Britney Spears was born to make us happy, and for this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking back at one of her happiest interview moments, where, right before the February 2002 theatrical release of Crossroads, a jubilant 20-year-old Ms. Spears stopped by Oprah to discuss her life as the most famous pop star in the world.
The whole interview is full of the sweetness that Brit is known for, but I want to draw your attention to three specific moments that make this the perfect nostalgia hit from 2002.
1. This interview takes place just a few months after Spears’ instantly iconic, instantly parent-angering performance at the VMAs when she appeared with the python around her neck. Oprah Winfrey asked her if maybe that was a little too suggestive, but Spears wants everyone to know that she is shocked, simply shocked, by the outrage. The snake isn’t symbolizing anything! It’s a jungle theme, hello?
2. “You’ve said this in one of your songs, but do you feel like you’re between two worlds, the world of the girl and then moving into womanhood?” Winfrey, interviewer, asked Ms. Spears. “Well, that song was written for the movie,” Spears replies with a laugh, shrugging off the chance to go deep into her psyche. “I’m Not a Girl” is not Spears’ personal battle cry (that honor clearly belongs to “Lucky”). Everything we thought we knew is a lie!
3. On then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake: “I have a ring that he gave me that I wear on my pinky so he started calling me Pinky, and then I started calling him Stinky for some reason [laughs] so that’s our nicknames!”
Other things to watch for: Spears looking extremely uncomfortable as she explains she’s not losing her virginity until her wedding night, and then Winfrey kindly reminding her that it would be OK if she wound up changing her mind. (Warning: Very weird clip to watch in hindsight!) Bonus: A special taped appearance by Kim Cattrall, who played Spears’ mom in Crossroads and wants to tell Oprah’s audience that Spears is a “young, beautiful diva.”
Watch Spears navigate her “not a girl, not yet a woman” era below: