What Justin Timberlake said about falling for Jessica Biel — before PDA pics with co-star emerged

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 01: Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel attend the Louis Vuitton Womenswear Spring/Summer 2020 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on October 01, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel at the Louis Vuitton Womenswear Spring/Summer 2020 on Oct. 1 — before his hand-holding night out with his Palmer co-stars led to him making a very public apology to his wife. (Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

Justin Timberlake was spotted for the first time since he publicly apologized to wife Jessica Biel for holding hands with his Palmer co-star Alisha Wainwright — and his wedding band never quite looked so shiny.

The scandal and the singer’s uncharacteristically public statement, apologizing to his wife of seven years for his “strong lapse in judgement” during a drunken night out, have led us to revisit his recollection of how they got together in 2007. It involved a first dance to Madonna’s “Lucky Star,” lots of phone dates and waiting for a long time before sharing their first kiss.

“I wrote the song ‘Mirrors’ for my wife,” Timberlake wrote in in his 2018 memoir, Hindsight: And All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me. “We were living together at the time. We weren’t engaged yet. In fact, it was years before I proposed.”

He said the “song didn’t come out until just before we got married, years later. The video became a dedication to my grandparents. I learned about long-lasting love from them. I know that’s what I have with my wife.”

He wrote that when he first met “Jess” — at a surprise party he threw for a friend at a Hollywood speakeasy — it was “undeniable how beautiful she is.” But he said the pair, who were among a larger group, connected over a mutual sense of humor.

“I made some sort of sarcastic comment, really dry. Nobody got it except her,” he wrote. “She laughed, and I noticed, all of a sudden, and in the way where you wonder if a person’s like you, if they have a very dry, dark sense of humor, too.”

The dark humor lovers “talked that night” and then the DJ played Madonna’s “Lucky Star,” and “we danced. And then she was gone.”

(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) HOLLYWOOD - DECEMBER 10:  ***EXCLUSIVE***  Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel during Jessica Biel & Make The Difference Network Partner with Auction Cause to Benefit Childrens Hospital Los Angeles at Social Hollywood in Hollywood, CA on December 10, 2008.  (Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in 2008 — their earliy days of dating. (Photo: Chris Polk/FilmMagic)

Timberlake, fresh off his split with Cameron Diaz (he also memorably dated Britney Spears), wrote that he didn’t ask for Biel’s number — “It wasn’t the time” — but he kept thinking about her. A lot.

“I’m kind of really interested in that girl,” he recalled thinking of the 7th Heaven alum, whose exes included Chris Evans and Derek Jeter. “There was just something about that girl. Kind of interested in that girl. Goddamn it.”

He said his feelings for her left him not himself.

Related Video: Justin Timberlake Publicly Apologizes to Wife Jessica Biel

“I had to psych myself up,” he wrote. “I had to remind myself that I was me — giving myself a pep talk, shadowboxing with myself, rubbing my own shoulders.”

However, time went by and they didn’t have contact — until the first show for his FutureSex/LoveSounds tour in January 2007. The tour stop was in San Diego and a mutual friend asked Timberlake, “What if I was to bring a certain somebody?” He said he, “could be into that,” admitted to playing coy.

“My friend brought her to the show,” Timberlake recalled. “They were with a whole crew of girls, and they all came into the dressing room and hung out. After the show, they were going to go back to L.A., and I was going on to Anaheim. I asked them if they wanted to come with me” on his tour bus.

They did and the pair talked nonstop during the ride. Before she got off the bus, Timberlake had her number.

“That was when we started talking on the phone,” Timberlake said. “We didn’t date at first. For about two weeks, we talked on the phone, because I was on tour.” (Biel has said they didn’t kiss “for a very long time” due to their relationship progressing via phone.)

And they both kept their options open — dating other people while dating each other.

He described it as, “Keeping ourselves safe from getting hurt, from really putting ourselves out there.” He admitted, “It took a bit for both of us to admit to ourselves that were were really, really that into each other. When I came back from tour, we spent a month together. After that, I said, 'I really want to be exclusive.' And, somehow, she said, 'So do I.'"

Timberlake went on to say that they had “a lot of unforgettable times” and she became “a huge influence on my life.”

He gushed that he has “such admiration for her, especially seeing her as a mother now” to their 4-year-old son, Silas. “But I had admiration for her before. She’s a very good writer. She’s a poet. She’s a tremendous actor. She’s funny. Very funny. And she’s one of the most patient people I’ve ever met. So, could finding someone who covers for your shortcomings be a thing that plays well for relationships?”

Timberlake added, “She changed me. She changed my life. All of that is in ‘Mirrors.’ Not the details. But the way it felt to have my life be touched by her.”

Biel and Timberlake briefly split in 2011 and after getting back together that year, became engaged. They were married in Italy in 2012, with the bride in pink and the pair sharing their first dance to "A Song for You" by Donny Hathaway. Silas was born in 2015 — and we’ve watched them up the adorable year after year in their matching Halloween costumes.

Over the weekend of Nov. 23, Timberlake was partying with Wainwright and other members of the Palmer crew in New Orleans. Photos and video from the night out showed Timberlake appearing intoxicated and at one point holding hands with the beautiful actress.

“Sources” were quick to deny that anything was going on and proclaimed it “totally innocent.” The co-stars were photographed, keeping their distance, on the set days later. And Biel stepped out wearing her wedding ring.

Then — more than a week after the photos first emerged — Timberlake took to social media on Wednesday to publicly apologize to Biel. He said he “regrets” his behavior and “should have known better” though emphasizing that “nothing happened between me and my costar.”

It’s unclear why Timberlake waited to apologize — and didn’t reference Wainwright by name in the apology, despite the actress being the target of nasty comments as a result of the photos.

A source close to the couple told People after his apology that Biel believes Timberlake when he said “nothing happened” with Wainwright and the pair will “work through” the drama.

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