Tiger King was filled with wild, unexpected twists, but one of the most bizarre shockers to come from the docuseries is a discovery fans have made about one of the stars' past relationship with none other than Britney Spears. That's right — somehow, now Spears is involved in the Tiger King spiderweb, and the throwback clip will totally stun fans of the show. Tiger King's Doc Antle was in Britney Spears' 2001 VMAs performance, and it is mind-boggling to rewatch the iconic set knowing he was there the whole time.
While the actual "tiger king" of Tiger King may be Joe Exotic, the eccentric Oklahoman credited Bhagavan "Doc" Antle as his mentor in the docuseries, and the show heavily featured Antle's sprawling property, massive big cat collection, questionable degree, and controversial leadership style. One of the things Antle was clearly most proud of was his work as an animal handler on major film sets, like Ace Ventura and The Jungle Book, but he neglected to mention he was also a part of one of Spears' most iconic performances ever.
Back in 2001, Antle was the tiger handler for Spears herself during the pop star's performance of "I'm a Slave 4 U" at the MTV Video Music Awards. A younger version of Antle (with much darker hair) can clearly be seen holding the tiger throughout the number.
Of course, the most memorable part of the jungle-themed performance was when Spears carried an albino burmese python (named Banana, in case you were wondering) around the stage while dancing. But before the snake entered the picture, Spears made her grand entrance by rotating in a cage with a live tiger — and, fans now know, Antle.
Since Spears busts out of the cage after the song's intro, Antle is only visible in the background for most of the performance, but he can still be seen controlling the tiger throughout the song. Check out the full performance below, and look out for Antle's appearance next to Spears at the very beginning.
Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U" performance was an instant classic from the moment she took the VMAs stage, but now with the popularity of Tiger King, it takes on a whole new significance.