Justin Timberlake Responds to Britney Spears, Janet Jackson Backlash – STYLECASTER

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Social media users haven’t stopped talking about Justin Timberlake’s Britney Spears and Janet Jackson controversy ever since the release of two separate The New York Times’ Presents documentaries on Hulu, each of which highlights the former NSYNC member’s negative impact on the pop stars’ careers. While Justin apologized for his actions via Instagram following the initial backlash, a new report by Hollywood Life reveals that he has yet to “reach out personally” on the matter.

The “Sexy Back” singer is open to a conversation with Britney in particular—but it hasn’t happened yet. “Justin loves to see that Britney is now living the life that she wanted for so long. He loves seeing her embrace all the good that will come from her being out of this conservatorship,” a source told Hollywood Life on November 24, 2021. “Justin would love to talk to Britney if Britney wanted to talk to him. But he also does not want to get in the way of the life she is seeking,” the insider added.

“Justin is very secure that Britney has heard his apology and he hopes that she knows that if she needed him in any way, he would gladly help out in any way that he could. Justin hasn’t reached out to her personally, yet,” the source continued. “But again, he is not at all discouraged not to. It is just important for Justin is that he comes across as genuine because this is his true intentions. If Britney needs any type of talk, he is glad to do it and he is even more prone to do it behind closed doors.” The insider went on to stress that “Justin wants whatever needs to be said and done kept private,” before noting, “He has her back from afar right now but that could easily change if and when Britney needs anything more.”

Britney, whose conservatorship ended recently after 13 years, previously dated Justin from 1998 to 2002. As revealed in the documentary Framing Britney Spears, Justin leaked that “Britney wasn’t a virgin” following their split, leading to hurtful headlines and reports about the “Gimme More” singer. It took nearly 20 years after their split—and the demands of fans around the world—for Justin to issue a considerable apology to the star. He finally took to Instagram in February 2021 to share his thoughts, writing in part, “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 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.”

The former NSYNC member was alluding to a similar controversy with “Rhythm Nation” singer Janet at the time. For those who don’t know, in 2004, Janet and Justin were famously chosen by the NFL and MTV to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show together. During their performance, Justin accidentally exposed Janet’s right breast to over 140 million viewers when attempting a costume trick—the media’s reaction was far from gracious. Justin made misogynist jokes about the incident when it first happened, suggesting that Janet’s wardrobe malfunction was “every man’s dream” to reporters.

Now, following the release of a second documentary by The New York Times Presents, titled Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson, Justin continues to be at the center of renewed controversy for his actions. Janet, for her part, seemingly commented on the backlash in November 2021 with a quote on Instagram which read: “Not sure if you got the memo. But we’re not competing anymore, we’re appreciating and uplifting each other instead.”

A Mother’s Gift by Britney & Lynne Spears

Image: Courtesy of Delacorte Books.


For more about Britney Spears, read her 2001 book, A Mother’s Gift. The semi-autobiographical fiction novel, which was co-written with Britney’s mother Lynne Spears, follows Holly Faye Lovell, a 14-year-old girl from the small town of Biscay, Mississippi, who has dreams of becoming a singer. When Holly becomes the youngest student ever to win a scholarship to the prestigious Haverty School of Music, she must make a choice of whether to leave her mother, Wanda, behind or pursue her dreams. As Holly starts her new life and makes posh new friends, she finds herself embarrassed by her mom and their humble background, as Wanda struggles with a long-hidden secret that could destroy her bond with her daughter forever.

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