Justin Timberlake Said He Was "Apologizing to F-ing Nobody" Before Singing 'Cry Me A River'

It comes days after Britney praised his new music.

Justin Timberlake performing
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Justin Timberlake is done apologizing.

Days after his ex Britney Spears said she was "in love with" his new song, the singer performed his 2002 hit "Cry Me a River" with a pretty pointed introduction. "I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to absolutely f****** nobody," Timberlake said before belting out the hit in New York City on Wednesday, according to People.

The "Cry Me a River" notoriously featured an actress who looked suspiciously like Spears—a fact that the pop icon called out in her 2023 memoir The Woman in Me. "A woman who looks like me cheats on him and he wanders around sad in the rain," Spears wrote (via People). She also described the disparity in how the media treated each of them after their 2002 breakup, with Spears earning the reputation of a "harlot" as Timberlake built a Hollywood career.

Spears' memoir also revealed that she had an abortion while dating Timberlake. "If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it," she wrote. "And yet Justin was so sure that he didn't want to be a father."

While Timberlake didn't specifically mention her in Wednesday's performance, he and Spears have apologized to each other in past years. In a now-deleted February 2021 Instagram post (the singer has archived all of his Instagram posts from before the last two weeks), Timberlake apologized to both Spears and Janet Jackson, writing that he was "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." Timberlake also supported Spears during her conservatorship battle.

Spears, too, has shared positive words about Timberlake and his new music despite painting him in a harsh light in her memoir. "I wanna apologize for some of the things I wrote about in my book. If I offended any of the people I genuinely care about, I am deeply sorry," Spears wrote in a January Instagram post (via Variety). She also praised her ex's new single, "Selfish." Timberlake's latest comment is pointed, but he and Spears do seem to have a mutual respect.

Meghan De Maria
Celebrity News Writer

Meghan is a freelance news writer at Marie Claire. Her work has also ppeared in Bustle, Refinery29, Popsugar, and other outlets. When she isn't writing, Meghan runs a community for plus-size people in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.