instagram.com/p/B_BFalSg_5c> View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears)
Samantha Stark, producer-director of Framing Britney Spears, told ET earlier this month that The New York Times attempted to reach out to Britney directly, but did not conduct an interview with her for the documentary.
"Since Britney has such a tight circle around her, in part because of the conservatorship, or it's allowed to be that way because of the conservatorship, journalists haven't really been able to interview her freely," she said. "We, as The New York Times, haven't interviewed her because we want to be able to do it freely, with no one trying to adjust what she says or anything. And it just feels like you can't ask Britney."
The NYT also reached out to the following people or their representatives, who did not respond to or declined requests to be interviewed on camera for the documentary: Jamie Spears, Lynne Spears, Jamie Lynn Spears, Bryan Spears, Andrew Wallet, Samuel D. Ingham III and Sam Lutfi.
Hear more in the video below.
Reporting by Adriane Schwartz.
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