Justin Timberlake apologized to ex-girlfriend Britney Spears on Instagram on Friday, 19 years after publicly blaming her for their break up and using his ‘heartbreak’ to promote his music.
He also apologized to Janet Jackson for tearing off her costume at the 2004 Super Bowl to expose her breast, in what they said was an accident at the time but for which she was crucified.
In the long Instagram post, Timberlake said: ‘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.’
Timberlake’s apology comes after he was tagged in social media posts about Spears and the campaign to release her from a conservatorship held by her father.
It has been highlighted recently in a documentary, Framing Britney Spears, which lays bare how Spears has, according to her fans, been exploited by the men in her life.
Fans say that Timberlake is one of them. He and Spears dated from 1999 until 2002 after meeting at The Mickey Mouse Club and were an iconic star duo. They split abruptly and rumors soon emerged that she’d cheated on him.
His career soared. Albums and songs were promoted under the narrative that Spears broke his heart. In the music video for his 2002 hit Cry Me A River, he even used a Britney lookalike. Britney was vilified for their break-up.
It’s unclear if Timberlake has been in touch with the women to apologize privately.
Neither of them has yet responded publicly to his apology.