That time Justin Timberlake actually did apologise.

Justin Timberlake is considered 'on the nose' in 2024.

It's reached a head this week, following his behaviour towards his ex Britney Spears

Back in 2021, the singer felt urged to release a very sanitised public apology regarding his treatment of Spears, amid the release of the damning Framing Britney Spears documentary.

"The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It's designed this way. As a man in a privileged position, I have to be vocal about this," he wrote in a statement. "Because of my ignorance, I didn't recognise it for all that it was while it was happening." 

Then when Spears' memoir was released late last year, she didn't hold back on Timberlake, calling him out for cheating on her throughout their relationship and pressuring her into having an abortion.

Watch: Framing Britney Spears trailer. Post continues below.

Video via The New York Times.

This brings us to the present day. Timberlake is releasing a new album and preparing to embark on a world tour. As one of his first public appearances since the release of the telling memoir, Timberlake appeared to take back his apology to Spears. 


As he performed in New York City this week, he told the crowd, "I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise to absolutely f**king nobody."

He said this before singing the 2002 hit 'Cry Me a River', which made the person he was directing the jibe at blatantly obvious to onlookers. It was Spears. 

Interestingly though, there was a time only a few years back when Timberlake actually did apologise for something. And this was an apology he didn't later take back. 

The circumstances surrounding the situation, however, certainly didn't put him in high regard with fans.

It was late 2019. Things were going well for Timberlake. He'd recorded a few songs the year before, he was back into acting, and he and his wife Jessica Biel were very likely pregnant with their second son, who was born in the middle of 2020. 

Timberlake was filming a football drama movie called Palmer, starring alongside American actor Alisha Wainwright.

During a night out amid their filming schedule, Timberlake and his co-star Wainwright were spotted out for a drink, after midnight. Wainwright had her hand on Timberlake's knee, and at other points, the pair were holding hands. 

Paparazzi lapped up the scene, as did curious patrons, the seemingly intimate connection between the co-stars soon going viral online. 


The two co-stars, Alisha Wainwright and Justin Timberlake. Image: Getty.

It left Timberlake in a sticky situation, with accusations that he was cheating on his wife with Wainwright. 

A representative from Wainwright released a statement saying there was "no validity to this speculation," saying the pair were "working on a project together". A week later, tension growing, Timberlake then issued an apology to his wife via his Instagram, saying he had made a "strong lapse in judgement".


"I stay away from gossip as much as I can, but for my family, I feel it is important to address recent rumours that are hurting the people I love. A few weeks ago I displayed a strong lapse in judgement - 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," he wrote.

"This is not the example I want to set for my son. I apologise 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."

He finished the statement by saying he was "incredibly proud" to be working on said film, and was "excited for people to see it".

The story clung to Timberlake like a bad smell for quite some time. Sure he released a song here and there and did a spot of acting in between. But Timberlake's comeback seems further and further out of reach.

This apology post has since been deleted. But the world's memory of the incident has certainly stuck around. 

Feature Image: Getty.

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