Britney Spears fans are tearing up Justin Timberlake's public apology to wife Jessica Biel after he was spotted holding hands with his Palmer co-star Alisha Wainwright. After the "SexyBack" singer posted a note to Instagram explaining his side of the story, plenty of Spears fans saw it as justice for her, who he dated from 1998 to 2002.
After apologizing to "my amazing wife and family for putting them through such an embarrassing situation" and for a "strong lapse in judgement," Timberlake said that he is "focused on being the best husband and father I can be."
But several jaded Spears fans threw Timberlake's own words back at him in the comments section of the post.
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"Oh, cry me a river," one Instagram user wrote, referring to Timberlake's 2002 hit of the same name, which he says he wrote just two hours after his breakup with Spears. "Revenge for Britney!!"
"britney warned us about you," another wrote.
"[Laugh my a— off] you're just 'drunk'. alexa play 'womanizer' by britney spears," someone said, poking holes at his mention of drinking "way too much" on the night of the incident with Wainwright.
"Cry me a river. You are a husband to a brilliant, beautiful woman and a father to a beautiful son, for crying out loud! They deserve your best ALWAYS," someone said.
"what goes around, comes all the way back around," someone else said, quoting lyrics from his song, "What Goes Around... Comes Around."
Timberlake wrote in his 2018 memoir, Hindsight, that he wrote the 2002 song just two hours after he and Spears called it quits — which came after Spears reportedly cheated on him. "I've been scorned. I've been pissed off. The feelings I had were so strong I had to write it," he wrote in the book. "I translated my feelings into a form where people could listen and hopefully relate to it. People heard me and they understood it because we've all been there."
A year after the breakup, Timberlake told Rolling Stone that he'd been cheated on three times and that he didn't have much hope for his dating life. Also in 2003, he told Barbara Walters about a conversation he had with Spears amid their breakup. "I promised her that I wouldn't say specifically why we broke up," he said.
But fans connected the dots in "Cry Me A River," in which he used a Spears lookalike for the music video. In the song, he sings: "You don't have to say, what you did/I already know, I found out from him/ Now there's just no chance, for you and me, there'll never be/ And don't it make you sad about it."
Fast forward nearly two decades, and Spears fans are reveling in the irony of Timberlake asking his wife for forgiveness for holding the hand of another woman. Despite Timberlake's rebuttal that "nothing happened" between him and his co-star, some fans disagreed, saying that hand-holding is enough to cause serious damage.
"This is cheating," one fan wrote. "And the excuse: I drank too much. My partner or myself could have wayyyy to much to drink and wouldn't behave this way — You know how wrong it is."
Last month, Timberlake and Wainwright were photographed holding hands under a table while sitting at an outdoor balcony at a bar in New Orleans, where they are filming their upcoming movie, Palmer. Wainwright's representative denied any validity to the speculation surrounding the two of them, but Timberlake's apology on Wednesday evening marked the first public statement from either of them.