The singer’s relationship with Spears, which lasted from 1999 to 2002, has been the subject of renewed scrutiny following the documentary Framing Britney Spears, which focuses on the conservatorship she’s been under since 2008 but also explores sexist treatment of the pop star throughout her career.
Timberlake has been facing calls to apologise since the airing of the documentary, which revisits his public boasts that the two had slept together when they were teen stars, and his subsequent claims that she was to blame for their break-up due to infidelity.
For his 2002 single ‘Cry Me A River’ which is about an unfaithful partner, a Spears lookalike starred alongside Timberlake.
During a performance with Jackson at the half time show of the 2004 Super Bowl, meanwhile, Timberlake pulled back a part of Jackson’s outfit and exposed her breast, causing a major scandal. Jackson’s career is considered to have suffered as a result, while Timberlake’s did not; he later returned to perform the 2018 half time show.
Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears during The 44th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2002 CREDIT: L. Cohen/WireImage
Responding to a mass of comments on his social media posts, Timberlake posted a lengthy statement on Instagram today (February 12).
“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,” Timberlake wrote. “I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”
“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…
“The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way. As a man in a privileged position I have to be vocal about his. Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again.
“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 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 I will do better.”
Yesterday, meanwhile, Britney Spears’ father Jamie Spears suffered a significant loss in the ongoing court battle surrounding the singer’s conservatorship.
A judge ruled on Thursday (February 11) that Jamie will not have the right to delegate investment powers for the multi-million-dollar estate, after he was criticised as part of the #FreeBritney movement.