Justin Timberlake And Duran Duran Co-Wrote A Song Mocking Britney Spears In 2007

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Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears

Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears’s teenaged relationship and breakup has been the subject of increasing analysis in recent months as her ongoing conservatorship battle has remained front and center in the public eye.

And many are just now learning that while Spears was facing one of her most traumatic years in the press back in 2007, Timberlake was probing his ex’s mental health issues in a song he co-wrote with Duran Duran.

The pair was one of the most loved celebrity couples of the late '90s and early 2000s, but their high-profile breakup has generated Timberlake some long-overdue backlash in recent months.

While Timberlake may have finally apologized and extended his well-wishes to Spears, there are still those who haven't forgotten the way he capitalized on the dramatization of her rehab stint in a song called “Falling Down.”

Yes, in 2007, Justin Timberlake and Duran Duran co-wrote a song called "Falling Down" based on Britney Spears.

After the song and music video were released, speculation arose that Spears was the muse for the track.

In an interview with People Magazine that year, Duran Duran confirmed that they had based the song, which they co-wrote with Timberlake, loosely on Spears. Timberlake also produced the track.

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The lyrics of “Falling Down” are based, at least in part, on Spears’s mental breakdown.

As the song title suggests, the song is about a woman's personal downfall and the lyrics seem all too familiar if you’re familiar with what Spears was going through at the time of its release.

Spears was being stalked and taunted by invasive paparazzi and journalists, all while grappling with mental health issues.

The song lyrics read as a cry for help in the midst of a public breakdown:

“I'm falling down / With people standing round / But before I hit the ground / Is there time / Could I find someone out there to help me?”

The music video seems to depict Spears’s own rehab stint.

The music video features some not-so-subtle references to Spears and other embattled female stars, including Kate Moss, Lindsay Lohan and Amy Winehouse.

A sunglasses-wearing Spears lookalike shows up to a rehab facility in a limo, accompanied by security guards and a boyfriend. She is seen lashing out at doctors all while other models receive what appears to be mental health treatment.

“Well, put it this way,” Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes said laughing when asked if Kate Moss served as inspiration back in October 2007, “she doesn’t appear in the video, but she and Lindsay (Lohan) and Britney and Amy (Winehouse) have all provided us with inspiration."

“Falling Down is a satirical, social, pop-cultural commentary," Rhodes continued. “Isn’t it funny that these stars suddenly disappear in a clinic and you don’t hear from them any more?”

Um, not really...

The video even goes on to show the main character being forced to take drugs, something Spears has now claimed happened to her while under her conservatorship.

Perhaps the most obvious nod to Spears is a shot of her lookalike lying in a bathtub in the facility, an apparent reference to Spears’s 2003 music video for “Everytime.”

In the video for her song, Spears takes her own life while taking a bath. The song itself is believed to be about her breakup from Timberlake, making his mocking of it all the more painful.

RELATED: Britney Spears Testifies Her Conservators Won’t Let Her Remove Her IUD As She Begs To Be Freed

Duran Duran confirmed ‘Falling Down’ was about Spears in multiple interviews.

“I suppose it’s loosely based on her, but not [only] on one celebrity — just celebrity culture in general,” drummer Roger Taylor said of the song and video while speaking with People.

He added that many young stars enter rehab so the video was meant to represent a fantasized version of this reality.

Lead singer Simon Le Bon added that he hadn’t spoken to Timberlake about the video after its release, but assumed he would be pleased.

“I haven’t spoken to him since the video has been made public," Le Bon said, "But he likes his pretty girls, so he probably would like it.”

He also commented on Spears’s mental health issues which were ongoing at the time.

“I just wish she could accept help,” Le Bon added. “It seems that all the people who care about her, she’s pushing away.”

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Timberlake had already penned music about Spears.

Timberlake’s most famous musical reference to Spears remains “Cry Me A River,” the song used to launch his solo career in 2002.

In the lyrics and the music video, which also features a Spears lookalike, Timberlake hints that he knows his ex-girlfriend cheated on him.

Archived interview clips from this time that were shown in the “Framing Britney Spears” documentary also show Timberlake insinuating he had a sexual relationship with Spears, despite her claims that she was waiting until marriage.

These comments and cheating allegations led to Spears being relentlessly criticized in the press.

The video for “Falling Down” offers a somewhat sympathetic take on issues many female stars experience, albeit glamorized and in mocked.

Equally, Timberlake may not have had creative control over the video as he doesn’t actually star in it, although given he was the song's producers, that may be a tough one for many to believe.

Either way, given that Timberlake’s previous references to Spears in his music and interviews added to the damaging media representations of the troubled star, it does seem in poor taste for Timberlake and Duran Duran to capitalize on her struggles yet again by making a video framed around Spears.

And perhaps worthy of an apology.

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her on Twitter for more.