Born in Memphis, Tennessee to Lynn Harless and Randall Timberlake, Justin has English and Native American roots. His grandfather on his father's side was a Baptist minister, and Justin was raised in the tradition of the Baptist faith, considering himself a Christian, but more "spiritual than religious." His parents divorced in 1985, then both found new spouses. His mother married banker Paul Harless when Justin was 5 years old. At that time his father, a choir conductor in a Baptist church, also married.
Justin took his first steps in his music career on the television show Star Search, performing country songs under the name "Justin Randall."
Beginning in 1993, Justin performed on the children's show Mickey Mouse Club, where he met future bandmate vocalist Joshua Chasez, as well as Christina Aguilera and his future girlfriend, Britney Spears. When the show ended in 1995, Justin invited Chasez to join a new men's music group that soon became famous as 'N Sync.
Timberlake's first film debut was as fictional star Jason Sharp, who falls in love with a waitress. This television movie was called Model Behavior and aired on the Disney Channel.
In 1997, Justin was recruited to the band 'N Sync. In May 1998 the band released their debut album, which sold over 10 million copies. The third studio album 'N Sync No Strings Attached, released in 2000, sold around 15 million copies. That same year, Timberlake's band won three awards at the MTV Video Music Awards.
In 2002, Timberlake announced his breakup with Britney Spears and began a solo career, recording the album Justified. The following year he became the top winner at the MTV Europe Awards, and another year later a huge scandal erupted around him. While performing with Janet Jackson on the Super Bowl Half-Time Show in front of millions of viewers, he (accidentally, he claimed) ripped off the part of the top that was covering the superstar's right breast. In a curious coincidence, the song they were performing had the lyrics, "I'm going to strip you down to the end of this song."
After this incident Timberlake took a pause in his career, during which he found time to work with rappers Snoop Dogg and Nelly. He recorded his second album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, with trendy hip-hop producer and songwriter Timbaland. The CD hit record store shelves in 2006 and became one of the most popular releases of the year.
In early 2007, Timberlake announced the breakup of his relationship with his next girlfriend, Cameron Diaz. In January, the movie Alpha Dog, in which Justin played one of the main roles, was released in theaters. Reviews of Timberlake's performance were mostly positive.