WATCH: Janet Jackson’s Controversial Super Bowl Performance

Janet Jackson & Justin Timberlake

Getty Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake are photographed at the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s live performance at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show in 2004, which left Jackson partially topless, has been a topic of discussion for the past 17 years. The Today Show reported the documentary, “Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson,” premiering on November 19 on FX, will take a look at the treatment Jackson experienced following the performance. 

The 2004 Super Bowl halftime show had star-studded performances from Nelly, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Janet Jackson, and Justin Timberlake. Toward the end of the show, Timberlake and Jackson performed his 2002 song “Rock Your Body.” According to the Today Show, at the end of the song, the former NSYNC member pulled off “a part of Janet Jackson’s dress, exposing her breast.”

The full Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show performance can be watched here

Janet Jackson Discussed the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show During a 2006 Interview With Oprah Winfrey

During a 2006 interview on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Janet Jackson discussed the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. Oprah Winfrey revealed to her audience that after Jackson and Timberlake’s performance, “the FCC received more than 500,000 complaints about that broadcast.” She also noted that “CBS was fined $550,000.”

While speaking to Winfrey, Jackson asserted that she never intended to reveal her chest while performing with Timberlake. 

“What people don’t understand is [Timberlake] was to take and rip the piece off that he did but more came off than what was supposed to,” explained Jackson. 

The singer also asserted that the incident “was a very embarrassing moment.” She went on to say she regretted issuing an apology shortly after the 2004 halftime performance. 

“It was an accident and the management I had at the time, they thought it was important that I did, you know, with the project coming out and I had said actually before I had sat down to record the apology, I had said to them, ‘Why am I apologizing for an accident?’” said the singer. 

She also noted that the media placed blame on her, as opposed to Timberlake, for the performance. 

“All the emphasis was put on me. Not on Justin,” said Jackson.

Justin Timberlake & Nelly Spoke About the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show In Separate Interviews 

While speaking to Apple Music in 2018, Justin Timberlake discussed being asked back to perform at the Super Bowl LII halftime show. He revealed that he assured the NFL and CBS that he would not repeat what occurred that the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. 

“It’s just one of those things where you go like we’re not going to — what do you want me to say — we’re not gonna do that again,” said Timberlake. 

The father-of-two also shared that he could have handled the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show performance better. 

“I stumbled through it to be quite honest — I had my wires crossed and it’s something that you have to look back on and go okay well, you can’t change what’s happened but you can move forward and learn from it,” said the “Friends with Benefits” star. 

During a February 2021 SiriusXM interview, Nelly shared his thoughts about Jackson and Timberlake performing “Rock Your Body” at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. 

“That stadium was quiet. You wanna talk about putting 80,000 people in a hush mode real quick,” said Nelly. 

The rapper also revealed that he has a close relationship with Jackson. 

“It was a little tough because you know, I love Janet. She’s like a big sister to me, so to watch her kind of take that bullet alone that was the most hurtful part. A lot of people slipped out of the backdoor on that one,” said Nelly. 

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