On Friday, Justin Timberlake apologized for his misogynistic handling of his 2002 breakup with Britney Spears, which was highlighted in the New York Times’ earth-shattering documentary “Framing Britney Spears.” (opens in new tab) In a statement posted to Instagram, Timberlake apologized directly to Britney and Janet Jackson, the latter of whom suffered from a Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction during their joint halftime show in 2004, which derailed her career but left Timberlake unscathed.
Timberlake wrote, “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.”
He continued, “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 documentary has forced a long-overdue reckoning on the system that elevated Britney to stardom while exerting an unreasonable amount of control over her life and image. From the sexist media machine that lasciviously peered into Britney’s personal life to our collective ignorance about mental health struggles, no figure emerged from the documentary unscathed. In the fallout, fans and stars alike have shared messages of support while demanding accountability (opens in new tab) from those who harmed the pop singer.
One such figure is Justin Timberlake, who dated Britney for three years until the duo split in 2002. In the aftermath of their breakup, the media portrayed Britney as the harlot who broke Timberlake’s heart, with even Diane Sawyer going so far to say that Britney caused him “so much pain, so much suffering.” Timberlake, on the other hand, profited from their breakup, boasted about his sexual exploits with Britney on the radio, and used his “pain” as fodder for his hit song “Cry Me A River.”
Read the full statement below.
A post shared by Justin Timberlake (@justintimberlake) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
Zoe Guy is the digital fellow at Marie Claire, where she covers pop culture, hot celebrity gossip, movies and TV. She’s obsessed with Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of The Age of Innocence, anything written by Jesmyn Ward and stan Twitter.
Our Favorite Action Movies of 2022 (So Far)
A handful of highly anticipated action flicks finally came out this year.
By Quinci LeGardye
Meghan Markle Helped Prepare Thanksgiving Lunch for Over 300 Women Experiencing Homelessness
A lovely gesture.
By Iris Goldsztajn
Prince William and Princess Kate Will Send the Message They're the "Real Royals" During U.S. Trip, Expert Claims
And so the rift continues...
By Iris Goldsztajn
Sarah Hyland and Adam Devine Play 'How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?'
The 'Modern Family' stars reunited for the 'Pitch Perfect' spinoff series.
By Brooke Knappenberger
The 78 Best Celebrity Couple Halloween Costumes of All Time
Honestly, we're impressed.
By Charlotte Chilton
Super Rare Photos of Queen Elizabeth as a Young Woman
From childhood snapshots to portraits as a young princess, beautiful and rare photos of the late Queen Elizabeth as a young woman.
By Mehera Bonner
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla's Relationship: A Timeline
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles has ascended to the throne as king.
By The Editors
Who Is Next in Line for the British Throne, Explained
And yes—Harry and Archie are still in the line of succession.
By Andrea Park
Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Fiancé Riley Roberts?
AOC's husband-to-be is an "easygoing redhead" who lives with her in D.C.
By Katherine J Igoe
68 Times the Kardashians Posed Fully Nude and Owned It
And we mean fully nude—as in, not a shred of clothing.
By Bianca Rodriguez
Who Is Jonathan Owens, Simone Biles's Fiancé and NFL Player?
"The easiest yes!" Simone wrote about the couple's engagement.
By The Editors