Ready for His Solo
Timberlake releases his first solo album, Justified, which includes 13 songs he cowrote. The Top 10 single, "Like I Love You," with its pulsating rhythms and unusually high falsetto, has critics saying the song sounds like nothing else on the radio. The album offers a ballad, "Cry Me a River," thought to be a jab at ex-girlfriend Spears (the video for the song makes it clear Timberlake accuses her of cheating). After Justified, Timberlake records with the Black Eyed Peas, rappers Nelly and Snoop Dogg, and R&B crooner Charlie Wilson.
The Sexiest Tour on Earth
In what Rolling Stone calls the "Sexiest Tour on Earth," Timberlake joins Christina Aguilera on the 45-date Justified/Stripped tour. The New York Times hails Timberlake's performance, saying his moves "nearly put his backup dancers to shame."
Timberlake smooches new girlfriend Cameron Diaz outside her Hollywood Hills home the morning after her Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle premiere, PEOPLE reports. The pair had been seen around town in April.
While performing "Rock Your Body" with Janet Jackson during CBS's Super Bowl halftime show, Timberlake tears off a piece of her top, unexpectedly exposing Jackson's pierced right breast before an estimated 143 million television viewers. Later, Timberlake calls the highly-criticized incident a "wardrobe malfunction," which, along with "Nipplegate," became the joke phrase of the year. CBS is fined more than half a million dollars for the "wardrobe malfunction."
Jackson is barred from performing for the network's broadcast of the Grammy Awards, but is slated to present an award, on the condition that she and Timberlake apologize again at the ceremony. While Jackson chooses not to appear, Timberlake attends the ceremony, remorsefully apologizes, performs, and wins two Grammys for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Cry Me a River."
Timberlake begins filming his first feature film, Edison, with Morgan Freeman, which goes straight to video. He goes on to film three more movies: Alpha Dog (right) with Emile Hirsch, Black Snake Moan with Christina Ricci, and Southland Tales.
Despite assertions that Justified is just a "dance album" and not a "solo album," Timberlake announces he wants to split from 'N Sync. "Justin said he's not in the mood and doesn't think it will work," a source tells PEOPLE. Timberlake's rep refuses to comment, while a Jive rep says, "There's no album scheduled for this year from either 'N Sync, Justin Timberlake or JC Chasez. The group is still together."
Two L.A. photographers sue Timberlake and Diaz, claiming the couple attacked and harassed them while they were trying to take their picture. Reps for Diaz and Timberlake say the pair acted in self-defense after being "ambushed on a dark, deserted street" by the photographers. The lawsuit was settled in June 2005.
Timberlake and his best friend and former assistant Trace Ayala launch the clothing line William Rast, named after their maternal grandfathers. The line sells at select Bloomingdale's and high-end boutiques in L.A. and New York.
He Brought Sexy Back
Timberlake releases his second solo album FutureSex/LoveSounds. The first single, "SexyBack," is a pulsating tune that Entertainment Weekly dubs a "boldly forward-thinking soundtrack for nocturnal amusements like club cruising and rump shaking." Timberlake wins two Grammys for Best Dance Recording for "Sexy Back" and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "My Love."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): WENN; James Devaney/WireImage; Pierre Ducharme/REUTERS/Landov; Frederick M. Brown/GETTY; Darren Michaels/Universal Studios; Andre Csillag/REX; FAME; KWALU ALSTON; BILL KALIS