Justin Timberlake: I Left ‘NSync Because ‘I Cared More About the Music Than Some People’

Not in sync. Justin Timberlake opened up about why the five members of ‘NSync went their separate ways in the early 2000s while they were still hugely successful. 

“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.”

Justin Timberlake The Hollywood Reporter cover
Justin Timberlake on the cover of 'The Hollywood Reporter.' Miller Mobley

Justin Timberlake The Hollywood Reporter
Justin Timberlake in 'The Hollywood Reporter.' Miller Mobley

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."

Lance Bass Justin Timberlake JC Chasez Chris Kirkpatrick Joey Fatone Nsync
Lance Bass, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick and Joey Fatone (from left) of 'NSync pose for a photoshoot circa 1999 in New York City. L. Busacca/WireImage.com

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."

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