Justin Timberlake has received a lot of pushback from Britney Spears fans in recent years, especially since the release of the Framing Britney Spears documentary in 2021. At the time, the world began to re-examine their 2002 breakup and the damage his response had on Spears’ career. It didn’t help that his behavior towards Janet Jackson following their notorious Super Bowl Halftime Show performance in 2004 came into question as well.
Timberlake ended up apologizing to Spears and Jackson via Instagram in the wake of the social media backlash, though it’s since been removed from his feed. “I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” he wrote in February 2021. “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. 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,” he continued. “Because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake met on the set of Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club in 1992 and began in 1999, when they were both 18 years old. In 2023, Spears revealed she had an abortion at one point during their three-year relationship. “I always expected us to have a family together one day,” Spears wrote in her memoir, The Woman in Me. “This would just be much earlier than I’d anticipated.” The pop star went on to say she “never” would have chosen to terminate her pregnancy were she alone, but Timberlake was “so sure that he didn’t want to be a father.”