In 2013, Robin Thicke rose to international stardom ... and came under fire over what critics described as a "sexist" music video for "Blurred Lines," as well as a now-infamous raunchy performance with Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards. Now, about a year later, the pop singer is looking back at both controversies more clearly.
The 37-year-old spoke about the issues with CBS Sunday Morning in an interview set to air on July 6, almost a month after he and estranged wife Paula Patton would have celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary. Thicke is promoting his new album Paula, named after the actress, mother of his 4-year-old son Julian, and has been vocal about his desire to reconcile following their Feb. 24 split announcement.
"I saw a guy who needed to be humbled a little bit," Thicke told CBS Sunday Morning, when asked what he saw when he looked at himself in the mirror amid the "Blurred Lines" backlash. "Because I think you strive for so long for an accomplishment like what happened last year, and then you get it. And then you don't know how to juggle it, you know. And all of a sudden, the balls are all over the floor."
The single "Blurred Lines," which features T.I. and Pharrell Williams, was released in March 2013 and reached No. 1 in the United States and several other countries, becoming one of the most popular tracks the following summer. The song was slammed by critics, who said some of its lyrics, which include lines such as "I know you want it," bring to mind sexual assault. Its music video, which shows models cozying up to Thicke, was deemed "sexist." An uncensored version shows the women half-naked.
Thicke has in the past defended "Blurred Lines" and spoken about the criticism over it, including in a July 2013 interview on NBC's Today show, during which he said "great art" is "supposed to stir conversation."
"It's supposed to make us talk about what's important and what the relationship between men and women [is]," he said. "But if you listen to the lyrics, it says 'That man is not your maker'—it's actually a feminist movement in itself. It's saying that women and men are equals, as animals and ... in power. It doesn't matter if you're a good girl or a bad girl—you can still have a good time."
Part of his comments were used against him in a recent #AskThicke Twitter chat aimed at promoting his new album, during which he received a slew of mean tweets.
Patton has also talked about "Blurred Lines" in the press and has often been asked if the video made her jealous.
On Aug. 25, 2013, Thicke performed "Blurred Lines" with Cyrus, former star of the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana, who had been trying to shed her "good girl" image at the time. Mission: Accomplished. Their raunchy performance, during which the then-20-year-old pop star twerked against Thicke and made suggestive gestures with a foam finger, became the most talked-about moment of the ceremony and stirred even more controversy than "Blurred Lines."
Thicke had told E! News in September 2013, a month after the VMAs, that he "wouldn't change a thing" about the performance and explained what he and Cyrus had set out to do.
He told CBS Sunday Morning in its recent interview with him that he has never watched a replay of the appearance.
"No," he said. "I just have no desire."