After staying silent for two weeks about rumours of marriage problems, Justin Timberlake has made a long and candid public apology on Instagram to his wife Jessica Biel.
The Can’t Stop the Feeling singer and actor was snapped apparently holding hands and sitting close to his Palmer co-star Alisha Wainwright on a night out with other friends at a bar in New Orleans on November 21.
In footage obtained by the UK Sun, Wainwright is seen resting her hand on Timberlake’s knee on a balcony at the Old Absinthe House bar on Bourbon Street, while he stares straight ahead.
The images created buzz that the pair had gotten close on set, which heated up again when Timberlake and Wainwright (Raising Dion) were snapped days later coming out of the same movie trailer during a break in filming.
“I stay away from gossip as much as I can, but for my family, I feel it is important to address recent rumours that are hurting the people I love,” Timberlake, 38, wrote in his social media mea culpa on Wednesday (US time.)
“A few weeks ago I displayed a strong lapse in judgment – but let me be clear – nothing happened between me and my co-star.
“I drank way too much that night and I regret my behaviour. I should have known better.”
The star married Biel, 37, in 2012 in an intimate Italian wedding.
They share son Silas, 4, with Timberlake telling the US Today show in 2016 fatherhood “changes everything”.
“This is not the example I want to set for my son,” Timberlake added of his behaviour with Wainwright, 30.
“I apologise to my amazing wife and family for putting them through such an embarrassing situation, and I am focused on being the best husband and father I can be.”
As to whether the incident and headlines had made things awkward on set, Timberlake is “incredibly proud” to be working on Palmer, he said.
Even though the star thought he had something to say sorry to Biel for, a source with direct knowledge of what happened on the night told People Timberlake and Wainwright’s interactions were “completely innocent.”
The source said there was “definitely nothing happening. They’re cool and everybody was just hanging out”.
“The video may look a way, but literally it was nothing. Like come on, they’re on an open balcony in New Orleans and he’s famous. It was nothing.”
Now that Timberlake has outed himself for his behaviour, sources are singing a slightly different tune to US media outlets.
The singer and Biel are “taking the first steps of moving on” from Timberlake’s night out, an E!News source said.
“They are downplaying everything and trying to laugh it off as nothing. But it was definitely inappropriate and something that would make any wife uncomfortable,” the source said.
“He had too much to drink and got carried away. Their marriage will survive.”
Timberlake is now “feeling guilty” and trying to make it up to Biel, the source added.
“She is very good to him and he knows how lucky he is. He says it was not a big deal. They were all hanging out together and that’s the end of the story.”
Timberlake wrote in his 2018 memoir Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me what it was that first struck him about Biel.
“When I met Jess, it was undeniable how beautiful she is. I made some sort of sarcastic comment, really dry. Nobody got it except her,” he said.
“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 humour, too.”