Justin Timberlake’s fall from grace started long before Britney Spears’ bombshells
Posted by  badge Boss on Oct 25, 2023 - 09:39PM
Justin Timberlake’s public image has fallen under scrutiny again (Picture: Getty/ Rex)

might be the only person on the planet not indulging in all the revelations spilling out of ’ book. 

The Toxic singer has finally released her long-awaited memoir, The Woman In Me, to about her highly scrutinised life. 

Britney, 41, certainly hasn’t shied away from the truth as she has, relationship with her parents, the biggest moments of her career and marriage to . 

However, it’s all the , 42, that have garnered the most attention and left fans shocked to the core. 

The pages of her autobiography, which has been narrated by actress Michelle Williams for the audiobook, after falling pregnant while dating the NSYNC star and how she was painted as the villain after their break-up when they both cheated during the relationship. 

Hearing Britney’s uncensored side of the story for the first time has been enlightening – but it’s not presented Justin in the best light. 

Justin was always pop’s golden boy (Picture: Getty Images)
Britney and Justin were the picture perfect couple but it wasn’t that way behind-the-scenes (Picture: Getty Images)

In fact, it’s actually just the latest prong in a long and gradual fall from grace for pop’s former poster boy. 

It was long the case that Justin’s stardom was as golden as his famous blonde curly hair. 

Along with Britney, he rose to fame as a child star on Disney’s The Mickey Mouse Club, the programme that gave themselves and others such as Ryan Gosling and Christina Aguilera a foot on the path to Hollywood fame. 

The Mickey Mouse Club was the playground where the makings of America’s sweetheart couple truly formed. 

In 2006, Justin recalled how he became ‘infatuated’ with Britney from the moment they met on the show in 1993, but it wasn’t until years later that their relationship blossomed romantically

and were the picture-perfect young Hollywood couple, both attractive and successful in their own right and the archetype boy and girl next door – at least to the public eye. 

After their stint as Disney stars, the two went on to enjoy peak fame separately, with Britney becoming a national treasure and pop superstar and Justin pedestalled as a bonafide heartthrob, winning legions of fans over as the lead singer of boy band NSYNC and then propelling to even bigger success as a solo singer. 

Justin went on to enjoy a squeaky clean solo career (Picture: FilmMagic)

By the early 2000s, Justin had split from Britney but while his dating life had seemingly faltered, he was enjoying the peak of his career. He was fresh off of releasing bangers such as Senorita and Rock Your Body but it was his 2002 monster hit Cry Me A River that made everyone really take him seriously as a solo artist. 

With production on the song from hip-hop mega-producer Timbaland, the music video for while the lyrics seemed to blame her for the relationship breakdown. Justin always denied it was about Britney but there’s no denying that people believed the rumours and he garnered a whole lot of sympathy as the ‘victim’, only strengthening his fanbase. 

It’s only now in Britney’s book that she detailed how the Cry Me A River drama really impacted her. 

She writes in The Woman In Me: ‘In the news media, I was described as a harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy. The truth: I was comatose in Louisiana, and he was happily running around Hollywood. 

‘May I just say that on his explosive album and in all the press that surrounded it, Justin neglected to mention the several times he’d cheated on me? There’s always more leeway in Hollywood for men than for women. And I see how men are encouraged to talk trash about women in order to become famous and powerful. But I was shattered.’ 

If fans had known both sides of the story at the time, perhaps the glorification of Justin would have been different. 

Britney wasn’t the only woman to feel the detrimental effects of being in Justin’s shadow. 

In 2004, Justin performed with music icon Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl halftime show and created an infamous pop culture moment when he

It’s believed the musicians had agreed that Justin would rip off the front of Janet’s corset top at the end of performing his song Rock Your Body, but he unintentionally took part of her bra with it creating the iconic nipple gate fiasco. 

Justin was the one who exposed Janet’s breast – albeit accidentally – and it was said to be a mutual decision, but ; it was Janet who had to answer for the wardrobe malfunction and shouldered the blame. 

Meanwhile, Justin glossed over the drama, avoided issuing a public apology to Janet until years later and went on to release the biggest album of his career, 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds, which sold over five million copies – a strong example of white privilege if there ever was one. 

As Janet’s career suffered terribly in light of the Scan**l, Justin’s soared to dizzying heights. 

After bringing SexyBack, pop’s golden boy was able to completely reinvent himself as a tamed family man by marrying Jessica Biel in 2012. Similarly to his relationship with Britney, he and Jessica were the perfect couple on paper and looked good together. They have since welcomed two children and, to the public, generally seem to have an ‘ordinary’ marriage. 

However, there was one blip in their fairytale story. 

Even the Scan**l with Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl couldn’t tarnish his career (Picture: WireImage)
Justin married actress Jessica Biel in 2012 (Picture: Getty Images)

In 2019, Justin was pictured looking very cosy with his Palmer co-star Alisha Wainwright on a night out after shooting in New Orleans. The two actors were seen holding hands and Alisha had a hand on Justin’s leg, while he also appeared to have ditched his wedding ring sparking rumours of marital problems. 

A source insisted the images were innocent but Justin later released a statement apologising to wife Jessica. 

He said in part: ‘A few weeks ago I displayed a strong lapse in judgment – but let me be clear – nothing happened between me and my co-star. I drank way too much that night and I regret my behaviour. I should have known better.

‘This is not the example I want to set for my son. I apologize to my amazing wife and family for putting them through such an embarrassing situation, and I am focused on being the best husband and father I can be. This was not that.’ 

Once that drama had settled, Justin faced scrutiny yet again when several documentaries about Britney’s life were released in 2021. 

Have your feelings about Justin Timberlake changed after Britney’s book?Comment Now

highlighted ways in which Justin benefited from their split, which reignited conversations around his deal with the fallout of their performance.

He released a lengthy statement acknowledging his treatment of both women, saying that he was ‘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.’ 

Justin added: ‘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.’ 

At the time, Justin said that the letter was only the first step and wouldn’t ‘absolve the past’ but that he wanted to ‘take accountability for my own missteps.’ 

Now, with the release of Britney’s book, fans are wondering if and when Justin will take accountability for the latest revelations. 

Justin is yet to speak out about Britney’s tell-all memoir (Picture: Getty Images)

Either way, it’s clear that many fans who once lapped up Justin’s boy-next-door image are now seeing through the gloss. 

Reacting to the latest Scan**l, one X user wrote: ‘The people who say Justin was young when he did this or that, he has shown his true character time and time again. Britney / Janet / Jessica.. I think Britney speaking up after so many years will get a majority of the public to see his true colors.’ 

Another chimed in: ‘Wait so let me get this straight.. Justin Timberlake went on a press tour dragging Britney’s name through the mud and BRAGGING about taking her virginity and Britney was carrying his BABY?.. men ain’t S**T.’ 

‘Justin Timberlake is not beating these Britney Spears allegations,’ another said. 

One other critic wrote: ‘People always make me feel like I was a weirdo for not being a fan of Justin Timberlake but I’m telling you I was five and six and I hated him. His whole like menstrual black act was so tired and corny.’ 

The timing of Britney’s book coincides with NSYNC’s surprise reunion but it remains to be seen whether the backlash against Justin will dampen spirits about the iconic boy band getting back together, or if Justin would prefer to shy away from the spotlight with public favour slipping further away.