Justin Timberlake Addresses Janet Jackson Super Bowl Controversy

Before Justin Timberlake unleashes Man the Woods and takes the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show stage, the pop superstar opens up about his return to the big game after the infamous 2004 wardrobe malfunction moment.

“Naturally, that’s something we talked about,” he told Zane Lowe on Beats 1, referring to the incident where he exposed Janet Jackson’s breast on national television. “To be honest, it wasn’t too much a conversation. It’s just one those things were you go like, ‘Yeah, what do you want me to say? We’re not going to do that again.’”

Timberlake, who avoided the brunt the blame for the controversy, went on to claim that he “stumbled through it.” “I had my wires crossed,” he added. “It’s just something that you have to look back on and go like, ‘OK, well you know, you can’t change what’s happened but you can move forward and learn from it.’”

The “Filthy” singer also revealed that the issue was resolved between him and Jackson, who was heavily criticized for what has since been dubbed “Nipplegate.” “Absolutely,” he confirmed. “I don’t know that a lot people know that. I don’t think it’s my job to do that. You value the relationships you do have with people.”

In another segment from the interview, which is set to air in full on Thursday (Jan. 18), Timberlake opened up about why he hasn’t worked with The Neptunes since 2002’s Justified.

“I don’t want to blame anybody, but it did change the course things for a minute,” he said. “Clipse was signed to Jive Records, which I was signed to…I don’t know what went on with their deal, but I do remember that Pharrell was very adamant about getting them out the deal. So it became, from my understanding, it became challenging for him to work with any Jive artist at that point. If I’m being totally honest about it, I was extremely hurt being caught up in the middle it.

“But at the same time I had a shitload money stolen from me by somebody else when I was in the group,” he added. “I had already gone through legal troubles, and I kind felt like, I’m at this point where I feel like I have so much ahead me, I don’t want to be in the middle the record label and somebody that I consider a friend. So I feel like I kind removed myself from the situation.”

Timberlake is set to release three new singles from Man the Woods, starting with a new track and visual this week. The onslaught new material will lead up to the LP’s release on Feb. 2 and the Super Bowl performance on Feb. 4.