Why Justin Timberlake Issued a Public Apology to Jessica Biel Following Alisha Wainwright Drama

Justin Timberlake's decision to make a public apology to wife Jessica Biel after photos of him holding hands with actress Alisha Wainwright might come as a surprise, but it was a calculated move by the "Suit & Tie" singer. According to a source close to Timberlake, he felt the need to own up to a major mistake he made in public. Meanwhile, sources close to Biel and Timberlake say there is no reason to think they are breaking up.

The former *NSYNC singer "hopes by addressing what happened and apologizing to her publicly that they can put this behind them and start to move on," a source told E! News Thursday. "Justin feels like the story isn't dying and hopes this will be the end of it. He always tries to keep his private life private, but he knows he made a big mistake in public and now has to own up to it."

The source said Timberlake "feels terrible" about the incident and putting Biel through increased public scrutiny. "He knows she doesn't deserve any of this and that he messed up," the source explained.

As for their marriage, E! News' source believes "nobody is going anywhere," but there will still be an "effect on their marriage and her trust in him."

"Even if nothing more happened than what was in the photos, what he did was highly inappropriate," the source said.

Another source told PEOPLE the couple plans to "work through" the situation, and Biel will stand by him.

"It was good that he apologized publicly but obviously the real work he is doing is in private and hopefully this was just a bad drunken night of this type of behavior," one PEOPLE source said.

The drama began on Nov. 23, when paparazzi snapped photos of Timberlake holding Wainwright's hand in New Orleans, where the two are filming the movie Palmer. After the photos surfaced, sources quickly tried to shut down rumors of a relationship between the two. Wainwright's rep said there was "no validity" to that speculation.

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"I stay away from gossip as much as I can, but for my family I feel it is important to address recent rumors that are hurting the people I love," Timerlake wrote in a lengthy Instagram post on Wednesday. "A few weeks ago I displayed a strong lapse in judgement — but let me be clear — nothing happened between me and my costar."

Biel herself has not commented on the situation, but she has been seen still wearing her wedding ring. The actress and Timberlake have a son, 4-year-old Silas.