John Mayer says he “almost cried five times” watching Britney Spears documentary

He says the film put into perspective the privilege he has as a famous male musician.

John Mayer and Britney Spears

Images: Robin Little / Jeffrey Mayer / Getty

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Guitarist and singer John Mayer has spoken about his experience watching the new film Framing Britney Spears, and how it almost brought him to tears on several occasions, as for him it put into perspective how differently male and female stars are treated.

Speaking to SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen, Mayer spoke of how his experience with fame (like Spears, his career launched when he was relatively young in the early 2000s) meant watching the film made him reflect how “to go through this and come out the other side OK is to have infinite grace for those who struggle with it. 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.”

Framing Britney Spears is a documentary that examines Spears’ early years as a teen pop idol, the journalistic mechanisms that surrounded them and what led to the court-ordered conservatorship that continues to have some authority over her financial affairs. The film also portrays the institutional misogyny of late-1990s and early 2000s celebrity culture, with scenes in which journalists ask a teenage Spears about a variety of inappropriate subjects.

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

He then commented on the differing ways in which male and female stars are portrayed once they have been through those experiences. “If you’re a man, you’re an outlaw,” he said, “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.”

You can hear an excerpt of Mayer’s interview below.

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