Britney Spears Shot Her ‘Overprotected’ Music Video Minutes After Getting Justin Timberlake Breakup Text

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Pain and heartbreak have resulted in some of the most moving and seminal works in pop music history, and this appears to be true for Britney Spears, according to “Overprotected” music video director Chris Applebaum.

In an exclusive new clip from a forthcoming Impact x Nightline episode that details the aftermath of Spears’ memoir The Woman in Me, Applebaum recounts the fated breakup text that spurred an unforgettable performance.


“I walk into her trailer, and Britney’s not dressed for the next scene,” Applebaum recalls. “She’s not ready, her hair and makeup isn’t ready. She’s still in a Juicy Couture sweatsuit, and I could immediately tell something was wrong. I asked her if everything was OK, and she said, ‘No, things are not OK, because look,’ and she held out her flip phone and I saw this text which said, ‘It’s over,’ which was from her boyfriend at the time, Justin Timberlake.”

Timberlake and Spears dated from 1999 to 2002, and their coupling quickly became one of the most recognizable relationships in pop culture history. In her memoir, Spears recounts her entire relationship with the “Cry Me a River” singer, revealing some bombshells in the process. In The Woman in Me, Spears claimed that she had an abortion during their relationship. “If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it, and yet Justin was so sure that he didn’t want to be a father,” she wrote. “To this day, it’s one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced in my life.”

That shocking revelation wouldn’t be the last time Timberlake shattered Spears’ world. “It seemed like that was the end of the video shoot, and I acknowledged that with everybody,” Applebaum says. “But, on the other hand, if you feel like you wanna get out there and show him that he just lost the best thing that he ever had, let’s do it. Ten to 15 minutes later, she came out and she was on fire. This was the Britney that everybody knows and loves.”

Applebaum directed the music video for the song’s Darkchild remix. The clip featured references to both Spears’ passion for dance and the predatory nature of paparazzi. “Overprotected” — the second international single from 2001’s Britney album — ultimately peaked at No. 86 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned a Grammy nomination for best female pop vocal performance.

The forthcoming “It’s Britney” episode of Impact x Nightline will stream starting Thursday (Nov. 2) on Hulu and is set to feature exclusive first-hand accounts of Spears’ talent, work ethic and creative genius in the wake of the release of The Woman In Me. In addition to Applebaum, Dan George, the tour manager and creative producer behind Spears’ 2009 Circus Tour, also provides a first-hand account of Spears’ life and career around the time her conservatorship began.

Watch an exclusive clip from the upcoming Impact x Nightline “It’s Britney” episode above, and revisit the “Overprotected (Darkchild Remix)” video below.

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