Melissa Joan Hart Recalls Taking Teary Eyed Photo With Britney Spears Amid ‘Worst Day’ of Her Life

Melissa Joan Hart is opening up about the sequence of events that led to her teary-eyed photo with Britney Spears at the 1999 Drive Me Crazy premiere.

The actress appeared as a guest on the Pod Meets World podcast this week, where she shared that on the day of the premiere, she found out that her her decision to pose in Maxim magazine nearly got her fired from her iconic television show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

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At the Drive Me Crazy premiere, which Hart calls the “worst day of my life,” she was approached by her lawyer. “My lawyer shows up and goes, ‘You did a photo shoot for Maxim magazine?’” she said. “I’m like, ‘Yes, I did.’ They’re like, ‘Well, you’re being sued and fired from your show. So don’t talk to the press. Don’t do anything.’”

She said that her mom and producer then gave her a phone call, questioning her about the Maxim shoot and telling her that she will get booted from the sitcom for posing in her underwear. As she was crying, Hart’s dad — who she says was not typically the “warm and cuddly” type — was there for her with a hug. “I’m like crying even harder because my daddy’s hugging me,” she continued. “I’m being fired from my show. I was just fired from the movie. I just broke up with my boyfriend.”

Amid the chaos, Hart posed for a photo with Spears, who recorded her hit, “(You Drive Me) Crazy,” for the film’s soundtrack. Thankfully, “nothing came” of the scrutiny for the Maxim shoot and Hart continued playing Sabrina. “But of course, in the moment, I didn’t know what was going on,” she recalled.

The threats of kicking her off the show had “no grounds to stand on” legally, as the magazine had used her character name on the cover instead of Hart’s actual name without approval, which is what caused the confusion. “What happened was the magazine wrote ‘Sabrina, your favorite witch without [a stitch]…’” Hart explained. “I’d never heard of someone being on the cover of a magazine and not using their name, they used Sabrina.”

She continued, “In my Archie Comics contract, it said I would never play the character [of Sabrina] naked… so here they were thinking I’m in breach because I’m playing the character. That was supposed to be me promoting my movie, it wasn’t supposed to be a character. I had no control over what they wrote on the cover.”

Listen to the full episode of Pod Meets World here.

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