John Mayer: ‘Framing Britney Spears’ Made Me Realize My Male Privilege

Add John Mayer to the growing list of celebrities who have been emotionally affected by Britney Spears’ personal and professional woes, as seen in a new documentary. 

In a chat with Andy Cohen on SiriusXM’s “Radio Andy” this week, Mayer revealed that he “almost cried five times” while watching “Framing Britney Spears.” Like Spears, the “Your Body Is a Wonderland” singer shot to fame in the early 2000s. He told Cohen that he was struck by just how different his experience with stardom has been in comparison.

“To go through this and come out the other side OK is to have infinite grace for those who struggle with it,” Mayer said. “I came out OK. … I have a very strong feeling that part of that is because I’m a man. And I have a very strong feeling that a lot of these things that happen to female performers is endemic to being female.”

Listen to an excerpt of John Mayer’s “Radio Andy” interview below. 

Produced by The New York Times, “Framing Britney Spears” examines Spears’ early years as a teen pop idol as well as the court-ordered conservatorship that continues to limit her authority over her financial affairs. The film is also a controversial retrospective of celebrity media culture during the late 1990s and early 2000s, particularly as it pertained to women. In one scene, a journalist asks a teenage Spears about her breasts in a televised interview. She is later pressed about her virginity, also on camera.

Hence, Mayer said he watched the documentary “with such grace for [Spears], who got much more maligned by the inhuman experiment of fame than I did.”

“If you’re a man, you’re an outlaw,” he said, pointing to the ways in which media shapes public perception of entertainers. “If you’re a woman, you’re kind of crazy. And when I watched that through that lens, my heart just ached the whole time.”

Of course, the seven-time Grammy winner’s love life has prompted a fair amount of public scrutiny himself over the years. In his “Radio Andy” interview, he offered a few anecdotes about his high-profile relationships with Jessica Simpson, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, and said he doesn’t mind if his ex-girlfriends find artistic inspiration in their time together. 

Hear what John Mayer has to say about his famous exes below. 

“Sometimes a song is so good, I go, ‘Man, I hope that’s about me,’” he said, noting that with time, relationships “go into this legacy category, where they’re no longer jangling your nerves or making you upset.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Mayer said he hopes to embrace life as a family man soon, adding that he’s eager to leave the single life behind sooner rather than later.

“There’s one thing left, and that’s a wife and kids,” he said. “I’ve come to a point in my life where, with this stuff, I’m not fatigued completely, but my hands are on my knees a little bit and I’m going, ‘OK, I definitely explored the life of what can be done for me by me.’ So I don’t feel late, because I would never want to have a wife and kids while I was still investigating what’s out there for me to be explored by me.”