She answers, clarifying that Jackson and Federline weren’t “technically together” when she started dating him. Lauer throws in one final comment: “Do you ever stop and think, ‘He left someone else when she was a couple of months pregnant?’ Does that ever cross your mind?” Then, in a voiceover, he says Federline “left his pregnant girlfriend to be with said pop star.” Never mind that Spears had just flat-out denied this.
Lauer later straight-up asks Spears, “What do you see in him? What is it about Kevin that makes you love him?” He then inquires, “Do you get the sense, Britney, that people are rooting against this marriage?” and, “Do you think there’s a sense, Britney, that some people who love you and have watched you grow up…get some feeling that he’s not good enough for you?” Spears looks visibly upset talking about this, to which Lauer says, “You look at me sometimes when I say things like that almost like a little puppy dog.”
Placing blame on Spears is a major theme throughout these interviews. When talking about the media’s treatment of her, Lauer wonders, “Was there something you did that brought it on [the negative press]?” He makes references to the public thinking she’s a “redneck.” Brit’s thoughts on all this: “At a certain point in everyone’s career, they’ll get it.”
The Britney Spears–Matt Lauer interview was branded as Spears taking control of her narrative–a hit back at the tabloids that were doggedly slamming her for years. In many ways, it is that. But Dateline also feeds the beast. It willfully highlights invasive paparazzi photos of Federline and Spears making out—not in public or outside, but on their private hotel balcony. The language around Spears’s mothering is also explosive. On the topic of Spears driving with her son, Sean, in her lap, Lauer says, “What happened, though, is it crossed from a paparazzi incident into [the] next day, it’s in the newspapers and you have all these legitimate people weighing in saying, ‘You know what? That’s dangerous. She put her child at risk.’”
Lauer also asks about an incident where Spears tripped while walking and holding her son. “It was a close call,” he says. “It seemed as if for a second…”
“Accidents happen,” Spears replies. “Stuff happens with kids. It’s reality. Unfortunately, not everybody has 80 cameras on them 24/7.”
You can watch the full Matt Lauer-Britney Spears interview in parts on YouTube, but you don’t have to sit through all 40+ minutes to get the gist. You just have to know how it ends. “What do you think?” Lauer says directly to the camera. “When it comes to Britney Spears, have the paparazzi gone too far? We want you to tell us by voting on our website.”