Hart explained why she was teary-eyed in a photo with the 'Drive Me Crazy' theme singer after 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch' producers allegedly threatened to sue and fire her over sexy snaps in 'Maxim'
Melissa Joan Hart is sharing some insight into a teary-eyed photo she once took with Britney Spears.
During an appearance on the Pod Meets World podcast, the 47-year-old actress revealed that her decision to pose in Maxim magazine back in 1999 nearly led to her getting kicked off of her hit television show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Hart was attending the premiere for her movie Drive Me Crazy when she received a phone call from her lawyer and had what she called the “worst day of my life.”
“My lawyer shows up and goes, ‘You did a photo shoot for Maxim magazine?’” she recalled. “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.’”
The actress shared that she answered another phone call from her mother and her producer who began questioning her after they got word that she was getting booted from the sitcom after posing in her underwear.
In a series of unfortunate events, Hart claimed that the producers responsible for her movie “flipped out” and let her go. Crying and confused, she found comfort in her dad, who enveloped her in a hug despite him not usually being "warm and cuddly."
"He lived in New York while I lived in LA so he wasn't really around for the emotional stuff, and he comes up to me and goes, 'You OK?' I was like, 'No!'" she recalled.
“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.”
It was at some point during that chaos that Hart posed with Spears, 41, for a photo. Spears was at the event because she sang her hit, "(You Drive Me) Crazy," for the film's soundtrack.
Despite the hubbub around her Maxim photo shoot, the actress continued to star in Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
“Nothing came of it,” she explained on the podcast. “But of course, in the moment, I didn't know what was going on.”
Hart played the titular character in Sabrina the Teenage Witch from 1996 to 2003. The series followed a teenage girl named Sabrina who learns of her magical lineage and wakes up with magical powers on her 16th birthday.
On Pod Meets World, the Melissa & Joey star explained that threats of kicking her off the show were soon dropped after production legally had “no ground to stand on.”
As it turned out, the magazine had used the Archie comics character name on the cover instead of Hart's actual name without approval, which created the chaos.
“What happened was the magazine wrote ‘Sabrina, your favorite witch without [a stitch]…’” she explained. “I’d never heard of someone being on the cover of a magazine and not using their name, they used Sabrina.”
“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,” she added. “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.”