Pop icon Britney Spears has opened up about the painful experience she kept secret for 20 years.

PEOPLE reports that in her memoir The Woman in Me, the pop icon reveals that while dating Justin Timberlake, she became pregnant with his child but had an abortion.

” It was unexpected for me but not a tragedy. I was very much in love with Justin. Of course, I always expected we would have a family one day. Only it would happen much sooner than I expected, ” Spears, now 41, writes about the pregnancy in the book. ” Yet Justin was not thrilled about the pregnancy. He stated that we were not ready to have a child, that we were too young.”

A spokesperson for Timberlake did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

According to the book, she writes, “If it were left solely to me, I would never have done it. And yet Justin was sure he didn’t want to be a father.”

About abortion, Spears writes the following: ” To this day, it is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my life.”

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After Spears and Timberlake split in 2002, she became a mother and gave birth to two sons – Sean Preston, 18, and Jayden James, 17 – by her second husband, Kevin Federline.

The flashbacks come nearly two years after Spears was released from custody, which had been in effect for 13 years by court order. The guardianship was terminated in November 2021 after Spears gave compelling testimony in court in June 2021.

The singer’s memoir “reveals for the first time the incredible journey and power behind one of the greatest female performers in pop history,” according to a press release from Gallery Books, it “illuminates the enduring power of music and love, and the importance of a woman telling her story on her terms.”