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Justin Timberlake Tells Crowd ‘No Disrespect’ Before Singing ‘Cry Me a River’ After Britney Spears Memoir Release

Justin Timberlake is trying to move on from any Britney Spears-related drama.

via People:

While performing an hour-long set to a star-studded audience at the opening of the Fontainebleau in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, the pop star, 42, offered a brief disclaimer before singing his 2002 breakup ballad “Cry Me a River.”

“No disrespect,” he told the crowd — which included his wife Jessica Biel, 41 — as he launched into the track, which was slammed by his ex Britney Spears in her bombshell memoir The Woman in Me.

Released as the second single off his debut solo album Justified, “Cry Me a River” includes lyrics about infidelity, and an accompanying music video released the same year features a woman bearing a striking resemblance to Spears.

“I felt there was no way at the time to tell my side of the story,” Spears wrote in her memoir. “I couldn’t explain, because I knew no one would take my side once Justin had convinced the world of his version. I don’t think Justin realized the power he had in shaming me. I don’t think he understands to this day.”

Spears and Timberlake dated for several years before calling it quits in March 2002. In his 2018 book Hindsight, Timberlake wrote that his “strong” feelings at the time pushed him to write the song in two hours.

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“I’ve been scorned. I’ve been pissed off. That feeling inspired me to write ‘Cry Me a River,’” he wrote at the time.

In February 2021, Timberlake publicly apologized for his treatment of Spears after facing backlash from fans.

“I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others … 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 wrote in a lengthy Instagram post after the release of Framing Britney Spears, an unauthorized New York Times documentary that included, in part, a section exploring his former relationship with Spears and the fall-out from Timberlake and Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl set.

During his headlining set at the invite-only opening, Timberlake sang his biggest hits, including “SexyBack,” “Like I Love You,” “Suit and Tie” and more.

He ended the show with “Mirrors,” a love song he has previously said was inspired by Biel, who was on her feet throughout the evening singing and dancing along, including to “Cry Me a River.”

Afterwards, Timberlake joined other celebrities — including Tom Brady, Cher and more — to roll the first dice as the property opened doors to the public at midnight.

Timberlake and Biel then continued the celebrations at LIV nightclub, where they held court behind the DJ booth mingling with friends.

He’s probably going to have to do a little more than that.

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