Can Justin Timberlake Sue Britney Spears For Her Bombshell Memoir Claims? A Lawyer Weighs In

Britney Spears' memoir, "The Woman in Me," has caused quite a stir, not least because of the many revelations about her early 2000s relationship with fellow singer Justin Timberlake. In her book, Spears revealed that Timberlake had cheated on her several times and also admitted that she was unfaithful too, with dancer Wade Robson. One of the more tragic details of the memoir was that Spears became pregnant during her three-year romance with Timberlake. 

Sadly, the pop star had an abortion predominantly due to her then-boyfriend not wanting to have a child at the time. In the days leading up to the memoir's release on October 24, 2023, an insider informed Page Six that the "Cry Me a River" hit-maker was concerned about what his ex would disclose about their time together. "He's very curious what she'll reveal from their relationship. It's eating at him," the source shared. 

Once "The Woman in Me" was finally unveiled to the world, another insider told Radar Online that Timberlake was even considering suing his ex over the revelations in the book. However, while speaking exclusively to The List, Los Angeles-based entertainment attorney Camron Dowlatshahi clarified why Timberlake likely wouldn't be able to follow through with battling Spears in court.

Timberlake would have to prove defamation

Justin Timberlake may want to go after Britney Spears for making him look bad in her memoir, "The Woman in Me," which was filled with surprising confessions particularly surrounding their high-profile relationship. Aside from the pregnancy that he allegedly encouraged her to terminate, Spears also alleged that the *NSYNC frontman used a "blaccent" when interacting with African-American musicians such as Ginuwine. Author and diversity consultant Mikki Kendall best described "blaccent" to CNN as "a term describing the fake accent racists and cultural appropriators use when they mimic Black people." 

If the former boyband star believes Spears falsely accused him of using a "blaccent," that could possibly paint him in a bad light, opening a discussion for defamation. However, lawyer Camron Dowlatshahi, founding partner at Mills Sadat Dowlat LLP of Los Angeles, says the singer would need evidence that Spears' claim is untrue.

"If he can prove the allegations are false, he can prevail on a defamation claim," Dowlatshahi explained to The List. However, "If he cannot prove her allegations are false, then she will be able to prevail on an anti-SLAPP motion, which could be costly, as he would have to pay her attorneys' fees. His claims would also get dismissed."

Spears could fire back with free speech claims

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press defines Anti-SLAPP laws as those that "provide defendants a way to quickly dismiss meritless lawsuits — known as 'SLAPPs' or 'Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation' — filed against them for exercising their First Amendment rights." Therefore, as attorney Camron Dowlatshahi pointed out, Spears could use this measure to fire back at Timberlake if he were to follow through with suing her. 

"First, Britney Spears may assert an anti-SLAPP motion, which protects free speech in matter of public interest, assuming she had less than a reckless disregard for the truth of the allegations. If the court grants such a motion, she would be able to recover her attorney's fees in bringing that motion, and the court would dismiss Timberlake's claims," Dowlatshahi detailed. But there is still a chance that Spears could lose her motion even in this instance. 

Nevertheless, given the public nature of their romance, the legal expert believes neither party would choose that route. If anything, a private settlement is more likely. Timberlake may simply wish to make amends with Spears. During the December 2023 grand opening of the Fontainebleau Las Vegas hotel, he said "No disrespect" before serenading the crowd with "Cry Me A River," which has long been believed to be about Spears (via Men's Journal).