Why Fans Are Revisiting Britney Spears's "Everytime" After Her Abortion Revelation

Content warning: This post contains mentions of suicide.

Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears were arguably the most popular couple of the late '90s and early 2000s. Between their childhood sweethearts love story, matching denim outfits, and sweet moments together, there really was nothing not to obsess over. While many fans expected to see them together for years to come, their romance ended abruptly in 2002. It didn't take long for cheating rumors to surface, and Timberlake didn't deny or try to hide the fact that Spears broke his heart. In a 2002 "20/20" interview with Barbara Walters, the "Bye Bye Bye" singer gave a very vague answer when asked if Spears had been unfaithful during their relationship. "Honestly, you know, we're not perfect. I don't judge anybody. It's just young love," he said. ". . . It was a very intense relationship, that's for sure."

Timberlake poured his heartache into his music and released the scathing 2002 breakup track "Cry Me a River" shortly after his split from Spears. While he's never confirmed whether the song is definitely about his ex, the lyrics were pretty clear ("You don't have to say what you did / I already know, I found out from him"), and the blond Spears look-alike in the music video spoke volumes.

The following year, Spears appeared to respond with her own song, "Everytime," which some thought to be confirmation that she cheated on Timberlake. With lyrics like, "I may have made it rain / Please forgive me," and the music video of her attempting suicide, she was very honest about how devastated she was at the time. However, new revelations about the former couple's relationship from her tell-all book, "The Woman in Me" (out Oct. 24), have fans thinking "Everytime" has a different, much deeper message.

Ahead, we break down the theories behind Spears's heartbreaking track, the most notable song aimed at Timberlake.

Is Britney Spears's "Everytime" Song About Justin Timberlake?

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In Spears's memoir, she reveals that she got pregnant while dating Timberlake and ultimately had an abortion. "It was a surprise, but for me, it wasn't a tragedy. I loved Justin so much. I always expected us to have a family together one day," she writes, per an excerpt published by People. "This would just be much earlier than I'd anticipated. But Justin definitely wasn't happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren't ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young."

She continues: ". . . 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." Spears also describes her abortion as "one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced in my life." Reps for Timberlake did not respond to POPSUGAR's request for comment about Spears's claims.

With this new information in mind, Spears's fans are reanalyzing "Everytime," with some speculating that the lyrics weren't just directed toward Timberlake, but to her aborted child as well. At the end of the song, she sings, "My weakness caused you pain / And this song's my sorry" and "And every time I see you in my dreams / I see your face / You're haunting me / I guess I need you, baby," leading some to believe she's talking about her abortion. Some fans online have also theorized that the soft instrumental that Spears's remorseful lyrics are set to could function as a lullaby.

Moreover, at the end of the "Everytime" video, Spears walks into a hospital room where a woman has just given birth, which could've been a clue about the singer's unknown pregnancy at the time and desire to keep her baby.

Spears and Timberlake have both moved on since their breakup. The former welcomed two kids with her now ex-husband Kevin Federline and most recently married Sam Asghari in June 2022 (though they're divorcing). Meanwhile, Timberlake has been married to Jessica Biel since 2012.