When it comes to Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake is no longer crying anyone a river.
Instead, the artist is crying out for an apology.
To both his ex-girlfriend — and also his long-ago Super Bowl halftime partner.
Timberlake took to social media on Friday in the wake of the revealing Framing Britney Spears documentary that has been making headlines all week.
The film takes viewers back to the height of Britney’s stardom, which included numerous smash hits, a famous romance with Timberake and a tragic, legendary downfall.
The documentary has painted Spears in a very sympathetic light, as fans are rallying around the singer after seeing the various ways in which she was controlled, exploited and manipulated throughout her career.
Free Britney, indeed.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Timberlake opened as follows:
“I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments and concerns and I want to respond.
“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.”
In recent weeks, the former ‘N Sync member has faced backlash for how he handled his relationship with Spears.
Timberlake was even featured in the Framing Britney Spears special, as it explore how one of the biggest pop stars in the world ended up under a conservatorship.
The movie takes a few minutes to highlight JT’s “Cry Me a River,” song and music video that appeared to reference the couple’s split… with a lookalike actress and a message tha seemed to blame Spears for the breakup.
It also depicted a revenge fantasy on Timberlake’s part.
“I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism,” Timberlake continued.
“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.”
Jackson, of course, was at the center of controversy after her 2004 Super Bowl set with Timberlake, during which she suffered a now-infamous wardrobe malfunction — with seemingly no similar repercussions for Timberlake.
Ahead of his own Super Bowl halftime performance in 2018, Timberlake claimed he had “absolutely” made amends with Jackson, explaining:
“I don’t know that a lot of people know that. I don’t think it’s my job to do that because you value the relationships that you do have with people.”
Continued Timberlake today:
“I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be part of and grow from…”
While taking responsibility for his past behavior, Timberlake also pointed some fingers.
He particularly blamed the celebrity gossip and media climate of recent years.
“The industry is flawed,” Timberlake wrote in his Friday Instagram message.
“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.
“Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again.”
Let’s hope Timberlake means all of this, right?
In conclusion, Timberlake acknowledged that he has “not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career,” saying he knows “this apology is a first step and doesn’t absolve the past.”
“I want to take accountability for my own missteps in all of this as well as be part of a world that uplifts and supports.
“I care deeply about the well-being of the people I love and have loved.
“I can do better and I will do better.”