Justin Timberlake 20/20 Transcript

If you missed the interview or don’t want to download the 99 MB video file, read on for a very rough transcript without an explanation of who is who — hopefully you can follow the *NSYNC star’s conversation with Barbara Walters on 20/20 last night. They also did a feature on music reality show winners and losers, which talked about ‘American Idol’, Justin, and Britney Spears.

The world, part because of his love affair with Britney Spears. No wonder he’s become the biggest star of *NSYNC.

Little thing I do

Since first hitting the charts in Europe in 1995, *NSYNC

recorded four bestselling albums, sold tens of millions records and performed before screaming sellout crowds around the world.

How would you feel if you were on stage dancing with *NSYNC?

Oh, mod.

I would explode.

Through it all, Justin somehow seems like a nice, balanced young man, maybe because of mama. Is it true that you tell your mother everything?

It is true.

Everything? H, we’re best friends.

Isn’t that a little unusual?

Yeah, I think so. My mother has been there so much for me. And has helped me level things out when things got crazy. She’s been there. For every step of the way.

This is Justin Timberlake, 9 years old.

I’m not that kind of guy who can take a broken heart

His first step if business began almost from the moment he was born, his parents divorced there he was and was raised by his mother and stepfather, Lynn and Paul Harless, his mother remembers the first time that Justin began to sing.

He was about 2 years old the first time we heard him singing harmony to the radio. And you know, we thought, okay, he’s a freak. But it was just in his head. He always heard it.

You started giving Justin singing lessons when he was 8. Were you not afraid of exposing him when he was really just a little kid?

We always felt like he had an extraordinary talent. And we always tried to support and cultivate that.

Justin got his first big break in 1993 at the age of 12, when he landed a job as a Mouseketeer on the Disney Channel variety series “The Mickey Mouse Club.” Ironically one of the other Mouseketeers was Britney Spears, but more about Britney later.

I remember seeing the show on television and thinking these are cast members that get to go there every day and have a ball doing what they love to do. There was an open call audition and casting director said he wanted me to learn a script of a little sketch comedy. She said you’re not welcome here. I came back the next day and got a call a month after.

Okay. I can even do it. M-I-c —

Okay, the ongoing joke was m-I-c, see you real soon k-e-y, why because we paid to, m-o-u-s-E. I don’t know if I spelled the —

Now the real one.

It was m-I-c, we said, see you real soon and then k-e-y, why, because we like you. M-O-U-S-E. F, g,.

Great audition, you got the part. Justin performed on the mickey mouse club for two years and when the show was canceled he went to his mother and told her he wanted to join a band in Orlando, Florida, that was being formed duplicate the incredible success of another boy band called the Backstreet Boys he teamed up with four young unknown singers, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, and Chris Kirkpatrick and learned vocal harmonies that became the trademark of *NSYNC.

Chaedorld with just one kiss

you at all worried at 14 he joins *NSYNC, that means no high school, in the regular way, no college, did you never say to yourself, hey, if he doesn’t make it what’s my kid going do do?

I said we’re going to find tutors to finish school I want to handcuffed together, we’ll talk about what happens after. After that was Justin’s musical career took off.

I can’t take it any more

At 14, 1995 you became the youngest member of *NSYNC. And virtually a superstar overnight. What was it like?

The funny thing is here in America it was overnight. But for a year and a half we were in Europe, you know, busting our butts. You name it, we were there. And we worked nonstop.

14 years old?

Yeah. It’s a good thing my mother was with me.

How did you stand the pressure?

Well, you know, it wasn’t as hard as speculation I out to be because there were four other guys with you. I mean it made it easier knowing that there were people there.

You weren’t alone.

Yeah, you weren’t alone.

1998 after two years touring in Europe, the group released its self-titled debut album “*NSYNC” here in America, combining soft rock, pop and hip-hop sounds it was a smash success, selling ten million CDs.

With or without you their stage act was high energy and electric sound.

He doesn’t see you like I see you

Do you ever lip sync?

I’ve never.

You never lip sync?

‘Always sang, as a matter of fact, that was something we took pride in.

The group learned to dance and hired a choreographer, the audience went crazy. You also pushed the envelope musically, tried something called beat boxing.



It’s really just vocal percussion.

Can you show us, for people that don’t know it?

You know, people usually do something like —

His beat boxing a style of music created by black rap singers and performed almost exclusively by black artists, showcased his raw talent during *NSYNC performances. Slowly, Justin began to emerge as the group’s teen idol. To many people you are the star of *NSYNC. Is that a problem? Any jealousy with the other guys?

If there was, I don’t know by the. We’re so close, never a moment when I thought there was animosity, we’ve always been able to talk about everything and everything always been on up and up.

You have a lot money for a young guy. You have 450 pair of sneakers or something like that?

Its probably more than that.

A little strange.

Yeah. The funny thing about becoming famous is once you get enough money to buy stuff, everybody gives you stuff for free.

What about the tattoos? I can’t see any now.

They’re hidden.

You have five.

I have seven now.

Can I see any?

Sure, of course.

A l going on down there.

This is artwork from the first *NSYNC CD. On the back here, ankle puppet hang down, artwork from “No Strings Attached” CD and I got some red ropes to go along with the “Celebrity” CD.

There is somewhere on your body a tattoo for Britney?

No. No markings with girls.

No markings, that’s smart.


But despite all of the success, all of the money and super stardom, Justin Timberlake is about to take what might be the biggest step of his young career, he’s about to go it alone. And become first member of *NSYNC to release a solo CD. It’s called “Justified.” Do you have their support, the support of the other guys?

Yeah, definitely. When I decided to do this album, for instance, I went and I talked to each of them individually. You know, it wasn’t like I called a meeting and everybody sat down and I said hey, I’m thinking about doing this, it’s important to me that I have their support.

Each of you right now is into something else, if each of you go off in a different direction, that’s the end of *NSYNC.

I don’t think so, though.

You think that you could be a big success on this new album by yourself, big success and then you’ll go back and sing with the group?

I don’t think there is no reason why you can’t.

Really? You still think you’ll make another album with the group?

I would like to, yes.

So far the only single released from the new cd is this love song called “Like I Love You.” Justin performed the song on MTV Movie Awards. The song was well liked but so critics said he was copying Michael Jackson.

Honestly, I really wasn’t trying to imitate anyone. I just like, you know, people related Britney to Madonna when she was on stage. I think when Mariah Carey came out, she was the next Whitney Houston.

One of these guys they’re saying he’s imitating Justin Timberlake.

Oh, no. I hope not.

“Like I love you” is doing well on the music charts but at the moment no one is quite sure if he can make the transition from boy band icon to solo rock star. This is a big risk, this album.

Is it?

Isn’t it? To go off by yourself. If it succeeds what does it say?

>>If it succeeds then that’s great.

If it doesn’t?

If it doesn’t, then it just done.

You’re hoping

Announcer: When “20/20” returns, you’re the first to hear it, song Justin has never made public before. Wonder who inspired this one?

Baby that guy you brought last night to the party

>>> I doubt there were headlines when you broke up with your first love but when Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears called it quits it was sensational news, as Barbara continues, Justin gets personal, talking about his love life, his sex life and being just Justin.

There are so many distinct memories that flow through this place and got nostalgic. I think I’m truly a different person when I come here. See, I was going to start writing a song.

Justin pout an estate in Los Angeles but he grew up here in a small town called Shelby forest outside of Memphis, Tennessee, when he went to school and played baseball as a young boy. Went fishing in this lake.

With the release of the new album just days away, he returned here to his childhood friends and family to get away from it all.

It’s a breath of fresh air.

Your grandparent live next door. You go there for grub?

Yeah. For grub and good times and good jokes. It seems like every time I go over there my granddad has a new joke.

How Broward they must be of. You yeah, I think they are.

Shelby forest is also one of the few places where Justin can get away from screaming fans and travel without bodyguards.

About to have the best hamburgers you ever had in your life. Howdy.

A little general store down the block where you can buy a quart of milk, what happens when you go there, do they say hi there, Justin, looking good, why did you cut your there?

For the most part they say hi. Keep up the good work and I think you can tell that this is a small town which grew up.

It is also here in Shelby Forest with his mother in his childhood home that Justin can truly relax and be himself. What was he like as a little boy?

A terror. No, I’m just kidding.

He really never was a terror, the scary thing about Justin he was such I a quiet child would you have to see what he’s doing.


Always. Always. He probably is one of the cleanest people I know, couldn’t stand anything on his shoes or hands.

That’s enough.

As one of his managers, Justin’s mother helps him coordinate his schedule, on this day, organizing promotion for the new CD. She was also there back in 1993 when he tried out for the mickey mouse club. And fell in love with another young Mouseketeer, Britney Spears.

I’ll take you there

T bk when you were 12 and what you thought of her, what it was like.

You know, obviously, the feelings of love weren’t as developed as they possibly could

At 12.

Yeah, I was pretty infatuated with her. Looking back on it, it definitely had this great expectations vibe to it.

Did you give her her first kiss, or you your first kiss?

I think so. I think I did give her her first kiss.

In the Mickey Mouse Club or before that?


Do you remember it?

I do.

Justin and Britney became a couple four years later. Britney launched her own recording career and like Justin became a rock superstar and a teen idol.

You think I’m in love they bought a house together, made headlines and photographed all over the world. Then five months ago, it all fell apart. Justin, everybody has asked you what went wrong. As much as you can, without my asking a dozen questions, because maybe you can just say it once and for all and the rest of us will never ask another question.

I don’t that will be the case but.


I remember when we decided that we were going to go our separate ways we sat down and I said to her, I said, if there is ever a moment where you ever need me you can rest assured that I will be there because I love you, as a person and I will always love you. But I’d also said look, no matter what we say at this point people are going to speculate things and we co–i could really get myself in a horrible position if I was to say something and somebody misinterpret it, because that happens all of the time. And I promised her that I wouldn’t say specifically why we broke up.

You’ve been quoted as saying something very bad happened. You can just clear up this, the impression is that Britney did something very bad that hurt you. She had a relationship with somebody else, was there an incident?

Honestly, I mean, you know, we’re not perfect. I don’t judge anybody. I think that it’s just a situation of it’s just young love. It’s very intense relationship. That’s for sure.

Although Justin says that all of the lyrics on the new cd come there his new experience he dee de nice that any were written specifically for Britney tell her she better come get you

When we sat at the piano and asked him to play something from “Justified” he chose a song that nobody has heard before, interesting lyrics.

Thought I our love was so strong

I guess I was dead wrong

but to look at it positively hey girl at least you gave me another song

about a horrible woman

The breakup with Britney has been devastating for Justin and just as with everything else in his life, he turned to his mother for help. When Justin and Britney broke up and he has said publicly that he cried himself to sleep at night and a broken heart, what did you as a mom say?

You know, I cried with him and said it will be okay. And tomorrow will come. I just want him to be happy. He was heartbroken.

Put your head on mommy’s shoulder.

It was time for us, time for us, I can’t stand to see him hurt.

Can you imagine that some day you might be back together again with her? Or a case now of just —

That’s so tough to say, I mean at this point in my life, if you really want to know who my girlfriend is, those 13 songs on that cd don’t fail me baby

As we’ve said the only song to be released so far on the CD is “like I love you” which is in part about Justin’s desire l in love again.

You’re a good girl and that’s what makes me trust you

Britney has always said “good morals mean waiting to have sex until after you have been married.”

I would definitely agree with her on that.

Did you and she live up to this during your relationship?

Sure. Sure.

Okay, I asked it, you answered, right?

There you go.

We both did our jobs.

There you go I got an idea

Since the breakup, Justin’s been seen partying in nightclubs all over the country, romantically linked to Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera and Alyssa Milano and denies the rumors. Who do you want to bring home?

Someone like her. Brownie points on TV.

Cut him some slack for that one.

No, I mean, honestly, somebody that understands me, somebody that understands the things that I go through in my career.

Physically what attracts you?

Physically? Well, the first thing I kind of look at on a woman is her mouth.



Not what mama —

As far as body parts, I would say I’m a butt guy, I’m not gonna fight it. I like some junk in the trunk.

Some junk in the trunk?

Yeah, that’s Memphis, I had to put a little Memphis in that.

That’s a lot of Memphis.

Sick and tired of hearing people talk about .

He says he’s content to put his love life on hold and just make music. And with the release of his new solo cd tomorrow he’s about to take a new and important step in his career but maybe not the most important step in his life. Lynn, what do you most people want to know about your son?

Than genuinely deep down inside is a good person.

What do you most want people to know about you?

About me?


I think I would have to definitely agree with my mother.

You know mom, did you something right?

Thank you.

That’s really nice. You know he has managed to achieve the almost unachievable for adolescent, a self-confessed mama’s boy and cool at the same time. Tough mix. The thing that struck me about Justin and Britney though was during the breakup with every opportunity they had, no matter whose feelings were hurt and how no matter how people asked about it, neither one of them said an unkind word about each other, very classy.

I tried.

Did you go there. I didn’t bring that up, you did go there.

You win some and lose some, as a matter of fact, they go way back, because even before they were Mouseketeers, they were each hoping to be discovered on “star search.” We’ll show you how they did and you’ll hear from the winner and loser of today’s new talent showcase “American Idol,” all coming up. A moment like this

Announcer: When “20/20” continues –.

People tell me, it won’t happen because of this or this, it did. It did happen and I have my foot in the door and I am make a great album with people, so it can happen. ( Water splashing )

Announcer: “20/20” continues. Once again, John Miller.

So how do superstars like Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears get discovered? Well even before they met as Mouseketeers they were contestants on it is same talent show, bob brown has a story that will give hope to thousands of amateur performers, as you’ll see, the road to stardom is littered with losers who keep on trying for the big break.

Take one.


You got the part.


Reporter: Back in 1991, Justin Timberlake was a 10-year-old kid who entered the biggest talent show in the country under the name Justin Randall.

It was surreal.

Reporter: The program was “Star Search” emceed by one of the godfathers of talent shows, Ed McMahon.

That’s working the group. Working the room.

Ain’t nothing I can do

All body and all expression, all eyes, all gestures.

Being from Tennessee, I had been influenced somewhat by country music also, so we figured we would go that route and I got beat.

Reporter: Timberlake lost to a singer named Anna Nardona who didn’t realize the performer she had beat had become a star.

And they told me, Justin Timberlake from *NSYNC you competed with him on “Star Search” and blew my mind.

Reporter: Well as part of a history of talent competition losers, Timberlake was in great company.

care Britney Spears belted out the show tune when he she was 10 on “Star Search.” Her competition was Marty Thomas.

I remember walking offstage thinking, she’s going to beat me.

Our challenger Marty Thomas who received four stars.

And I was shocked. Shocked out of my mind.

Reporter: Any envy behind what’s happened to her career?

I mean, there is always going to be a certain amount of man, I wish that were me, but I’ve never for a minute felt jealous of it.

Okay, audience, vote now.

>>>> Reporter: Those elements of surprise, discovery and even disbelief are part of the concept that keeps these shows alive.

Now, let the games begin, our — “Star Search” refined the whole concept, the army/navy game, two people vying for the same thing. They want to thrill that audience. And it’s like life and death with them.

Reporter: The performers who appeared on “Star Search” winner and loser make up an extraordinary list of people that went on to become stars, Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Drew Carey, Ray Romano and Lee Ann Rimes. In this country, talent shows were a spectator sport in the days vaudeville, long before network, radio or television. One of the models for broadcast versions with “major beau’s amateur hour” in 1934. More than 40,000 acts auditioned in that first year alone. One of them feature the young Frank Sinatra.

Who speaks for the group?

I will, I’m frank, we’re looking for jobs.

Reporter: Europeans had their own version. The euro vision song contest that gave ABBA it’s become break in 1974. Olivia Newton-John among the competition lost to ABBA that year. Celine Dion, whose mother is Swiss, competed on behalf of Switzerland in 1988 and won. What raised this type of show to a new and unexpected level of success was last summer’s FOX television series called “American Idol.”

Oops I did it again

Reporter: Many elements were standard, well-publicized audition that generated buzz and drew enormous lines hopefuls from all walks of life. Such as the eventual winner Kelly Clarkson.

I don’t know how

I was waitressing, I was working at a book store and I was also telemarketing at this time, I think. I had three different jobs.

Reporter: Other moments were modern variation on the talent show.

That was a copy cat performance.

Reporter: Major beau had a gong.

I don’t believe she was lent.

Reporter: “American idol” has Simon Cowell.

You were terrible.

The prince of darkness, Simon Cowell.

Reporter: He became a household name for sometimes merciless comments.

That was dreadful, if you want to pursuer a career in the music business, don’t.

Reporter: The producers made a deliberate decision not to pretend that everyone is a winner.

So with talent searches and shows, judges don’t want to be critical and they want to say good job, that’s not what “American Idol” is about.

I can honestly say you are the worst singer in America.

That’s my first —

It should be your last.

People were in part attracted to that sort of nastiness, of course, that’s what people — made people turn their heads in the beginning.

Reporter: One of the things that hooked them is viewers made the decision. The results of your vote, Tamyra you are eliminated this week.

Reporter: Over the course of the summer, 100 million votes were cast. Which guaranteed the show would be renewed for another series of competitions.

You have been eliminated tonight.

Justin, my friend, you’re safe.

Reporter: Contestants eliminated until the final two. Clarkson and Justin Guarini.

The winner of “American Idol” 2002 is —

Reporter: On this last night, there were 15 million votes.

Kelly Clarkson.

[ Cheers and applause ]

I can’t believe it’s happening to me

Reporter: Winner Kelly Clarkson got $1 million dollar contract and manager.

It’s been complete nonstop. I got the single, my album I’m working on. Getting ready for the movie.

Reporter: She headline a national tour that includes the show’s ten finalists and second place finisher Justin Guarini.

Coming in second place, “losing” per se like it doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t. Hey, you know, I’ve been beamed into a million homes singing a song for a minute and a half, you know? If I could do it once that’s good enough, x amount of people are going to see me and somebody somewhere is going to like me.

Reporter: Just as losing a losing contest didn’t impede Justin Timberlake’s career. Coming in second hasn’t been bad for Justin Guarini either. He also got a record deal. And is signed to appear in a movie with Clarkson. Justin Timberlake didn’t win “Star Search” and I don’t think Britney did, I don’t think it makes a difference what paid off for them is persistence.

Reporter: What paid off for viewers is the feeling they were in on it. Talent contest makes show business a temporary democracy that gives the audience a share of someone’s success and celebrity, which veterans know is one of the most important ingredients of the formula.

The audience rallies to that, there you are, you’re in on it and people love to have bragging rights.

A moment like this

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