06/19/2002 AT 01:00 PM EDT
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake have taken to speaking publicly about their breakup, with the 'N Sync musician, 21, spilling his guts in this week's PEOPLE, while the pop princess, 20, lets loose in the July issue of PEOPLE's sister publication, InStyle. The two split four months ago, amicably, and blamed the parting on conflicting schedules. "We're climbing two different mountains," Spears told InStyle. "His priorities are different from mine right now." They had met in 1993 when both starred on the Disney Channel's "The Mickey Mouse Club." About two years ago the relationship became serious. Timberlake, who remains unattached, told PEOPLE that he has yet to be able to use the word "breakup (because) it hurts too bad . . . You get to a point when you're crying yourself to sleep every night. I feel like I'm in the middle of a soap opera. I honestly know what it's like to have a broken heart." As Spears put it to InStyle: "Of course it's gonna kind of hurt sometimes, and you wonder things. But you learn from it and grow. I'm trying to get to that point." As for what her newly single life is like, she says, "You go out to a club, and people say, 'Are you fine? Are you fine?' And it's like, 'I'm here, aren't I?' What if I was some weakling and I was like, 'Whaaa!' Crying!" It appears someone is crying. "I love Britney," Timberlake told PEOPLE, "and I'll always love her."