The matching denim outfits on the red carpet gave us an idea that what Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake had back in the era of boy bands and MTV’s TRL was something special. And the director of Britney’s cult classic film Crossroads has now confirmed that their teen romance was one for the ages. Tamra Davis, the director of Britney’s 2002 star vehicle, told Broadly in an interview this week that the love between the singers was the real deal. Well, at least for a couple of kids who had known each other since 1993, when they met as tween co-stars on The Mickey Mouse Club. By the time the movie was made, they were heading into their twenties, and had been dating for several years, seriously for about two years. Still, Britney was crazy enough about JT that she constantly doodled about him in a diary that Davis had asked her to keep in the voice of her character. “I have the book,” Davis explained. “All she was writing was ‘Britney and Justin,’ all these little curlicues. It was like looking at a teenage girl’s musings — hearts and butterflies and Justin’s name.” Still, Davis understood that their love was about more than getting good PR. She saw the two interacting during Timberlake’s many days on the set.
“It was just the most beautiful relationship, seeing the two of them together and how lovey they were,” Davis said. “They were just so close, and she was such a supporter of his. He worked just as hard as her. It was like, she would be doing rehearsals and he would be doing rehearsals. They really knew that life together.” The couple ended their relationship, citing conflicting schedules, just about the time the movie was released in February 2002. His song “Cry Me a River” released later that year seemed to accuse her of cheating as well. Fresh off their split, in June 2002, Justin admitted to People that he couldn’t even bear to use the words “break up,” because it hurt “too bad to say it.” “You get to a point where you’re crying yourself to sleep at night,” he said, acknowledging that all the media attention made it harder. “I feel like I’m in the middle of a soap opera. I honestly know what it’s like to have a broken heart now.” Meanwhile, Britney told the same publication in September 2002 that their demise had been just as rough on her.”[The breakup] was horrible. Very upsetting and it took a lot out of me,“ she said. “He was my first real love, and I doubt I’ll ever be able to love anyone like that ever again. But I’d rather spend two days with my soulmate than the rest of my life with some guy who doesn’t mean as much.” Justin, of course, is now married to actress Jessica Biel, the mother of his 11-month-old son Silas. His former love is currently single, although she has two sons, 10-year-old Sean Preston and Jayden James, 9, with ex-husband Kevin Federline. And she’s still going strong!