Last February 13, Justin Timberlake took to Instagram to share a public apology to former girlfriend Britney Spears and Janet Jackson, the latter whom he performed with in a Super Bowl halftime show back in 2004. The 40-year-old singer and actor had been receiving criticism after the release of a recent New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears which features Britney’s career and personal struggles and showed that during their relationship, Justin had painted his ex as unfaithful especially with his music video “Cry Me a River” which was released in 2002 after they split after three years of dating.
On his Instagram account last February 13, Justin wrote, “I've seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond. 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.”
Justin performed onstage with Janet Jackson during her infamous wardrobe malfunction during a Super Bowl halftime show. Despite the effect it had on Janet’s career, Justin had never come to her defense until his recent post.
In the same post, he wrote, “I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed. I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be part of and grow from…”
Although he did not pinpoint specific details of which of his actions he regretted doing, Justin admitted that he works in an industry that favors white men and has decided that as a man in a privileged position, he has to come forth and be vocal about his ignorance and does not want to benefit at the expense of others being pulled down.
He also wrote, “I have not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career. I know this apology is a first step and doesn't absolve the past. I want to take accountability for my own missteps in all of this as well as be a part of a world that uplifts and supports.
“I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and will do better.”
Justin first met Britney as fellow young cast members on the American variety show the Mickey Mouse Club when they were 11 years old. They started dating in 1998 when Britney became the front act of the boyband NSYNC (where Justin is a member). He is now married to actress Jessica Biel.