Was This Britney Spears Lyric Originally Written by Alexandre Dumas?

"My loneliness is killing me, I must confess I still believe."

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Claim

In Britney Spears' 1998 hit song "... Baby One More Time," the line beginning "my loneliness is killing me" was an English translation of "ma solitude me tue, j’avoue que je continue de croire" in French author Alexandre Dumas' novel, "The Count of Monte Cristo."

Rating

Origin

In early 2021, Snopes became aware of social media posts claiming a line in Britney Spear’s 1998 hit song “… Baby One More Time” was an English translation of an excerpt in a popular French novel written by Alexandre Dumas more than 150 years earlier, “The Count of Monte-Cristo.” One tweet read:

My loneliness is killing me, I must confess I still believe.
– Britney Spears, Baby One More Time

Ma solitude me tue, j’avoue que je continue de croire.
– Alexandre Dumas, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo

In other words, internet sleuths believed they had discovered the origin of the lyric “my loneliness is killing me, I must confess I still believe,” which Swedish songwriter Max Martin included in the song on Spears’ debut album. He told journalists the tune popped into his head as he was attempting to fall asleep one night.

The posts claimed Dumas, not Martin, however, originally wrote the line about loneliness in the 1844 Romantic novel, “Le Comte de Monte- Cristo” — which was about a man who was unjustly incarcerated during France’s Bourbon Restoration era — and included an English-to-French translation of the quote that supposedly appeared in the book.

However, the book does not include the verbatim phrase “ma solitude me tue, j’avoue que je continue de croire,” according to Snopes’ review of the unexpurgated edition of the classic French text.

Using a keyword search for “solitude,” we learned the text mentioned the word 12 times — none of which under the circumstances alleged in the claim. The phrase “j’avoue” (or “I admit” in English) did not appear once in the French text, according to our search. 

In sum, considering the fact that the original French text of “Le Comte de Monte- Cristo” did not include the alleged line (“ma solitude me tue, j’avoue que je continue de croire”), we rate this claim “False.”