Justin Timberlake s New Single Drown Touches On His Relationship With Britney Spears 912

Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears.
Getty Images (2)

Justin Timberlake’s new single “Drown” seems to hint at a past failed relationship — and some fans think the singer may be referencing ex Britney Spears.

“Drown” was dropped on Friday, February 23, and the track will be featured on his upcoming album, Everything I Thought It Was, which is set to be released on March 15.

The lyrics in “Drown,” which Timberlake cowrote with Louis Bell, Henry Walter, Amy Allen and Kenyon Dixon, reflect on a romance that once crashed and burned after a former partner “showed” him who they “really were.”

“You left me alone out in thе dark with all of your demons,” Timberlake sings in the first chorus of the song. “Got caught up in the tidе of all the tears you cried / You know I was blinded by my heart, sinking from the start / Should’ve never followed you this far, now I’m in the deep end.”

In the second verse, Timberlake croons that he should have “never followed” his ex “this far” but was “blinded by his heart” — and is now stuck in the “deep end.”

The subject matter has led some fans to speculate if the former boy bander is referencing his messy breakup with Spears, 42, on the track. The pair dated from 1999 to 2002 before calling it quits amid rumors Spears cheated on Timberlake with choreographer Wade Robson.

Timberlake also questions if the romance could have worked out if things were different. “Sometimes I sit and fantasize / Maybe sometime in another life / We could’ve got it right, got it right,” the bridge decrees.

While Timberlake never officially confirmed who the song was about, the release comes nearly four months after Spears dropped her tell-all memoir, The Woman in Me. In the book, Spears revealed details about her and Timberlake’s romance, including claims that she had an abortion and that Timberlake had cheated on her multiple times and broke up with her over text. (Following the book’s release, a source told Us Weekly that Timberlake had no clue he would be featured so much in the book.

Britney Spears Justin Timberlake: A Timeline Their Ups Downs

Related: Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake: A Timeline of Their Ups and Downs

Alexa, play “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake — and then, cue up “Everytime” by Britney Spears. Timberlake and Spears called it quits two decades ago, but fans are still invested in their rocky romance. The former boy bander and pop princess met in the early ’90s while filming The Mickey Mouse Club. In […]

“Justin thought Britney might talk about their ups and downs in more general terms – not air out their very personal, dirty laundry,” the insider explained in October 2023. “He’s disappointed she went this route decades after they split up.”

Another source claimed that Timberlake – who shares sons Silas and Phineas with wife Jessica Biel – feels remorseful but hopes they can move past this.

“Justin regrets that he hurt Britney. He was young,” the second source shared with Us. “He thinks Britney has every right to tell her story and hopes they can move on now.”

While Timberlake faced backlash after Spears’ memoir, she seemed to issue him an apology last month.

Inside Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake s Reignited Feud

Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.
KMazur/WireImage

“I wanna apologize for some of the things I wrote about in my book,” Spears captioned an Instagram post at the time, which included a clip of Timberlake performing during a “Classroom Instruments” segment on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “If I offended any of the people I genuinely care about I am deeply sorry. Also wanted to say I am in love with Justin Timberlake’s new song ‘Selfish.’ It is so good and how come every time I see Justin and Jimmy together I laugh so hard ???”

Shortly after Spears’ appeared to say sorry, Timberlake performed a concert in New York. While introducing his 2002 song “Cry Me a River,” which seemingly alludes to his breakup with Spears, Timberlake spoke to the audience.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to absolutely f–king nobody,” he said, per footage shared via social media.

Spears quickly retracted her apology afterward.

“Someone told me someone was talking s–t about me on the streets !!!” the singer wrote via Instagram on February 1. “Do you want me to bring it to the court or will you go home crying to your mom like you did last time ??? I’m not sorry !!!”

“Drown” wouldn’t be the first time Timberlake allegedly sang about his split from Spears. “Cry Me a River,” off his 2002 album Justified, seemingly accused the pop star of infidelity, with Timberlake casting a Spears lookalike as the female lead in the music video. “What Goes Around … Comes Around,” off his second solo record, FutureSex/Love Sounds, also appeared to reference their relationship.

Spears opened up about being the subject of Timberlake’s early ‘00s music in The Woman in Me, saying Timberlake got “power” from “shaming” her for the breakup. Spears wrote that although her managers tried to portray her as “an eternal virgin” — despite losing her virginity at the age of 14 — she was subsequently labeled as a “cheating slut” and a liar after Timberlake publicly confirmed their relationship was sexual.

Timberlake, for his part, shared in his own 2018 memoir, Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me, that he wrote “Cry Me a River” after feeling “scorned” and “pissed off” about the split. “The feelings I had were so strong that I had to write it, and I translated my feelings into a form where people could listen and, hopefully, relate to it,” he wrote. “People heard me and they understood it because we’ve all been there.”