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Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake: Why the couple broke up in 2011

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Hollywood is notorious for tearing apart even the most loved up couples – here are some secrets to marriage from the celebs who made it through!

With just a few seconds of footage and a handful boozy photos, one of Hollywood’s favourite couples, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, were thrust into headlines this week.
But while many were shocked to see photos of married star Timberlake cosying up to his co-star Alisha Wainwright – it’s not the first time cheating rumours have plagued his marriage to actress Jessica Biel.

While the parents of four-year-old Silas are prone to gushing over each other in interviews and on Instagram, having celebrated their seventh year of marriage this October, this certainly isn’t the first speed bump in their love story.

In fact, the last time headlines swirled that Timberlake had been unfaithful, it led to a brief split.

It was 2011. Megastars Biel and Timberlake — who each rose to fame in their respective acting and music careers in the 90s — had been together four years when the break-up statement dropped.

Biel had recently appeared in star-studded holiday film New Year’s Eve, and Timberlake was fresh off the set of hit rom-com Friends with Benefits alongside Mila Kunis, having hit pause on his solo music career to focus on acting.

Peppered with the assurance of mutuality and continued friendship — what was later infamously described as “conscious uncoupling” by Gwyneth Paltrow — the statement seemed to hint that the break-up wouldn’t last.

It didn’t, of course, but the rumours surrounding why they split in the first place were rife.

And most revolved around Timberlake’s infamous “playboy” streak, which he came known for during his NSYNC days after flings with a slew of high-profile women.

Back then, UK publications even referred to him as “Trousersnake”.

According to Metro, he said in 2004 of the nickname: “I hate it. It started in the UK and took on a life of its own. I’m still not sure what it means.”

Timberlake and Biel tied the knot in 2012, Biel in an iconic blush pink princess gown. Three years later, she gave birth to their son.

But while the couple have seemingly moved quietly on with their lives — both still acting but keeping their home life out of the public eye, this week, history repeated.

Here’s their relationship timeline.


Justin Timberlake met Jessica Biel at the Golden Globes in 2007.

Biel’s 7th Heaven co-star and close friend Beverly Mitchell later talked about the initial encounter, revealing that the flying sparks were clear even as a bystander.

“It was very, very sweet,” she told Access Hollywood Live.

“They were definitely flirting. They were really cute.”

Timberlake later asked a mutual friend for Biel’s number, and when they finally spoke on the phone, he invited the actress on a date.

The two “never really kissed for a very long time,” according to Biel, as Timberlake went on tour shortly after they met.

In Timberlake’s book Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me, released last year, he shared what it was that initially attracted him to his wife.

“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 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 humour, too.”


Before Timberlake, Biel dated three other famous men, with rumours she had a brief fling with fellow A-lister Gerard Butler during their break.

Biel dated her I’ll Be Home for Christmas co-star Adam LaVorgna from 1998 to 2001. She then pursued a five-year romance with Chris Evans from 2001 to 2006.

Evans and Biel reportedly had an on-off relationship, and to this day there are no confirmed reports as to why it ended.

After Evans, Biel had a brief romance with professional baseball player Derek Jeter, but it fizzled. And then came Timberlake.


Justin Timberlake, on the other hand, has been linked to a host of famous women, from Fergie to Scarlett Johansson, Alicia Keys, Emma Bunton and Jenna Dewan – some, according to gossip sites, overlapping.

He’s even rumoured to have shared a kiss with Beyonce.

But his two most memorable romances were of course with Britney Spears and Cameron Diaz.

His relationship with Spears began as a friendship in their pre-teen years, when they were both cast members of the American variety show The Mickey Mouse Club.

Seven years later, romance blossomed.

They dated from 1998-2002, securing themselves as a royal couple of the pop music industry.

“I’m not ashamed at all to say that I love him from the bottom of my heart. As far as love is concerned, with him, too much is not enough. He’s everything,” a besotted Spears told The Observer in 2001.

Britney Spears & Justin Timberlake were an iconic pop couple of the 90s. Picture: WireImage. Source: Supplied
They split the next year, amid reports Spears had cheated with choreographer Wade Robson. “The break-up was absolutely heartbreaking for me. I can’t just have meaningless relationships with women. I have to find ‘Miss Right’ in order to have a relationship. There’s got to be that big moment when she comes along,” Timberlake later said.

He apparently wrote Cry Me A River hours after his split from Spears.

The following year, he struck up a relationship with Cameron Diaz.

They met at the Kids Choice Awards when the Charlie’s Angels star presented him with the prize for “Best Burp”, but split after four years later amid rumours that Diaz grew suspicious of Timberlake and his wandering eye.

He had grown close with Scarlett Johansson after her 2006 involvement in his What Goes Around … Comes Around music video, a friendship Diaz reportedly didn’t approve of.

While a fling between Johansson and Timberlake was never confirmed, it was long whispered, and he and Diaz announced their separation in January 2007.

That year, he met Biel.


Biel and Timberlake’s early years together were riddled with cheating rumours. Rumours that seemed to follow Timberlake from his past relationships.

Around the time he and Biel parted ways, he was linked to Olivia Wilde and Olivia Munn, and before that it was Rihanna.

According to Us Weekly, Timberlake had a “three-day fling” with Olivia Munn in 2010. There was also heavy speculation his Friends With Benefits co-star Mila Kunis had something to do with his split from Biel.

Timberlake’s reps strongly denied all allegations, and Munn’s reps made no comment.

In March 2011, reps for Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel released a joint statement confirming that they had broken up.

“Addressing the media speculation regarding Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake’s relationship, we are confirming that they mutually have decided to part ways,” the statement released to People read.

“The two remain friends and continue to hold the highest level of love and respect for each other.”

Their split only lasted a few short months. Picture: Getty. Source: Supplied
According to reports, a then-30-year-old JT was ruminating on whether forever-relationships were possible, suggesting the split was a case of cold feet in the face of a potential long-term commitment.

“We talked a little about marriage,” Timberlake told Vanity Fair in 2011, a few months after the break-up went public.

“I think the mistake is that people commit to who that person is right then and not the person they’re going to become. That’s the art of staying together, is changing together. When you say it like that, it seems damn near impossible, right?,” the publication reported him questioning.

Although the relationship was over, Timberlake had nothing but nice things to say about her, telling Vanity Fair: “In my 30 years, she is the most special person, OK? I don’t want to say much more, because I have to protect things that are dear to me — for instance, her.”

In July that year, Us Weekly released photos of the exes catching up, and a few months later, they were engaged.

Speaking to Marie Claire, Biel said last year of their relationship: “We have similar values; we believe in loyalty, honesty. We like to have fun. We like a lot of the same things.

“Also, in the business, we’re all very career-oriented, and you have to be a little selfish. I understand that about my peers — about being focused and driven — and if you can find that and someone who shares the same values as you, it’s like: Score!”

Following this week’s scandal, sources close to the couple have maintained they are committed to overcoming the slip-up — insisting the suggestive photos of Timberlake were merely a drunken mistake.

Earlier this week, The Sun revealed pictures that showed the singer getting hands-on with his Palmer co-star Alisha Wainwright during a boozy night out.

Timberlake was seen drinking heavily, and according to sources, he was unsteady on his feet.

One source said: “At one stage he grabbed her hand and rested it on his knee. She then gently started stroking his leg.

“Then he clutched her hand with both of his and was playing with her hands.”

A source later toldE! Newsthat Timberlake “got carried away”, and was doing all he could to make it up to Biel.

“They are downplaying everything and trying to laugh it off as nothing,” they told the publication.

“But it was definitely inappropriate and something that would make any wife uncomfortable.”

They continued: “Their marriage will survive. He feels guilty and will make it up to her.

“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.”

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