The evening began innocently enough, with flower girls -- including Madonna's then 6-year-old daughter, Lourdes -- walking "down the aisle" at Radio City Music Hall. But once Britney Spears -- in a full wedding gown -- began her breathy rendition of "Like a Virgin" underneath her veil, the crowd totally lost it.
Beyonce was feeling it while Avril Lavigne and Kelly Osbourne tried to keep it cool and oh-so-emo, before a second bride roared onto stage. While her voice was a dead giveaway, Christina then removed her veil and the screams went louder. Snoop gave a thumbs up, the original "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" cast was living and then, in all her glory, Madonna appeared from a giant wedding cake.
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Dressed in a black tuxedo, she began singing her single "Hollywood," as her then-husband Guy Ritchie gave her a standing O. Britney and Christina ripped off their long dresses to reveal sexier looks, there was sizzling choreo and, finally, that kiss. As the Queen of Pop locked lips the first of her princesses, the camera cut to Spears' ex, Justin Timberlake, whose reaction was equally as memorable as the performance itself.
Timberlake would later tell Sharon Osbourne -- with some egging on on her behalf -- that he wasn't "upset," just not "impressed" with it. "If you're gonna do it, do it," he added. "I would have liked to see some tongue. Lick her face. That's hot lesbian action."
Aguilera's smooch barely made the cut, though the photos of it were everywhere at the time and would get a longer edit in future broadcasts.
There were tabloid reports she was angry she didn't get as much attention from the stunt and took shots at Britney shortly after in Blender magazine. "She seems to me like a lost little girl, someone who desperately needs guidance," she said of their interactions backstage. Britney fired back in the next issue, saying, "A lost girl? I think it's probably the other way around."
Stevie Nicks reportedly knocked it -- calling it "the most obnoxious moment in television history" -- while MTV Music Group president Van Toffler would later reveal that Spears and Aguilera weren't even the network's first choices. "Originally J.Lo was in the mix," he said. "That didn't happen."
Anyway, the smooch clearly made a lasting impression on Spears, who excitedly recalled during a concert at Radio City Music Hall last month that, "the last time I was on this stage I kissed a girl. Her name was Madonna!"
Madonna would look back on it in a 2012 interview with Nightline, saying it was a "nice moment," and calling Spears a "good kisser," before nonchalantly adding, "cool."
As for Christina, it seems like she's over her beef with Spears, telling MTV earlier this year, "I can't lie. It's always good to see Britney. I'd love to see you, girl."
But that wasn't the only moment from the 2003 VMAs that you really need to take a second look at -- check out the gallery above to see little Lourdes, some truly horrific fashion and Beyonce, before going solo.
The 2018 MTV VMAs air Monday night on MTV. We'll be posting all night on TooFab, come back for live updates!