Justin Timberlake was born in Memphis on January 31, 1981. (Which makes him an Aquarius by the Zodiac calendar and a Monkey by the Chinese Zodiac, in case you’re interested.)
As a kid, Justin competed on the pageant circuit. This footage of him crooning Garth Brooks’ "Two of a Kind" in a Memphis pageant is priceless:
(And yes, he won that pageant with a perfect score.)
When he was ten years old, he sang at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Next, using his first and middle names—Justin Randal—young JT appeared on Star Search at the age of eleven. Here are the nail-biting last minutes of the show:
Timberlake went on to star in The All New Mickey Mouse Club along with other soon-to-be luminaries Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, and Christina Aguilera:
Oooh, is that Trace Ayala that Justin introduces there as part of his posse? I’m guessing it IS. Trace is Justin’s long-time friend and personal assistant. Trace worked with JT to found the clothing line William Rast in 2005.
Here’s Justin Timberlake circa 1996:
At the tender age of fourteen, he launched his pop singing career. Along with fellow Mickey Mouse alum J.C. Chasez, Justin formed the group *NSYNC. Justin’s mom thought of the group’s name. Each letter is the last letter of a member’s first name: justiN, chriS (ChriS Kirkpatrick), joeY (JoeY Fatone), jasoN (Jason Watkins, who sang bass before Lance Bass joined the group), and j.C. (J.C. Chasez.) The band released their self-titled debut album in 1998 and fans ate it right up. Here’s "I Want You Back" from that first album:
Images of the five *NSYNC heartthrobs were splashed in teen magazines such as Superstars, BB, Tiger Beat, J-14 and SuperTeen:
In 1999, he was chosen as one of Teen People Magazine‘s "21 Hottest Stars under 21."
Here’s *NSYNC with the fab marionette-themed "Bye Bye Bye" from their second album "No Strings Attached" (2000):
Love this collectible marionette doll based on the video:
Timberlake starred in the Disney movie Model Behavior in 2000. This interview about the movie makes me smile:
During this time, Timberlake and Britney Spears (another costar from the Mouse days) dated. Tabloids were splashed with images of the gorgeous and hip young couple:
The golden duo appeared on Saturday Night Live in early 2002:
Their famous break-up was in March 2002. US Weekly magazine reported that the two met, post-breakup, at the Lounge in Los Angeles later that year. Emotions were high and tempers flared, which inevitably (and famously) led to a dance-off on the dance floor. In July of that year, he was named the most eligible bachelor in America.
In November 2002, Timberlake released his solo album. "Justified" included songs "Like I Love You" and "Rock Your Body". Grammy-winning "Cry Me a River" was written by Timberlake about his breakup with Britney Spears:
Before our eyes, he effectively transitioned from a trendy teen star to a smooth, suit-wearing hottie. After Britney, Timberlake dated actress Cameron Diaz along with other Hollywood beauties. Find his full romantic history here. JT started dating Jessica Biel in July 2011 and the couple married on October 19, 2012:
Timberlake has taken a few dips into the acting pool as well. See him in the movies The Social Network (2010), Friends with Benefits (2011), and Trouble with the Curve (2012). He’s also appeared on Saturday Night Live skits with comedian Andy Samberg. Who can forget "D*** in Box", which won a Creative Arts Emmy in 2007?
And the dance crew for a spoof of Beyonce’s "Single Ladies":
The one-time Mouseketeer and boy-band singer is a stylish cultural powerhouse today. He’s appeared on the cover of GQ three times (September 2004, August 2006, and March 2009). Check out this GQ slideshow of his evolving style through the years. In 2013, JT was noted as one of Time Magazine‘s "100 Most Influential People in the World."
For the latest on Justin Timberlake’s tours, music releases, and screen appearances, check out his fan site. JT’s career is every bit as thrilling today as it was in the 90s. Though he’s changed from a bubble gum pop star to suave grown-up crooner, 90s kids know and love him as much now as we did back in the day. JT, you’re totally fine—and thanks again for bringing "SexyBack" (2006):