“I was growing out of it,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in his latest cover story. “I felt like I cared more about the music than some of the other people in the group. And I felt like I had other music I wanted to make and that I needed to follow my heart.”
The boy band — which also included Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick — never officially announced that they were breaking up but went on “hiatus” in 2002 and never reunited. “We were on a stadium tour, and I just felt like the whole thing was too big,” the Social Network actor said. “It started out as a fun snowball fight that was becoming an avalanche.”
Shortly after that so-called hiatus, the “Can’t Stop the Feeling” singer wrote and recorded his debut album, Justified, and he made his solo performance debut at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. That was also the beginning of his friendship with Jimmy Fallon. “I was hosting by myself for the first time, and Justin was performing by himself for the first time, so we really bonded that night,” Fallon said. “Our dressing rooms were connected, and we were both pacing, trying to calm each other down. ‘You’re going to be great.’ ‘No, you’re going to be great.’ And we’ve just been pals ever since.”
Although Timberlake is both a world-renowned pop star and acclaimed actor, he’s not sure he wants his 22-month-old son, Silas, whom he shares with wife Jessica Biel, to follow in his footsteps. “I haven’t been able to answer that question in my mind,” he said. “If he wanted it bad enough, I suppose I could teach him a lot about what not to do.”
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!