Justin Timberlake has finally addressed two relationship mistakes that have followed him for the last two decades. Fans of both Britney Spears and Janet Jackson have argued for years that Timberlake owed the two of them an apology, and the former boy band member has finally issued them for his role in the media’s vilification of the two female entertainers.
Justin Timberlake And Britney Spears’ Sordid History
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were red carpet royalty for the four years that the two dated, but after they broke up in 2002, the two’s paths went in very different directions. After their split, Spears was largely blamed in the media and public eye after Timberlake not so subtly hinted that she had been unfaithful in their relationship. The music video for his song “Cry Me A River,” a song about breaking up with a woman over an affair, even used a Britney Spears lookalike to drive the point home. Fans and the tabloids took note, and Spears’ reputation took a hit while Timberlake’s star continued to rise.
The recently released documentary, Framing Britney Spears, reminded the public of this period of time and, with the advantage of a few years’ distance, many saw the situation differently. Instead of being portrayed as the poor betrayed lover, Timberlake was rather seen as the callous man who used Spears as a jumping off point for his own career.
Janet Jackson Fans Are Angry With Timberlake, Too
In 2004, two years after the breakup, Timberlake and his then-girlfriend Janet Jackson performed at the Super Bowl, where Jackson suffered a “wardrobe malfunction” that briefly exposed her breast on television. Though both Jackson and Timberlake apologized after the fact, it was Jackson who bore the brunt of the punishment, and she was essentially blacklisted for years. Most insultingly, Timberlake was invited to the 2004 Grammy Awards while Jackson was not.
Now, after almost 20 years, Timberlake has publicly apologized for his role in the vilification of the two women and for not speaking up on their behalf sooner. The singer wrote on Instagram that he’d seen “the messages, tags, comments, and concerns” that had popped up over the last weeks. He continued, “I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right.”
“I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism,” Timberlake added before getting more specific and apologizing directly to both Jackson and Spears “because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.” In conclusion, he wrote, “I can do better and I will do better,” and he pledged to take full “accountability” for his past actions. Fans of the singer are already applauding him for stepping up and apologizing, though Spears and Jackson have yet to respond. The situation is still developing, so their reactions may still be forthcoming.