The night before the game, Elliott endured a panic attack and ended up with "IVs in my arm, everything," she tells Billboard. "Nobody knew." She says it was God that helped her finally get onstage and own the stadium.
“I said, 'If I can get over this [first] step, then I know all my dance steps will be on point,'" she says. "I know it was nothing but the grace of God that lifted me up and took me through that performance."
Even if she did manage to perform for literally millions, there's one person she still can't spit in front of, at least in the studio: Frequent collaborator Timbaland.
"I never record in front of anybody," Elliott says. "Tim has never seen me record a day in his life."
Missy Elliott: The Billboard Cover Shoot
Read Billboard's full Missy Elliott cover story here. Missy will be honored with the Innovator award at Billboard's 2015 Women in Music event on Dec. 11, to be aired on Lifetime Dec. 18.