Justin Timberlake Drops 2-Word Disclaimer Before Cry Me A River Performance

The preface to the 2002 breakup song arrives after Britney Spears made revealing claims about their previous relationship in her new memoir.
Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake
via Associated Press

Justin Timberlake took a step back from the drama as he performed his 2002 hit Cry Me A River this week.

The singer used a brief message to preface the song, which is thought to have been inspired by his break-up with Britney Spears, as he performed at Fontainebleau Las Vegas on Wednesday.

“No disrespect,” JT told a crowd that featured his wife, Jessica Biel, as well as other stars such as Kim Kardashian and Tom Brady.

He proceeded to launch into an interpolation of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit before performing the Timbaland and Scott Storch-produced song.

It was Justin’s second performance since the release of Spears’ memoir “The Woman in Me,” Billboard noted.

Britney, who spoke about Cry Me A River and its accompanying music video in her memoir, wrote that the visuals — which features a woman who closely resembles her — and the media backlash that followed turned her into a “harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy”.

“I felt there was no way at the time to tell my side of the story,” she wrote.

“I couldn’t explain, because I knew no one would take my side once Justin had convinced the world of his version. I don’t think Justin realised the power he had in shaming me. I don’t think he understands to this day.”

Britney also revealed in the memoir that she had an abortion during her relationship with the *NSYNC star, whom she dated between 1999 and 2002.

Justin has publicly backed Britney in recent years, sharing his support over X (formerly Twitter) amid her legal battle to end her conservatorship.

“Regardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long ago it was, what’s happening to her is just not right,” he wrote, “No woman should ever be restricted from making decisions about her own body.”

He apologised to Britney as well as fellow singer Janet Jackson that same year, writing that he cares for them, respects them and knows that he failed.

“I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I whole heartedly want to be part of and grow from,” he wrote.


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