Justin Timberlake Addresses Janet Jackson Super Bowl Controversy

Before Justin Timberlake unleashes Man of 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 of a conversation. It’s just one of 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 of 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 of 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 of 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 of 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 of it.

“But at the same time I had a shitload of 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 of felt like, I’m at this point where I feel like I have so much ahead of me, I don’t want to be in the middle of the record label and somebody that I consider a friend. So I feel like I kind of removed myself from the situation.”

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