Britney Spears is reflecting on one of the most iconic moments of her career.
While fans undoubtedly remember her performing “I’m a Slave 4 U” with an albino Burmese python wrapped around her shoulders, Spears shares in her upcoming memoir what that iconic moment at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards actually felt like — and says it was genuinely “terrifying.”
“The plan was for me to sing ‘I’m a Slave 4 U,’ and we decided I would use a snake as a prop,” writes Spears in an excerpt of her memoir, “The Woman in Me,” published Tuesday by People.
“It’s become an iconic moment in VMAs history, but it was even more terrifying than it appeared,” she continues. “All I knew was to look down, because I felt if I looked up and caught its eye, it would kill me.”
Despite a surprise appearance by Michael Jackson, Spears and her seemingly effortless snake-charming stole the show.
“In my head I was saying, Just perform, just use your legs and perform,” Spears, who was 19 at the time, writes in her memoir. “But what nobody knows is that as I was singing, the snake brought its head right around to my face, right up to me, and started hissing.”
She continues: “I was thinking, Are you fucking serious right now? The fucking goddamn snake’s tongue is flicking out at me. Right. Now. Finally, I got to the part where I handed it back, thank God.”
The snake itself was, hilariously, named Banana.
The moment is clearly visible around the 3-minute mark in official footage from MTV. But die-hard fans won’t have to rely on old recordings for new Spears stories much longer — she is set to candidly dish on her life and career in “The Woman in Me,” which hits shelves Oct. 24.
The millennial pop star has been on an extensive promotional run for the upcoming memoir, which her publisher says will explore “the impact of sharing her voice” in court battles over her controversial conservatorship and how “it changed the course of her life.”
Spears has already shared a handful of illuminating excerpts from the book, writing about the drinking habits of her parents, why she really shaved her head in 2007 — and saying ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake once urged her to get an abortion.
The audiobook version will be narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Michelle Williams.