Janet Jackson Music Was Playing During Britney Spears And Justin Timberlake’s First Kiss Age 12

It’s fair to assume that 12-year-old Justin Timberlake never could have predicted the role he’d play in the takedown of both women just over a decade later.

In February 2021, Justin Timberlake issued a statement to Instagram where he apologized for his problematic past behavior — with specific reference to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson.

closeup of him at an event wearing sunglasses

“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” he wrote at the time.

"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,” Justin went on. He also acknowledged that he’d “benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”

closeup of justin smiling and wearing a hoodie and cap

The apology was prompted by the release of the New York Times documentary, Framing Britney Spears, which highlighted the way that Justin had contributed to Britney being vilified by the media following their 2002 breakup.

justin's arm around britney at an event

In case you didn’t know, the two stars started dating in 1999, and when they split three years later, Justin fueled a narrative that she’d broken his heart by cheating on him.

justin and britney sitting in an audience

This included casting a Britney lookalike to star in the music video for his second solo single, “Cry Me A River.” Critic Wesley Morris says in the documentary: “He essentially weaponizes the video for one of his singles to incriminate her in the demise of their relationship.”

closeup of britney

But the music video was just the tip of the iceberg, with Justin actually spending the next 16 years of his career making reference to his relationship with Britney.

closeup of justin in the past wearing a t-shirt and beanie

He made crude and degrading comments about their sex life, encouraged the public narrative that he was the victim in the split, and was even accused of mocking her mental health during her 2007 breakdown.

closeup of justin in a suit

Amid all of this, in 2004, Justin infamously ripped off Janet Jackson’s bodice and exposed her breast on live television during their Super Bowl performance.

justin and janet performing on stage moments before justin ripped off her top

This moment had serious repercussions on Janet’s career, with the pop icon being blacklisted from MTV, her invite to the Grammys being rescinded, and her post-Super Bowl album, Damita Jo, tanking in comparison to all of her other records.

closeup of janet singing

Janet apologized repeatedly for the mishap, which the Federal Communications Commission’s then-chair, Michael Powell, branded “a classless, crass, and deplorable stunt.”

closeup of janet at an event

But as her reputation and career plummeted, Justin’s thrived and he faced zero consequences for his involvement in the wardrobe malfunction. In fact, he was even invited back to perform at the Super Bowl in 2018.

justin performing on stage at the super bowl

In a 2006 interview on Oprah, Janet pointed out: “I think they put all the emphasis on me, as opposed to us.”

As a result, Justin has long been accused of being complicit in — if not responsible for — the public humiliation of two of the most famous women in the world, causing long-term damage to their reputations.

And the release of Britney’s new memoir, The Woman In Me, has added an extra layer to the connection between Justin, Britney, and Janet via a pretty foreboding anecdote from the early ‘90s.

closeup of britney at an event

This is when Britney and Justin first met, with the two stars growing close to one another as preteens when they were cast in the Disney reboot of The Mickey Mouse Club in 1993 at 12 years old.

closeup of justin and britney as kids on the show

In her memoir, Britney says that she “quickly connected” with Justin, and that soon after they started working together they shared their first kiss during a game of Truth or Dare.

the two singing on stage as kids

“At a sleepover, we played Truth or Dare, and someone dared Justin to kiss me,” Britney writes, before adding: “A Janet Jackson song was playing in the background as he leaned in and kissed me!"

janet performing on stage

Needless to say, this is a pretty bizarre coincidence. After all, as he leaned in to kiss Britney, with Janet playing in the background, 12-year-old Justin never could have imagined the role that he would end up playing in the takedown of both of their careers just over a decade later.

justin's headshot as a kid

Nor could he have imagined how his association with both would still be following him 30 years down the line, with a tweet about his involvement with the stars going viral on X, formerly known as Twitter, just last week.

justin as a sports event

It reads: “The fact that Justin Timberlake single-handedly damaged the careers/lives of two of the biggest pop stars, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears, without facing any repercussions is wild.”

X @SociBuddahfly / Via Twitter: @SociBuddahfly

And if a time machine was able to get this tweet to that 1993 sleepover, it’s fair to assume that none of the soon-to-be-famous kids present would ever believe that it was true.

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