It’s been 18 years since the Super Bowl fiasco with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Janet addressed their relationship in her new docuseries for A&E and Lifetime.
Janet Jackson, 55, revealed there’s no bad blood between her and Justin Timberlake, 40, after their 2004 Super Bowl performance. The “All For You” singer addressed their relationship in a selfie filmed video in Miami, FL, earlier this month. “Justin and I are very good friends — we will always be good friends. We spoke just a few days ago and he and I have moved on…it is time for everyone else to do the same,” she said in the brief clip. Justin did not appear in the documentary beyond archival footage and images of their performance performance.
Janet and Justin initially connected during the recording of his debut solo album, Justified: the Rhythm Nation singer appeared in a brief feature for the Timbaland produced track, “(And She Said) Take Me Now.” The then 36-year-old leant her voice to a breathy intro off the top of the song, whispering, “What you waitin’ for?/I know you’re watchin’ me/Hey boy, come on and take me now.”
Less than 18 months later, Janet was one of the featured artists in the halftime show alongside Justin, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson, Nelly, and Kid Rock. The short set concluded Janet and Justin singing his track “Rock Your Body,” which unforgettably ended with Justin ripping off part of Janet’s top — revealing her breast (and an ornate piece of jewelry) on national television.
The incident, which happened just as Janet was releasing album Damita Jo, led to Janet being blacklisted from the GRAMMYs that year (despite Justin, who was nominated, being able to attend), followed by other major entertainment events. A rep for the “Together Again” singer issued a statement shortly after, coining the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” which continues to be used in the pop culture sphere. “It was a malfunction of the wardrobe; it was not intentional. … He was supposed to pull away the bustier and leave the red-lace bra,” Stephen Huvane said to press. CBS was fined $550,000 by the Federal Communications Commission as a result of the live event.
Following pleas from fans, Justin also issued a public apology to Janet in 2021 — 17 years after the event. “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,” Justin wrote on Instagram, also addressing his ex Britney Spears. “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 fail,” Justin 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 part of and grow from.”