Monday, March 8

Justin Timberlake Through the Years: From ‘Star Search’ to Grammy Winner


Justin Timberlake has come a long way since his humble beginnings in Memphis, Tennessee.

From an early age, the entertainer was destined to become a megastar in the music industry. He grew up listening to country greats such as Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, and was later introduced to R&B favorites like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.

Timberlake competed on Star Search in 1992 and became a cast member on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club the following year. During his time on the Disney show, he met fellow pop stars Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and JC Chasez as well as actors Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell.

Timberlake and Chasez stayed friends after their Mouseketeer days and became bandmates in ‘NSync soon after, joining Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick. The boy band released three albums between 1997 and 2001 (plus a Christmas record!) before splitting up to pursue individual projects.

Timberlake found success early on with his solo debut, Justified, which he promoted on tour with his former Mickey Mouse Club costar Aguilera. He also performed on Saturday Night Live and during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, when he infamously exposed Janet Jackson’s breast on national TV.

In the wake of the Nipplegate controversy, Timberlake took a step back from music to pursue acting. He appeared in movies including Edison Force, Alpha Dog and Black Snake Moan during that time.

The Grammy winner released his second album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, in 2006, and embarked on a massive tour afterward. He took another musical hiatus once the tour wrapped, starring in films such as The Social Network, Bad Teacher and Friends With Benefits during his time away from the recording studio.

Timberlake dropped a two-part album, The 20/20 Experience, in 2013. He toured with Jay-Z that summer before launching his own 130-plus-date world tour. His next album, Man of the Woods, debuted in 2018, two days before he headlined the Super Bowl LII halftime show.

The pop star has also made headlines for his personal life. He dated fellow Mouseketeer Spears from 1999 to 2002 and Cameron Diaz from 2003 to 2006 before marrying Jessica Biel in 2012. The couple welcomed son Silas in 2015 and son Phineas in 2020. Timberlake and Biel hit a rough patch in 2019 after he was spotted cozying up to his Palmer costar Alisha Wainwright, but the spouses managed to work through the scandal.

Scroll down to see photos of Timberlake through the years!

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1992

At age 11, the singer performed as Justin Randall (his first and middle names) on Star Search in 1992. He sang Alan Jackson’s “Love’s Got a Hold on You” while dressed as a cowboy, but lost by .75 stars.

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1993

Timberlake became a Mouseketeer on Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse Club revival in 1993. The show was canceled the following year.

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1997

‘NSync released their self-titled debut album overseas in 1997 and in the U.S. in 1998. It included the singles “I Want You Back,” “Tearin’ Up My Heart” and “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You.”


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2000

Timberlake made his movie debut in Disney Channel’s Model Behavior in 2000, playing actress Maggie Lawson’s love interest, Jason Sharpe.


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1999

The performer began dating Spears in early 1999, shortly after her own career took off with her debut single, “…Baby One More Time.” They were nearly inseparable during their relationship, and famously wore matching denim outfits at the 2001 American Music Awards. The pair broke up the next year amid cheating rumors.

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2000

‘NSync’s blockbuster sophomore album, No Strings Attached, was released in 2000. It sold 2.4 million copies in its first week, a record that lasted until 2015 when Adele’s 25 moved 3.38 copies. No Strings Attached featured the hits “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me.”


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2001

The group’s final album, Celebrity, hit shelves in 2001. It included the singles “Pop,” “Gone” and “Girlfriend.” ‘NSync announced a hiatus the next year, but it ultimately turned into a permanent breakup.


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2002

Timberlake proved that he was fine on his own with his debut solo album, Justified, which dropped in 2002 and featured the hits “Like I Love You,” “Cry Me a River,” “Rock Your Body” and “Señorita.” He received five Grammy nominations and won Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album.


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2003

Timberlake started dating Diaz in 2003 after meeting at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. They kept much of their romance out of the public eye before splitting in 2006. They later worked together in the movies Shrek the Third and Bad Teacher.

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2004

The hitmaker came under fire after tearing off part of Jackson’s costume on stage at the Super Bowl during the lyric, “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song.” The incident coined the term “wardrobe malfunction” and led the FCC to fine the network, CBS.

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2006

Timberlake’s sophomore record, FutureSex/LoveSounds, hit stores in 2006 to critical acclaim. Its singles included “SexyBack,” “My Love” and “What Goes Around … Comes Around.” Like Justified, FS/LS landed five Grammy nominations and won two: Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Dance Recording.


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2006

Timberlake teamed up with The Lonely Island in 2006 for an SNL sketch titled “Dick in a Box,” which became a viral sensation and won a Primetime Emmy Award for its hilarious lyrics.

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2010

The multihyphenate starred opposite Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer in the 2010 biographical drama The Social Network, which followed the founding Facebook. Timberlake played Napster founder Sean Parker.

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2011

Timberlake and Mila Kunis costarred in the 2011 romantic comedy Friends With Benefits.

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2012

Timberlake and Biel tied the knot in Italy in October 2012 after five years together. Their guests included Jimmy Fallon, Andy Samberg, Timbaland and the bride’s 7th Heaven costar Beverly Mitchell.

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2013

More than six years after releasing FutureSex/LoveSounds, Timberlake returned to music in 2013 with The 20/20 Experience. The jazzy album included the singles “Mirrors” and “Suit & Tie,” the latter of which won a Grammy for Best Music Video.


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2013

Timberlake reunited with his former ‘NSync bandmates for his career-spanning performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. He was also honored with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the ceremony.

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2013

The singer released The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 later that year, featuring the singles “Take Back the Night,” “TKO,” “Not a Bad Thing” and “Drink You Away.”


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2015

Timberlake and Biel welcomed their son Silas in April 2015.

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2016

The musician voiced Branch in the 2016 movie Trolls and executive-produced the soundtrack, which featured his Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated megahit “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”

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2018

Timberlake dropped his fifth album, Man of the Woods, in 2018. It included the hits “Filthy” and “Say Something,” the latter of which was nominated for a Grammy.


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2018

Fourteen years after Nipplegate, Timberlake was invited back to the Super Bowl to headline the 2018 halftime show. He performed hits including “Rock Your Body,” “SexyBack,” “Cry Me a River” and “Mirrors,” and made headlines for stopping to take a selfie with a fan in the middle of the performance.

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2019

The Palmer actor came under fire in 2019 after he was photographed holding hands with his costar Wainwright at a bar in New Orleans. He later apologized on Instagram for his “strong lapse in judgement,” admitting, “I should have known better. This is not the example I want to set for my son.” Multiple sources told Us that Biel was upset about the scandal, but she ultimately forgave her husband.

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2020

Brian McKnight confirmed in July 2020 that Timberlake and Biel secretly welcomed their second child.

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2021

Timberlake opened up about baby No. 2 for the first time during a January 2021 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “His name is Phineas and he’s awesome and he’s so cute and nobody is sleeping, but we’re thrilled and couldn’t be happier,” he gushed. “Very grateful.”

Courtesy Justin Timberlake/Instagram



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