Janet Jackson wants to put the Super Bowl behind her once and for all.
During her two-part documentary, “Janet Jackson.,” which aired on Lifetime and A&E, the pop icon addressed the aftermath of her infamous 2004 Super Bowl halftime performance with Justin Timberlake.
“Honestly, this whole thing was blown way out of proportion,” Janet said in a self-recorded video. “And, of course, it was an accident that should not have happened, but everyone is looking for someone to blame and that’s got to stop.”
However, the pop icon says that she and the “Cry Me a River” singer remain close. “Justin and I are very good friends, and we will always be very good friends,” she added. “We spoke just a few days ago. He and I have moved on, and it’s time for everyone else to do the same.”
After the so-called “Nipplegate” incident, Janet bore the brunt of the criticism and suffered severe consequences, including being blacklisted by Viacom and “disinvited” to the Grammys, while Timberlake’s career thrived.
Amid the backlash, Janet revealed that Timberlake asked her if he should speak out publicly.
“We talked once, and he said, ‘I don’t know if I should come out and make a statement,’” Janet recalled. “I said, ‘Listen, I don’t want any drama for you. They’re aiming all of this at me.’ So I just said, ‘If I were you, I wouldn’t say anything.’”
When he headlined the halftime show in 2018, Timberlake’s team reached out to Janet about performing with him but she declined.
“When I think about it, would it be nice to be able to perform? Yes,” Janet said. “Our family, we love entertaining. But on the flip side of it, it’s stretching out the past, reliving something that happened over 10 years ago.”
Last February, Timberlake issued a public apology to Janet and Britney Spears following the release of the Framing Britney Spears documentary.
“I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed,” he said in a statement. “I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be part of and grow from.”
He continued, “The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way. As a man in a privileged position I have to be vocal about this. Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again. I have not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career. I know this apology is a first step and doesn’t absolve the past.”
At the end of her documentary, Janet also gave fans a peek into the next era of her legendary career by previewing a new song called “Luv I Luv,” produced by Harmony Samuels.