Justin Timberlake Explains Why NSYNC’s Breakup Wasn’t “Big News” to the Band

The stars of NSYNC couldn’t fight the feeling it was time to go their separate ways.

It’s been nearly a decade since the iconic boy band released their third studio album, Celebrity. Just over a year later, in August 2002, Justin Timberlake dropped his debut single as a solo artist, the chart-topping “Like I Love You.” Not long after, he took the stage at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards for the first time as a standalone performer and serenaded viewers with his fresh release. Just like that, a solo star was born. And while NSYNC, the band that had turned five guys into household names, was said to be only on a “temporary hiatus” at the time, the group never reunited back in the recording studio.  

Despite how things unfolded, their initial break was something the guys seemingly wanted. In a new interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music Essentials, Lowe recalled the hype around NSYNC’s split at the time. However, Timberlake tried to downplay how big the news had been. According to him, it wasn’t so big for the guys themselves. 

“At that time, I think everybody had aspirations of doing other things and we had talked about it,” the singer told Lowe. “For me it was always—I mean, when I was 10 years old, my dream was to have my own record.”

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