"Freeing Britney Spears" opened up another side of the troubled pop singer's life... and showed the world who all have contributed to the whirlwind that is her life.
For years, Oops I Did It Again singer Britney Spears was vilified by the media who made her the victim of their misogyny by sexualizing her from a very young age and subjecting her to aggressive and judgmental press, according to The Guardian. From her clothes to her relationships, there was nothing the media left for her to consider truly personal, as evidenced by the recent streaming of her documentary, Freeing Britney Spears. And one of the people who contributed to that was Justin Timberlake.
From becoming friends on the sets of The Mickey Mouse Club as young kids to turning into lovers in 1999, their relationship seemed perfect and the two looked to be deeply in love with each other. In fact, Spears even said in an interview with The Observer, according to The Guardian, "I'm not ashamed at all to say that I love him from the bottom of my heart. As far as love is concerned, with him, too much is not enough. He's everything. It is a deeper love now than when I was younger. Like, we've gone through so much together and we've known each other since we were 12 years old. We know each other inside and out."
But in 2002, the picture-perfect couple suddenly broke up and the Friends With Benefits actor bragged on the radio about taking her virginity as well as implied in his Cry Me A River single that Spears had been cheating on him, according to People. Many people felt that his video not only seemed to blame Spears but also depicted a revenge fantasy on Timberlake's part. Not long after, the Toxic singer's life turned chaotic with people criticizing her for everything, and she had many public meltdowns. However, ever since the documentary released, more and more people are sending in their support for the 39-year-old performer... and Timberlake has been facing a lot of backlash for his earlier actions.
Taking to Instagram, he voiced a public apology. "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," he wrote. "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," Timberlake continued. "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 a part of and grow from." His apology to Jackson was in reference to his casual exposure of her breast during a 2004 Super Bowl performance, an action for which he was not called out on but one that nearly ended her successful career. The moment was infamously dubbed "Nipplegate."
"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," said the former NSync star who is now married to actress Jessica Biel with whom he shares two children. "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."
"I have not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career. I know this apology is a first step and doesn't absolve the past. I want to take accountability for my missteps in all of this as well as be part of a world that uplifts and supports." He added, "I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and will do better."