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Daily Record: Not So Sexy Back Then
28 April 2007
JUSTIN: I WASN’T SEXY BACK THEN
Exclusive SEXYBACK SINGER TALKS TO THE RECORD AHEAD OF HIS THREE SCOTS GIGS Timberlake is now music’s hottest act but he used to get beaten up at school for being ‘the weird singer’
By Rick Fulton
MAY 3 is a huge day for Scots. No not the election – it’s the first day of Justin Timberlake’s three-day stint in Glasgow. The hunky singer plays the city’s SECC on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as part of his FutureSex/LoveShow Tour.
He’s also in cinemas in Alpha Dog, which was released last week, and will appear in Black Snake Moan next month and Shrek the Third in June.
But the bona fide superstar admits that, at school, he wasn’t the golden boy he is now.
Preparing for his Scots gigs, he revealed: “I didn’t enjoy school that much. I was a good student but I was one of the weirdos, because I could sing and dance.
“I would say I was kind of awkward in school. It’s funny the things that get you picked on as a kid. I was picked on for my hair, my skin, my voice.
“I was weird because I could sing. Then I got jumped when I was 13. I was beaten up for being white.
“I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and it happened so fast. I got beaten up and had a big lump on my head and a black eye.
“I want to say they broke a couple of my ribs because I remember, for six to eight weeks thinking, it’s just a bruise but I think my ribs were broken. For a while, it changed me. It was hard to believe that my head could be any larger but yes … it makes you stronger.”
Justin added: “The hard part was trying to understand why it happened and then you get to a point where you have to let go and say, Okay, I’m not going to understand this because that’s not who I am. I don’t believe like that. I don’t invest in life like that, so yeah, at the end of it – when we come into the light – into the other side, it makes you stronger.
“It makes you a stronger person.”
Maybe that’s why Justin, 26, despite his fame and his ability to snag the world’s sexiest women, from Britney Spears to his last girlfriend Cameron Diaz, isn’t disliked by guys. They want to be his pals, as much as his female fans want to be his next girlfriend.
But ask him why he thinks he’s so popular and he grimaces.
“I don’t think I am that popular,” said Justin.
“I make fun of myself, that has something to do with it. You show up at a venue, you make jokes about yourself. Maybe it’s because I don’t take myself that seriously.
“Everything I do, I do full hearted. I am very serious about what I do. And it’s important for you to know your venue.”
An only child, his mum Lynn Harless seems more like a best friend, as she had him when she was 20.
His dad, who she calls the “sperm donor”, was Randy Timberlake, who played bass and sang the high harmonies in a bluegrass band with Lynn’s brother.
But Justin was raised by Lynn’s husband of more than 20 years, Paul Harless, a banker she married when the singer was five.
Justin, who has two half-brothers through his biological dad’s remarriage and a half-sister who died shortly after birth in 1997, admitted: “I do miss not having any siblings. My assistant is my cousin Rachel. We are kind of like brother and sister.
“But I have to believe my independent nature comes from me being a single child.”
His uncle first spotted his talent singing a harmony to songs on the radio when he was two.
At 10, he went to Orlando, Florida, as part of the Mickey Mouse Club where he met future girlfriend Britney Spears, as well as Christina Aguilera.
At 14, he’d signed his first record contract for boyband ‘NSYNC.
Justin said: “I was always the one who wanted voice lessons. I remember the day my mom said she would pay for me to have it. But she said, ‘don’t mess around with it, you have to be serious about it’.
“That was my best lesson. I was eight years old. My mom is just wonderful. She’s amazing. She gave up a lot for me to have this. She travelled across the world with me for a year and a half. That has to put a strain on a relationship.
“What’s so crazy about her, from the time I was a little boy, she always treated me like I was her friend. She is one of the most encouraging people I know.”
Lynn was with him earlier this month when he was mobbed by young fans as he played at Carnoustie Golf Links.
There were false reports the exclusive Muirfield Golf Course stopped Lynn playing on the course.
In fact, it was his publicist who was not allowed to walk around the course with them. Justin admits Lynn keeps him grounded and has been there for him since his relationship with Cameron Diaz ended in January, after almost four years.
Now he shares his life with his two boxer dogs, Buckley and Brennan.
And he’s keeping any questions about the split with the actress as light as possible.
So how does he find being single?
He said: “The advantages are that you don’t get in as many arguments and the disadvantage is that you are talking to yourself.”
Despite the fact he is at the top of his game as a musician, with two UK number one albums, Justified in 2002 and last year’s FutureSex/LoveSounds, Justin still feels insecure.
He shrugged: “I am expected to be number one all the time.
“You are expected to make hits. But I am at a place where I am really enjoying my career.
“I can take risks now and that’s okay. I don’t feel I need to prove anything anymore right now.
“Sometimes I feel like a monkey in a zoo and other times I feel like the most normal guy in the world.”
One thing a very open Justin won’t talk about is childhood sweetheart Britney’s meltdown. When asked about people going off the rails, he said: “I’ll say two things. One, I can’t comment on anyone that you might be talking about, who seems like they’re going off the rails because – just like you don’t know the whole story, I don’t know the whole story. So that’s kind of like, hey, make a comment on the war.
“I don’t know. I’m not over there. I don’t know what it’s like to have people shooting across my head every day.
“Those people are the bravest people in the world to me, that’s all I can say about it.”
Having reached the top of the music game, Justin is now going for the A list Hollywood prize, too.
He admits as a kid he “constantly fantasised” about becoming an actor and reckons, so far, his acting is all about crying.
Justin laughed: “I’m a good cry baby. All I do in Black Snake Moan is cry.
“I cried in Alpha Dog and I cry in Shrek.
“What the hell. I just cry in every movie I’m in. That’s crazy.”
In Shrek the Third, he plays Fiona’s young cousin Arthur (Artie).
Justin said: “It was fun being a teenager again. It was fun to make jokes about it.
“It wasn’t fun when I was doing it in my life but it was fun to make jokes about it.”
Justin had a tough childhood, a dream teenage time of fame and riches and, in his 20s, achieved more than most achieve in a lifetime.
Next, he’ll be working with Madonna and doing more acting – so, four years off 30, has he get any goals left to reach?
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “Thirty has never seemed like a crazy landmark to me. Fifty seems like a crazy landmark to me – probably because I just realised that I’m halfway there.
“Halfway to 50. I know it sounds so jaded and ridiculous but when you guys turned 25 or 26 did you say, ‘I’m halfway to 50?’
“I’m hoping I’m 50 times better when I’m 50.”
Fuente: Daily Record