"I could just see that this wasn't her. Like, I'm not looking at the person I knew from years and years ago."

Rachel Simon
Jul 16, 2021 @ 1:00 pm
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Credit: Axelle Bauer-Griffin, Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In the time since the documentary Framing Britney Spears was released and the #FreeBritney movement took on a bigger life than ever, many stars have come out in support of Spears, from Miley Cyrus to Christina Aguilera. And now, the singer's fellow '90s pop star, AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys, has weighed in on the matter—while also sharing a heartbreaking story about the way Spears looked and seemed the last time the two saw each other in person.

Speaking on SiriusXM's Andy Cohen Live yesterday, July 14, McLean revealed that he often runs into Spears because they live in the same neighborhood, including at a cupcake shop they both frequent. And while the musicians don't typically talk, McLean said he decided to strike up a conversation during their most recent interaction.

"Went in, she was there, she looked right at me and I was like, 'Hey, it's AJ,'" he recalled, speaking to Cohen. "And she just kind of had this glass face. Like, she just didn't know who was there. It took her a minute. And then she realized it was me, and we hugged and we talked for a brief moment, but I could just see that this wasn't her. Like, I'm not looking at the person I knew from years and years ago."

McLean also expressed his sadness and frustration over Spears' "asinine" and "completely brutal" ongoing conservatorship drama, adding that he is "100 percent team Britney." He noted Spears' allegation that she isn't allowed to talk to other members of the AA meetings she's attended, in particular, as "BS" that goes against the core of the program's theme of fellowship.

"We lean on each other, we look up to each other for support and... if somebody were to take that from me, it would really be difficult for me to stay sober, honest to god... I just wish [that] for her, honestly," said McLean.

Elsewhere in the interview, the singer also referred to Spears' claim that she's forbidden from removing her IUD, calling it "physical abuse" and "grotesque."

"I really feel in my heart that she's going to break free of all of this, and I really hope that she does. She's a sweetheart," he said.

Here's hoping she can soon. On July 14, Spears' request to hire a new layer was approved by a Los Angeles court, leading the star to celebrate with cartwheels and horseback riding in a widely seen Instagram video. In it, she thanked her fans for their support, said things were "coming along," and most excitingly, used the "FreeBritney" hashtag for the very first time.

It's great to see Spears feeling optimistic about her future, and hopefully, she's taking strength and comfort from the support she's receiving from so many people, famous and not.