While chatting with Entertainment Tonight at an event for his upcoming film, Barbarian, this week, Justin opened up about how “easygoing” and “normal” the pop star was back in the day — and how her personality compares to today.
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The performers starred in Crossroads together in 2002. The film followed three girls, Lucy, Kit, and Mimi — played by Britney, Taryn Manning, and Zoe Saldana, respectively — as they embarked on a cross-country road trip to LA. Justin played Lucy’s old friend and short fling, Henry.
Ahh, the nostalgia!
You can also check out one of their scenes (below)!
LOLz! They go way back, so what does Justin have to say about Britney then vs. now?!
Reflecting on the time spent filming the romantic dramedy, the F is Family alum gushed about the most significant part of the singer’s personality he quickly picked up on, saying:
“I remember her being so down-to-earth, like disarmingly down-to-earth.”
This was at the height of the Oops… I Did It Again vocalist’s career, too, so the fact that she was so down-to-earth is quite telling! No diva behavior here! The 44-year-old insisted Britney was a “normal” girl despite the bright spotlight she was under — and even blamed the paparazzi for affecting her mental health and causing her downfall, adding:
“I remember being struck by how normal and easygoing she seemed for all the hoopla surrounding her, and then a couple years later seeing what the paparazzi did to her, it was really sad that we live in that kind of culture that can do that to a human being. She was so nice to everyone.”
It is so sad. It must have been hard to see a co-star go through everything from a distance…
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Justin has gotten candid about his experience with the Princess of Pop. Back in 2020, he wrote a lengthy Instagram post full of “memories” from the set of the flick, focusing mainly on the mother of two’s kindness towards him and others on set, including when they first met:
“I remember being slightly nervous to work with Britney Spears – she was such a massive star in 2002 (as she still is). When she introduced herself to me in the makeup trailer, I was disarmed by how sweet and NOT famous she seemed – just a nice girl (not yet a woman) from Louisiana. She immediately made me feel comfortable.”
Aw, so sweet!
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Unfortunately, Justin also had a front-row seat to Brit’s struggle with the media. During their time together, he grew to know her so well he noticed physical and personality differences the now-40-year-old would exhibit when her environment changed, noting:
“Britney seemed to get exponentially more tense (totally understandably) whenever we walked off set with her bodyguard ‘Big something’ (my memory is so bad but I remember really liking him – a massive, warm, friendly, terrifying guy). People would clamor to get to her and paparazzi were constantly lurking behind trees, in bushes, etc.”
Ugh. Nobody deserves such a lack of privacy, especially a 19 or 20-year-old (the age the superstar was when filming). The New Girl alum kept tabs on the Grammy winner over the years, finding it particularly painful to watch as she battled with paps and was placed into a conservatorship at her lowest of lows in 2008, adding:
“Years later, when the tabloid frenzy surrounding Britney reached a fever pitch, I remember feeling so sorry for her. Nobody deserves to be hounded and harassed like that – least of all a very sweet person – one who behaved kindly towards a young nervous actor who occupied a much lower rung on the hierarchical ladder of that film set.”
Sounds like she really left a positive impression! Sad looking back knowing how tough things have gotten for her! Thoughts?
[Image via Movieclips/TODAY/The Late Late Show/YouTube]