© Reuters. Justin Timberlake performs during the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Pop star Justin Timberlake publicly apologized to his ex-girlfriend Britney Spears and singer Janet Jackson on Friday, saying he has failed them in the past.
Timberlake opened up on his Instagram account after voicing criticism on social and mainstream media this week of interviews he gave about 20 years ago about his sex lives with Spears when they were both at the peak of their careers.
The backlash followed the broadcast of a television documentary about the rise and fall of Spears, including how she was shamed in the media when their relationship ended in 2002.
Timberlake has also been followed for years on allegations that he did not assume sufficient responsibility for the infamous “cloakroom malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show when he mistakenly exposed Janet Jackson’s chest on stage.
“I would like to specifically apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson individually for caring for and respecting these women and knowing that I have failed,” Timberlake, 40, wrote on Instagram.
Pop star “Sexy Back”, who is now married to actress Jessica Biel, said he was sorry that he didn’t speak properly or that he didn’t speak out loud, which was right in the past.
“I understand that in these and many other moments I came up short and benefited from a system that tolerates misogyny and racism,” he said.
Timberlake and Spears were around three years old before they split abruptly in 2002. Spears was asked about her virginity in the media, while Timberlake said he slept with her and then wrote a song “Cry Me a River,” suggesting that she cheated on the relationship.
In Friday’s apology, Timberlake said the entertainment industry is preparing white men for success.
“Because of my ignorance, I did not realize it, even though it happened in my own life,” he said.
Spears business and personal affairs have been controlled by court-appointed restorers since 2008.
Jackson and Spears officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.
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