I Accidentally Eavesdropped on Britney and Justin’s Love Talk…
“Justin Timberlake is everything, and what more could you want in a person? He’s funny. He’s cute. He’s great. He just understands. I get him and he gets me, and that’s cool.” -Britney Spears
“When we were together, it was bliss like something from a damn fairy tale.” –Justin Timberlake, Rolling Stone, January 2003
It was a rainy humid day in 1999 and the clock struck thirteen. I sat alone, at Doug Brown’s home, where I lived for close to a year, in Altamonte Springs, north of Orlando. Doug Brown worked as an associate manager with Johnny Wright. The two of them handled the early careers of the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Britney Spears, and many other pop icons under the direction of Lou Pearlman. Mr. Pearlman, however, is now serving a hella-long sentence for a Ponzi Scheme.
By far, I’d never felt so humbled by being around such a pool of incredible artists. Before I moved down to Orlando, Florida from East Hampton, NY, I remember how excited I was when Doug sent me the cassette-single, (remember them?) in the mail of the Backstreet Boys’s song “I’ll Never Break Your Heart”. The first time I met N’Sync, Doug came up to New York and they performed one of the best concerts I’d ever been to at the Nassau Coliseum. Guilty-pleasure Note: The Jacksons tribute N’Sync did made me an instant fan of theirs.
And boy do I remember when Johnny built a recreation compound for the artists, right next to his house. I don’t even have the words to describe it. The two-story structure had a movie theater, pimped-out game room, and all the luxuries of the type of place you’d see on MTV Cribs; a beautiful waterfall that spilled into a spa and pool, beach volleyball area, putting green, a gym, a bowling alley, recording studio, a choreography room, and a man-made lake with jet skis anxiously waiting to be dashed and splashed across the mosquito plagued lake. It had all the bells and whistles of a pop star paradise.
Joey Fatone of N’Sync had even given me a pair of fresh all-white Air Jordans. I guess he tossed them to me because he had so many free pairs from Nike and didn’t like them. I wore the soles of them kicks out to my bare feet. It was definitely an exciting time of my life when I lived with the co-manager of such phenomenal acts.
Just like I was one of the first people to know that Bobby Brown was dating Whitney Houston (intel courtesy of my friend, Smooth Bee), I also learned about the secret romance between Justin and Britney. I’m sure everyone in the camp knew but it was not public knowledge, yet. Random thought, Smooth also told me about the sparks that flew when Janet Jackson came to one of Bobby Brown’s shows during the My Prerogative days, but he would always make up stories because I was so quick to believe them-Bobby & Janet, Bobby & Holly Robinson-don’t know if any of it was true.
Anyway, I sat on the couch across from the kitchen mastering the art of dragon thumb and finger on a Tekken video game. Doug was at Trans Continental Records with N’Sync and Johnny working in the office. At that time, all of the acts used a Motorola two-way radio. And yes, you probably guess it, Doug left his at home, on the kitchen counter.
All of sudden, static crackled and the walkie-talkie came to life. “Baby, I can’t find it. I think I’m going to be late.”
Is that…Britney? Who is she talking to, I wondered.
“No, you’re going right,” another voice responded. “Keep on going, babe. I can’t wait to see you!”
Is that … Justin? I wondered. Wait-wait-wait-wait-wait! Omigod, they’re doing it? I know they’re not dating. That’s crazy! She’s so innocent. He has too much swag to be with a girl so sweet. Damnnnnnnn, Yoshimitshu just killed my character. You must focus, young one, focus. Restart new game-in a sec.
More convo was said, nothing x-rated, of course, they knew everyone was on the same channel on the two-way but they said enough that I was like, “Wow, those two are hot for each other.”
I couldn’t wait to see the two in the same room again at the office. Uh-huh, they think they’re slick. Does Britney’s mama know? I know. I know what you two are up too, little love-starved kids. Well, that’s old news, now. But I tell you, back then, when Doug, his wife, Lisa and the family all went down to Tampa to see Britney’s show, I critically watched every move Britney made, thinking, she’s doing that hip pump to Justin. Ooh, she’s blowing a kiss in the air to Justin, so stupid. Fun times. Always.
Like I said many times before, I live a Forest Gump life, meeting some of the most amazing humans on the planet.
Ace Antonio Hall is the author of the non-fiction book, Lord of the Flies: Fitness for Writers and a YA psycholigcal thriller, The Confessions of Sylva Slasher.
Sylva Slasher is the most troubled teenage necromancer in the world.