Justin Timberlake Apologizes to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson for His "Ignorance"

In a new Instagram post, Justin Timberlake offered a public apology to both Britney Spears and Janet Jackson. See what his promise is to women in the industry going forward.

By Mike Vulpo Feb 12, 2021 5:29 PMTags
Watch: Justin Timberlake Apologizes to Janet Jackson & Britney Spears

Justin Timberlake is owning up to his mistakes.

In recent weeks, the singer and former member of ‘N Sync has faced criticism from fans for how he handled his relationship with ex-girlfriend Britney Spears. In fact, Justin was featured in the Framing Britney Spears special, which explores how one of the biggest pop stars in the world ended up under a conservatorship

In addition, last weekend's Super Bowl game left fans looking back on Justin's controversial halftime show performance with Janet Jackson.

But on Friday, Feb. 12, Justin took to Instagram and acknowledged some of his mistakes in the industry.

"I've seen the messages, tags, comments and concerns and I want to respond," he began. "I am deeply sorry for the time 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."

Justin Timberlake Through the Years

Justin 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. I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I whole heartedly want to be part of and grow from."

According to the Grammy winner, the industry as a whole is "flawed" and sets white men up for success. As a man in a "privileged position," Justin said he now knows he has to be more vocal.

"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," he wrote. "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."

Justin concluded, "I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better." 



Justin and Britney started dating in early 1999 before abruptly splitting in 2002. In "Framing Britney Spears," viewers were reminded of Justin's post-breakup music video for "Cry Me a River," which Britney's former tour director Kevin Tancharoen described as "pure male revenge fantasy."

The episode also featured an audio clip of Justin doing a radio interview in which the host asked, "Did you f--k Britney Spears, yes or no?" The singer would ultimately answer the question.

As for Justin's complicated past with Janet, many won't soon forget their 2004 Super Bowl halftime show performance where he pulled at her leather bustier right as his hit song "Rock Your Body" reached its climactic, "Bet I'll have you naked by the end of this song." A wardrobe malfunction soon followed.

While Viacom ordered Janet's music to be kept off MTV, VH1 and all radio stations under their corporate umbrella and her invitation to the Grammys that year was rescinded, Justin was still welcome to attend. 

"I think they did put all the emphasis on me, as opposed to us," Janet shared with Oprah Winfrey in 2006. "Friendship is very important to me, and certain things you just don't do to friends. In my own time, I'll give him a call."