Twenty years ago, the former Mouseketeers embarked on a lengthy North American tour to promote their respective albums, Strippedand Justified. But while things looked like a huge success from the outside, Aguilera revealed that touring with Timberlake was a less than pleasant experience behind the scenes, as it showed her just how sexist the media and music industry actually was in the early aughts.
On the latest episode of Call Her Daddy, the "Beautiful" singer recalled the way she was treated in comparison to her tour mate, who was given much more creative control and faced far less scrutiny than she did.
“There was a lot of double standards with it,” as Aguilera said. “Because I went on tour with Justin, we did the 'Stripped [&] Justified' tour, and there were things where I was just like, ‘Why is it okay for him and not okay for me, you know what I mean?'”
Explaining that she was "constantly pushing back in my way,” Aguilera also added that her interactions were "so inappropriate sometimes," specifically when it concerned "the things [the media] asked." After all, this took place during a time when she began "owning her sexuality," which host Alex Cooper pointed out would lead to Aguilera being "'called a slut,'" whereas Timberlake would be able to maintain his image as "'the boy next door'" if he did the same exact thing.
Not only that, but the Grammy winner also went on to note that this era was keen on pitting women against each other, as evidenced by endless tabloid stories about her rumored feuds with artists like Pink and Britney Spears. And for Aguilera, she remembered it feeling like getting constantly "punched in the face," saying that it hurt when "you're making music and doing something you love and then someone spinning something so negative about it."
However, the star acknowledged that things have changed a lot since then. But even though we still have a long way to go, Aguilera is just "excited to see more women supporting women," minus the industry "middle men" who made that virtually impossible two decades ago.
You can listen to everything the "Dirrty" singer said on Call Her Daddy about the experience below.
Photos via Getty / Steve Granitz / FilmMagic & Larry Busacca for Songwriters Hall Of Fam
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