Britney Spears: Why Columbus Short Said the Singer Dated Him to ‘Piss off’ Her Parents

Actor Columbus Short recently claimed that he and Britney Spears briefly dated. At the time, he said her parents, Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears, were firmly against their relationship. While reflecting on their time together in his memoir, Short Stories,  the Scandal alum shared his thoughts on the Grammy winner’s intentions regarding their connection. 

Lynne Spears, Britney Spears, and Jamie Spears smiling at Planet Hollywood.
Britney Spears with her parents, Lynne Spears and Jamie Spears|Denise Truscello/WireImage

Columbus Short said Britney Spears’ parents called him a racial slur

Before making his first big-screen appearance as a dancer on You Got Served, Spears hired Short as her backup dancer in 2004. Back then, the “Toxic” singer had just ended a brief marriage to Jason Alexander. Once Spears, who has a reported net worth of $70 million, annulled the marriage, Short claimed they started hooking up soon after.

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In his memoir, Short Stories, the actor said he and the singer slept together once in Rome. However, the one-night encounter allegedly angered Spears’ parents. When they learned of the affair, the Stomp The Yard star said her mom and dad didn’t want the relationship to continue. Additionally, they reportedly used a racial slur to describe Short during their conversation with Spears. 

“I was next to [Britney] while she was on the phone with them crying while she had it on speaker,” he said, adding that they asked her, “Why are you f–king that n—-r?” 

“Britney looked at me so apologetically, knowing I’d heard it,” Short continued. “I shook my head and didn’t say anything because what was there to say?”

Why he felt  Britney Spears was ‘using’ him

After hearing how her parents felt about him, Short and Spears stopped working together. Years later, he released his truth about their relationship. While discussing his memoir with Inside Hollywood, Short confirmed that the Spears’ alleged racial slur didn’t shock him. He also said he wasn’t “hurt” by the comment but considered it the family’s way of showing the actor “who I am around here.”

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Short also claimed the “Piece Of Me” songstress used him for her gain. Although he described Spears as a “sweet person,” he also said she only dated him to make her family mad. 

“After that, I felt like maybe [Britney] was using me to piss them off for some reason,” Short said. 

The actor also said that looking back, he understands the pressure his alleged ex was under. 

“I think she is a really sweet person that was tormented in a position on a high level that I can’t imagine,” he said of Spears. “I liken it to Princess Diana. She was the pop princess. Britney couldn’t go nowhere — her world [was] completely controlled in this bubble. There would be times that she would act out, and I don’t blame her. She was trying to find her way.”

Britney Spears and her parents’ relationship

In a statement to Page Six, Lynne Spears denied using any racial slurs against Short. The actor’s claims regarding his relationship with Spears and her parents came weeks after they made multiple headlines. In February 2021, The New York Times Presents aired its episode, Framing Britney Spears. The documentary discussed the singer’s conservatorship under her father in 2008.

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Additionally, several of her fans spoke about the #FreeBritney movement, supporting the singer ending her conservatorship. Jamie Spears recently defended himself against the doc’s claims via his lawyer, Vivian Thoreen. 

“I understand that every story wants to have a villain, but people have it so wrong here,” Thoreen told Good Morning America. “This is a story about a fiercely loyal, loving, and dedicated father who rescued his daughter from a life-threatening situation. People were harming her, and they were exploiting her.”