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The Life and Career of Justin Timberlake

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born on January 31st, 1981 in Memphis, Tennessee, Justin Timberlake got his start in the entertainment industry on television. He then found early success with the boy band, 'N Sync, but decided to branch off on his own to pursue a solo career. His songwriting, dancing and acting talents have turned him into one of today's biggest stars with a strong presence in the media and pop culture. In this video, takes a look at the life and career of singer-songwriter and actor, Justin Timberlake.

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Musical Beginnings

Justin Randall Timberlake was born on January 31st, 1981 in Memphis, Tennessee. Becoming interested in music at an early age, one of his first performances was as a contestant on the TV show, “Star Search” in the early 1990s. Shortly thereafter, he got a role on the variety television show, “The All New Mickey Mouse Club.”

'N Sync

After the show’s end, Timberlake recruited his former cast mate from the show, JC Chasez, to help form the all-male singing group, ‘N Sync, in 1995. Along with Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass, Timberlake and Chasez would release three studio records as the boy band. They released such successful singles as, “Tearin’ up My Heart” and “It’s Gonna Be Me,” in their years as a group.

Solo Work

Though ‘N Sync had become one of the best-selling boy bands of all time, by 2002 the group decided to go on hiatus. At this point, Timberlake was already a celebrity in his own right, thanks to his growing star power and song-writing contributions. So, he made the decision to start working on his own material.

Solo Debut

He debuted his first solo single, “Like I Love You” on the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. The song would appear on his debut solo album just a few months later. In its first week of release, Justified hit number two on the Billboard 200 album chart.


The critically acclaimed R&B-oriented record featured the top ten hits, “Cry Me a River” and “Rock Your Body” and was supported by a co-headlining tour with Christina Aguilera. In 2003, Timberlake signed a highly profitable deal with McDonald’s for their use of his song, “I’m Lovin’ It,” in a campaign for the fast food chain.

Super Bowl Wardrobe Malfunction

Timberlake’s relatively squeaky-clean image took a hit in 2004 when controversy arose after a wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show left Janet Jackson’s breast partially exposed during her performance with the star. Timberlake apologized during the 2004 Grammy Awards, where he also received two trophies for his work on his first solo record.


It was after this first record that Timberlake decided to pursue acting more actively, though he has done some earlier in his career. He took on roles in films such as “Alpha Dog” and “Black Snake Moan” and also lent his voice to the animated movie, “Shrek the Third”.

Sophomore Album

Timberlake’s sophomore solo record, FutureSex/LoveSounds, came out in 2006. The pop and R&B-flavored album had three number one singles, which were “Sexy Back,” “My Love” and “What Goes Around…/…Comes Around.” It also won the entertainer two more Grammies and was supported by the “FutureSex/LoveShow” that became one of the biggest tours of the year.


Soon after, Timberlake began branching out even more in the entertainment industry. Notable musical collaborations include “Ayo Technology” with 50 Cent, “Dead and Gone” with T.I., “Love Sex Magic” with Ciara and “4 Minutes” with Madonna.

More Acting

Timberlake also continued to pursue acting. A string of highly successful hosting gigs on the “Saturday Night Live” resulted in a number of viral video sensations for the star, with the most popular being, “Dick in a Box.” He voiced a character in the movie, “Yogi Bear” and also starred in films such as “Friends with Benefits” and “The Social Network.”

Love Life

Timberlake’s love life has often been the subject of media fodder, especially his relationship with pop princess Britney Spears. He has also been romantically linked to the actresses, Cameron Diaz and Jessica Biel.

A Force to Be Reckoned With

His singing, dancing and acting are certainly forces to be reckoned with. But with his business pursuits, including his own label, producing credits and humanitarian efforts, it is obvious that Justin Timberlake is more than just an entertainer.

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