Janet Jackson Says She and Justin Timberlake Are 'Good Friends' After Super Bowl Scandal: We 'Have Moved On'

Justin Timberlake infamously exposed Janet Jackson's breast during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004

Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake
Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake. Photo: Gregg DeGuire/Getty; Isa Foltin/Getty

Janet Jackson is clearing the air about her relationship with Justin Timberlake following their infamous 2004 Super Bowl performance.

Jackson, 55, set the record straight on the pair's friendship in a message to fans recorded earlier this year in Miami for her two-night Lifetime and A&E documentary event, Janet.

"Honestly, this whole thing was blown way out of proportion. 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," she said of the incident.

"Justin and I are very good friends, and we will always be very good friends," Jackson continued. "We spoke just a few days ago. He and I have moved on, and it's time for everyone else to do the same."

Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake at Super Bowl XXXVIII. KMazur/WireImage

The "Cry Me a River" singer, 40, has long faced scrutiny over the fallout of the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, in which he accidentally exposed Jackson's breast to an audience of approximately 140 million people as they performed "Rock Your Body."

Though Timberlake's record sales spiked following the so-called "Nipplegate," Jackson was essentially blacklisted from the industry, and her music was removed from radio stations and TV channels.

While speaking to brother Randy Jackson in the documentary, Janet recalled Timberlake asking her at the time if he should speak out publicly amid the backlash.

"We talked once and [Justin] said, 'I don't know if I should come out and make a statement,'" Janet said. "And I said, 'Listen, I don't want any drama for you. They're aiming all of this at me.' So I said, 'If I were you, I wouldn't say anything.'"

But Janet told Oprah Winfrey in 2006 that she felt "all the emphasis was put on me" following the incident, "as opposed to us." Asked if she felt like Timberlake had "left her hanging," the singer replied, "To a certain degree, yeah."

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In 2018, Timberlake addressed the issue in an interview with Beats 1's Zane Lowe ahead of his halftime show performance at Super Bowl LII, and claimed he "absolutely" took time to make amends with Janet after the incident.

"I don't know that a lot of people know that. I don't think it's my job to do that because you value the relationships that you do have with people," he said, adding: "I stumbled through it, to be quite honest. I had my wires crossed and it's just something that you have to look back on and go like, 'Okay, well you know, you can't change what's happened but you can move forward and learn from it.'"

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson in 2004. Kevin Mazure/WireImage

In February, Timberlake issued a public apology to Janet following the release of Framing Britney Spears, the New York Times documentary that included, in part, a section exploring his former romantic relationship with the "Toxic" singer, 40.

In an Instagram statement that also included an apology to Spears, Timberlake said he was "deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right."

RELATED: Janet Jackson Documentary Trailer Addresses Super Bowl Scandal, Michael Jackson Allegations

"I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism," he wrote. "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."

The musician added that he's aware the industry is "flawed," and "sets men, especially white men, up for success."

"I have not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career," he said. "I know this apology is a first step and doesn't absolve the past. I want to take accountability for my own missteps in all of this as well as be part of a world that uplifts and supports."

A few months after his apology, Janet's brothers Tito, Marlon and Jackie told Andy Cohen they appreciated his words, and felt it was time to move on.

"First of all, I just want to thank Justin Timberlake. … It takes a man to step up and do that, so we do thank him," Marlon said during the show.

"But we'd like to move forward because that was out there, the negativity about it," he continued. "But ... as they say in the old days: Long as they're talking about you, good or bad, you still in the public's eye."

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