Justin Timberlake Explains Why NSYNC's Breakup Wasn't "Big News" to the Band

Justin Timberlake weighed in on why NSYNC's split (labeled a "temporary hiatus" at the time) was not big news to the group during an interview with Zane Lowe.

By Samantha Schnurr Oct 05, 2020 4:30 PMTags
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The stars of NSYNC couldn't fight the feeling it was time to go their separate ways.

It's been nearly a decade since the iconic boy band released their third studio album, Celebrity. Just over a year later, in August 2002, Justin Timberlake dropped his debut single as a solo artist, the chart-topping "Like I Love You." Not long after, he took the stage at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards for the first time as a standalone performer and serenaded viewers with his fresh release. Just like that, a solo star was born. And while NSYNC, the band that had turned five guys into household names, was said to be only on a "temporary hiatus" at the time, the group never reunited back in the recording studio.  

Despite how things unfolded, their initial break was something the guys seemingly wanted. In a new interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music Essentials, Lowe recalled the hype around NSYNC's split at the time. However, Timberlake tried to downplay how big the news had been. According to him, it wasn't so big for the guys themselves. 

"At that time, I think everybody had aspirations of doing other things and we had talked about it," the singer told Lowe. "For me it was always—I mean, when I was 10 years old, my dream was to have my own record."

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Lowe did call Timberlake out, though, noting he might not have thought of it as a big deal because he was busy working on his solo music. "You were too busy hanging out either in Miami or wherever Pharrell was," Lowe charged. 

Still, Timberlake's bandmates may agree with what he said. As JC Chasez told The Huffington Post in 2018, "At that point, everybody had been messing with different things. Chris [Kirkpatrick] was messing with clothing line ideas, Lance [Bass] was working on being an astronaut...Joey [Fatone] was interested in making movies, Justin was interested in having a solo career, and I was interested in being in the studio. All of us were more interested in what was on our minds."

To take a walk down memory lane with Timberlake and revisit how some of his iconic hits came to be, check out the video above!