Britney Spears Says Justin Timberlake Gave Her a 5-Minute 'Pep Talk' Before 2001 MTV VMAs

Britney Spears famously performed "I'm a Slave 4 U" with a python around her neck during the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards

Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake
Photo: getty (2)

Britney Spears is looking back at her iconic performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards.

On Thursday, the "Toxic" singer, 39, shared a series of throwback photos taken from the star-studded awards ceremony, including several shots of herself sitting down with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger for a red carpet interview.

In the caption of her Instagram post, the pop star reflected on the experience and shared that then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake had provided her some words of encouragement before the big show.

"I will tell you this ... before I went on that night I was feeling kinda out of body with nerves," recalled Spears, who performed her hit "I'm a Slave 4 U" with live animals — including an albino Burmese python — on stage.

Britney Spears performs 2001 MTV Video Music Awards - Show
Kevin Kane/WireImage

"... I mean ... I was in a cage with a live lion 🦁😳 !!!!!" she wrote. "Justin saw I could hardly talk so he held my hand and gave me a 5 minute pep talk which obviously worked 🤷🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️🦁🦁🦁🌹🌹🌹 !!!!!"

In her throwback post, Spears also touched on her chat with Jagger, now 78.

"Geez ... this is me before my VMAs performance with @MickJagger 20 years ago !!!!" she remarked, before adding that the Dolce & Gabbana dress she wore to the event is one of her all-time favorite looks because "it's simple black lace."

Spears ended her note by joking that she must've been "sleeping 💤 because my eyes are closed in half of these pics 😂😂😂 !!!!"

Britney Spears and Mick Jagger
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

RELATED GALLERY: Britney Spears and the VMAs: A History

The 2001 MTV VMAs was certainly a big night for Spears. The show marked the first time Spears performed "I'm a Slave 4 U" live.

When asked about the performance during her sit-down with Jagger that night, Spears said that it was something very "different" for her considering that she was incorporating live animals into her act.

"I'm being very brave tonight, so it's very interesting," she said at the time.

Earlier this year, Spears pulled inspiration from her memorable VMAs performance by rocking a lime green and black snakeskin catsuit in one of her Instagram videos, joking in the caption, "I held a snake at the @VMAs one time but decided to go ahead 20 years later and become the motherf---ing snake myself 🐍🐍🐍 !!!!"

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