Veteran British actor Bill Nighy is glad he has never met Britney Spears at a red carpet event because he still feels bad over a coarse joke he made about the pop star in Love Actually.

Nighy played ageing rocker Billy MACk in the 2003 romantic comedy, and when his character was asked to name his favourite sexual partner in the film, he replies, "Britney Spears... No, only kidding. She was rubbish."

The actor admits he still feels guilty about ridiculing the troubled singer 10 years on, telling Britain's The Guardian, "I... felt bad about the having-sex-with-Britney-Spears gag. Luckily, or unluckily, I've never met her so I've never had to account for myself."