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Janet Jackson Super Bowl Scandal: What To Know About The Backlash & Feud With Justin Timberlake

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Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson

Here we break down the unforgettable ‘wardrobe malfunction’ performance from Janet Jackson & Justin Timberlake and the subsequent backlash/cultural reckoning that followed.

In American culture, we’ve had plenty of scandals, but one infamous incident rocked the public consciousness like no other: the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show of February 1, 2004.

Although the show began like any other run-of-the-mill halftime concert, its denouement became [allegedly] unintentionally salacious when Justin Timberlake ripped off a part of Janet Jackson‘s costume to reveal her bare right breast to millions of viewers tuning in to the event. What followed was a frenzy of cultural and political backlash, The Federal Communications Commission serving a $550,000 fine to CBS, and the invention of YouTube by one Jawed Karim who got the idea while feverishly searching for a clip of the incident after missing the show on TV.

In the trailer for her new documentary on Lifetime, simply titled Janet Jackson., a moment shows Randy Jackson, Janet’s brother who is also her manager and co-producer on the film, saying, “Justin and his team have been trying to contact us about you doing the Super Bowl” — then cutting to a contemplative Janet.

Below we take a look at the complete timeline of the uncanny and culturally curious events involving the two performers and reflect back on the halftime show that rocked the world.

Janet Jackson Is Announced To Perform 

Janet Jackson attends the ‘A Place Called Home’ Anniversary Gala in LA, 2003 (Alex Berliner/BEI/Shutterstock).

In December 2003, the NFL announced that Janet was set to headline the 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII show to be produced by MTV and shown on CBS. According to a 2002 report from Entertainment Weekly, the Poetic Justice actress was originally in talks to perform at the 2002 Super Bowl, but network executives allegedly changed their minds due to the solemnity that permeated the U.S. post-9/11. Execs apparently had a change of heart after attending a U2 concert in the aftermath of the tragedy, causing them to opt for the Irish rock band instead to “set the right tone.”

”There is no bigger spectacle than the Super Bowl,” Janet said in a press statement released around the time of the announcement of her headlining for 2004. ”It’s a unique and exciting experience that I have looked forward to for many years.”

‘Nipplegate’ Ensues 

Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake
Janet Jackson’s breast is exposed after her outfit came undone during the half time performance with Justin Timberlake, 2004 (Awout David Phillip/AP/Shutterstock).

Justin was added as a surprise addition to the halftime show, set to perform a rendition of his hit track “Rock Your Body” with Janet. Toward the end of the performance, when Justin sang the lyrics, “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song,” he ripped off the right side of Janet’s costume to reveal her right breast, which featured a piece a nipple jewelry. Janet looked down at her exposed breast in what appeared to be shock as the show abruptly ended and the cameras cut away.

Following the shock of the incident — which was broadcast to 150 million viewers — network execs scrambled, as Janet and Justin’s teams both professed it to be an accident, hence where the term “wardrobe malfunction” was coined. In Jan. 2018, USA Today spoke with MTV executive Salli Frattini who implied the idea of Janet’s breast being exposed was a concept conceived between Janet and/or Janet’s stylist which was then presented to Justin in Janet’s dressing room before the show.

“There was a meeting right prior to the halftime [show],’’ Frattini stated to the outlet. “The idea was pitched to Justin. Janet’s stylist or whoever else was in the room. [Justin] went along with it and the mistake happened.” Salli also noted their teams were originally playing with the idea of Justin removing her skirt instead during previous rehearsals, but ultimately forwent the stunt. “There wasn’t supposed to be any reveal,” Salli continued. “There should not even have been an action moment or anything ever ripped off her body.’’

Moreover, FX’s The New York Times Presents series released the documentary Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson in Nov. 2021 in which Salli spoke about feeling “betrayed” by the incident. “My instincts told me that there was a private conversation between wardrobe, stylist and artist, where someone thought this would be a good idea. And it backfired.”

Just days before the event, Janet’s choreographer, Gil Duldulao, also promised MTV News that there were “shocking moments” that would take place in the performance — a comment that was later used by conspiracy theorists and disbelievers that the whole thing was plotted out for a publicity stunt. To this day, the publication has an inserted “Editor’s Note” in the text assuring fans the malfunction was indeed an accident.

Janet Bears The Brunt Of The Backlash 

Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson sets the record straight on the ‘Oprah’ show, 2006 (YouTube).

As the aforementioned documentary noted, the day after the halftime show, Janet issued a written apology, which stated in part, “The decision to have a costume reveal at the end of my halftime show performance was made after final rehearsals…MTV was completely unaware of it,” she said at the time. “It was not my intention that it go as far as it did. I apologize to anyone offended — including the audience, MTV, CBS and the NFL.” She issued a similar statement on video two days after the incident.

Justin also issued an apology immediately after the game when he made an appearance at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 8. “I know it’s been a rough week on everybody,” the “Sexy Back” singer said during his acceptance speech after winning two trophies at the event. “What occurred was unintentional, completely regrettable and I apologize if you guys are offended.” CBS said in a statement Justin’s apology was part of an agreement made with the network so he could appear at the Grammy’s. They also stated they extended the same offer to Janet, but she declined.

Although both sides issued apologies, the aftermath was infinitely more harsh on Janet, who was “vilified” in the media and temporarily blacklisted from several radio stations and networks in the wake of the scandal. Her music career was also impacted, with her eight studio album, Damita Jo, being affirmed by critics but unsuccessful commercially as her only album to not hit No. 1 in the U.S. since 1984.

In 2006, Janet went on the Oprah show to discuss the halftime show and insinuated hurt feelings by Justin ostensibly abandoning her following the incident. “Justin has reached out — we haven’t spoken — but [he] has reached out to speak to me and … friendship is very important to me,” she stated, obviously dismayed. “[There are] certain things you just don’t do to friends. In my own time I’ll give him a call.”

#JusticeForJanet

Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake
Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake (Chelsea Lauren/lev radin//Shutterstock).

After the release of The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears documentary, Justin issued a public apology on Instagram noting how “deeply sorry” he was for “the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem” and where he “did not speak up for what was right.” He continued in his statement, “I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”

The New York Times Presents series and numerous other reexaminations of past cultural events through more gender- and racially-enlightened lenses have definitely shifted the zeitgeist in order to better understand the past. Although Janet undoubtedly took a hit from the mid-aughts scandal, her new documentary shows how much times have changed and perhaps how significantly the culture can look back on “Nipplegate” as a salacious scandal that perhaps didn’t need to be identified as such.

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Jennifer Aniston & Kids: What The ‘Friends’ Star Has Said Over The Years About Not Having a Family

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Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston is fine being on her own and has often expressed disdain for being constantly questioned about that decision. Here we break down all the moments the actress has spoken out about her choices.

Jennifer Aniston, 52, has famously never settled down with a family of her own. After years of scrutiny and questioning about her decision to not have children, we’ve gathered all the moments the Friends actress has spoken out against the rampant sexism still prevalent in our culture and how her not having kids shouldn’t even be a “famous” thing to take note of in the first place.

For her next relationship, she wants things to happen naturally

Jennifer Aniston attends the 75th Anniversary celebration of NBC at Rockefeller Plaza, NY, 2002 (Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock).

For right now, the Morning Show actress is single and happy to be so — even though her friends have offered to set her up before. “Not right now,” she told radio host Howard Stern in October 2019 after he offered to find a great guy for her. “But listen, I just don’t like being set up. I don’t like it. Hate it.”

Moreover, Jen also revealed to PEOPLE in June 2021 that she’s “absolutely [not]” interested in using dating apps. “I’m going to just stick to the normal ways of dating. Having someone ask you out. That’s the way I would prefer it,” she dished to the outlet, also sharing that walking down the aisle for a third time is “not” something she’s considering.

“Oh God, I don’t know,” she joked. “I’m interested in finding a fantastic partner and just living an enjoyable life and having fun with one another. That’s all we should hope for. It doesn’t have to be etched in stone in legal documents.”

Her friends and family have pressured her in the past 

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston arrives at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards, 2020 (Shutterstock).

“I don’t have this sort of checklist of things that have to be done and if they’re not checked then I’ve failed some part of my feminism, or my being a woman, or my worth or my value as a woman,” she explained to the outlet. “I’ve birthed a lot of things, and I feel like I’ve mothered many things. And I don’t think it’s fair to put that pressure on people.”

… And she’s kind of over that pressure 

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston at the 4th Annual Patron of the Artists Awards, 2019 (Matt Baron/Shutterstock).

“[I don’t] like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women — that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated. I don’t think it’s fair,” Jen said in an interview with Allure in December 2014. “You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t mothering — dogs, friends, friends’ children.”

She added, “This continually is said about me: that I was so career-driven and focused on myself; that I don’t want to be a mother, and how selfish that is.” The Cake actress also added to PEOPLE in 2014 that there are “a lot of reasons” someone could not be having children, “and maybe it’s something that no one wants to discuss.”

She’s happy to make her own decisions 

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston pictured in 1998 (John Barrett/Shutterstock).

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter last December, Jen noted that she “used to take it all very personal,” but has since moved on. “It’s like, ‘You have no clue what’s going with me personally, medically, why I can’t … can I have kids?’ They don’t know anything, and it was really hurtful and just nasty,” she explained.

“Although I haven’t seen a tabloid in so long. Am I still having twins? Am I going to be the miracle mother at 52?” she said jokingly. “It’s the same with Dolly Parton; Dolly Parton never had kids. But are people giving her s–t for it? No, no one’s tried to put her in a white picket fence.” 

Moreover, the Dumplin actress wrote an open letter to The Huffington Post in 2016 that clearly and beautifully made a statement about the sexist double standards placed on women with regard to having families and raising children. “We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child … that decision is ours and ours alone,” she wrote. “We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”

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Jennifer Lopez’s Kids: Everything To Know About Her Twins Emme & Max

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Jennifer Lopez’s Kids: Everything To Know About Her Twins Emme & Max

Jennifer Lopez shares two teenaged twins with ex-husband Marc Anthony — learn everything about Max and Emme here.

Jennifer Lopez, 52, has worn many hats in the entertainment industry, including actress, singer, dancer, producer, clothing designer and perfumer — but no title means more to her than “mom.” The Bronx native is the mother to twins Max and Emme, 13, with her ex-husband Marc Anthony, 53. Find out everything you need to know about the teenagers here.

When were Max and Emme born?

Jennifer married Marc just months after her first split from Ben Affleck in June 2004 (they divorced, however, in 2014). The two had been romantically linked in the past, and had previously collaborated on Spanish language duet “No Me Ames” on her 1999 debut album On The 6. Three years after the secretive wedding, the Maid In Manhattan star announced she was pregnant on Nov. 8, 2007.

A pregnant J.Lo is seen with ex Marc Anthony in 2007. (Broadimage/Shutterstock)

The then 38-year-old broke the news while she was on the joint El Cantante Tour with Marc in Miami after weeks of speculation. “Marc and I are expecting a baby!” she said as Marc cradled her bump. “We are happy…This is a special time in our lives. And we waited until the last show to tell you,” she said.

Just weeks before she gave birth, J.Lo’s dad David Lopez confirmed his middle daughter was expecting not one, but two babies. “Yes, twins…The thing is in my family, my sister also had twins, so it’s a hereditary thing,” he said on Spanish-language show Escéndalo TV. “I’m very proud. Jennifer has yearned to be a mother for many years.”

The This Is Me…Then singer gave birth to Max and Emme on February 22, 2008 in Long Island, N.Y. The world waited just four short weeks for the first glimpse at the beautiful twins, who were featured on a March 2008 cover of PEOPLE magazine in a worldwide exclusive.

Years later, Jennifer reflected on finding out she has having twins in a YouTube video dubbed Twin Talk with a then 11-year-old Max and Emme. “When I realized I was pregnant, I was in Portugal. I was doing a big show and I had just went away for two days. When I sat there, I was in my hair and makeup trailer, and here’s what I felt,” she said to them. “In my belly, I felt a flutter. I felt like a little butterfly in stomach, and immediately I knew I had life inside of me. I knew it. It came right into my head.”

1644472241 457 Jennifer Lopezs Kids Everything To Know About Her Twins Emme
Jennifer is seen with Max and Emme at the Pegasus World Cup in Hallandale Beach, Florida in Jan. 2020. (Larry Marano/Shutterstock)

It was at the doctor’s office she was told the news. “The doctor says, you see that right there, that little grain of rice? That’s the baby. You see this other little grain of rice over here? That’s the other baby,” she explained. “I was like ‘What.’ I started laughing hysterically. I just laughed out loud, I couldn’t believe it. And that’s how I found out I was having twins.”

Max and Emme over the years

The “coconuts” (Jen’s nickname for them) have grown up in the spotlight, often being photographed with their superstar mom and her various romantic partners, including ex-boyfriend Casper Smart, who she dated from 2011 to 2016, ex-fiancé Alex Rodriguez, who she was with from 2017 – 2021, and rekindled beau Ben Affleck, who she reunited with in 2021.

Notably, Max and Emme were very close to Alex’s daughters Natasha, 16, and Ella, 13, who they were often pictured with in media and on their mom’s social media channels. In 2021, they’ve been spending a fair amount of time with Ben’s kids Violet, 16, Seraphina, 13, and Samuel, 9, who he shares with ex-wife Jennifer Garner, 49.

As a result of Bennifer’s rekindled romance, Max and Emme have been spending more time in Los Angeles compared to Miami, where their father Marc calls home, and Alex also maintained a residence (their mom also owns a $32 million Star Island home in the southern Florida city). Ahead of the 2021-2022 school year, J.Lo was also spotted checking out various exclusive private schools around Los Angeles, presumably to enroll the twins closer to her home in Bel-Air (and closer to Ben, who lives in Brentwood).

Beyond being photographed extensively over the years by paparazzi, and being center stage on their mom’s Instagram, the two have also been on red carpets! The twins made their red carpet debut at just seven, attending the 2014 premiere of their mom’s animated flick Home.

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Max and Emme attend the 2015 premiere of J.Lo’s animated flick ‘Home’ at 7 years old. (Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

Emme stepping into the spotlight 

Following in the footsteps of her performing grandma Guadalupe and superstar mom, Emma stepped into the spotlight in a big way at the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show! The then 11-year-old impressively sang alongside Jennifer, who co-headlined the performance with Shakira.

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Emme performs with Jennifer at the Super Bowl in Feb. 2020. (Mario Houben/CSM/Shutterstock)

Emme popped out to sing a few lines of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” — remixed with J.Lo’s Latina anthem “Lets Get Loud” — blowing the audience away! “If you wanna live your life/Live it all the way and don’t you waste it,” she sang of her mom’s song while positioned in a cage, along with other children on stage. The moment was intentionally political, and a strong statement in response to former President Donald Trump’s immigration policy which separated families at the U.S./Mexico border.

“All I want my girls, the little girls on stage with me and all over the world to know is how to use their voices and be proud of everything they are,” Jennifer said after the performance. “Other people can try to build walls, keep us out or put us in cages. We are proud to recognize that all of us together are what makes this beautiful country truly great.”

Emme’s unique style 

In 2021, Emme embraced a totally unique style of her own! The gorgeous teen decided to rock a funky, shorter due, and embrace her natural curls. Earlier in the spring, she also died her hair blue, which she debuted at a Nobu Malibu dinner for aunt Lynda Lopez‘s birthday early on in Ben and Jennifer’s rekindled relationship.

The 13-year-old has also been channeling the ’90s in a series of retro inspired looks, including loose fitting jeans, vintage t-shirts and argyle sweaters, Vans sneakers and plenty of overalls.

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Emme goes shopping with her mom in Jan. 2022 in Beverly Hills. (Broadimage/Shutterstock)

In advance of the release of film Marry Me, Jennifer talked about how Max and Emme are both finding their “own identities” with Jimmy Fallon. “[They’re like] ‘It’s my life, I have my own identity, I am who I am, this is what I feel about the world, this is what I think.’…They need to distance themselves [from me],” she said, explaining that they are now “adult people in a little body.”

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Billie Eilish & Brother Finneas Meet President Joe Biden At The White House – See Photo

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Billie Eilish, Finneas

Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas made a pit stop at the White House while on the singer’s world tour, taking a sweet photo op with President Joe Biden.

As Billie Eilish, 20, continues her Happier Than Ever world tour, she and her brother Finneas decided to make a brief pit stop at the White House — to visit President Joe Biden of course! The newly Oscar nominated singer and her sibling posed with the 46th president as he shared the moment to social media. “When I heard my friends @billieeilish and @finneas were in town for a show, I knew I had to invite them over to the White House,” he captioned the post. “Great to see you and your family — and I’m glad you got to meet Commander,” he wrote, speaking of the family’s new German Shepard puppy.

“Billie Eilish, Finneas and their parents Maggie and Patrick were invited to pay a visit to the White House today to meet President Biden,” an official confirmed to PEOPLE of the visit. “Billie and Finneas were supporters during Biden’s campaign and the Biden family have been long time fans of their music. Billie is in D.C. for her world tour, playing at the Capital One Arena tonight.”

Billie notably voiced her support of the president for the 2020 campaign. More recently, she also petitioned in November — along with Joaquin Phoenix and several other celebrities — for the president to break from tradition and send a pardoned turkey to a sanctuary for Thanksgiving.

For the photo op with POTUS, Billie showed off her notably jet black locks — a hairstyle switch she underwent recently and shared in a Feb.1 Instagram post. Not only was her new color jet black, but her bangs were super cool. They were extra short in the center of her forehead but turned into curtain bangs on the sides of her face.

Tons of fans rushed to the comments section to gush about her new look. One fan commented, “MY FAV HAIR COLOR,” “So gorgeous,” and one person even wrote, “BLACK HAIR ERA IS BACK.”

Meanwhile, just two weeks ago, Billie secretly had her hair dyed red for a week before she dyed it brown. She changes her hair color so often, we’re honestly no longer surprised! But she always manages to perfectly pull off her hairstyles, of course.

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