Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, 16, Bop: these tween rags introduced us to all our first crushes. Every Tuesday, we remember the dudes that decorated our photo binders. This week, we remember how Justin Timberlake initially sang his way into our hearts.
Name: Justin Timberlake
We Called Him: JT!
How Old Is He Now? 32 (Born January 31, 1981)
Claims to Fame: If you didn't start crushing on him in his Mickey Mouse Club Days (along with Ryan Gosling!), you knew him as the most heartthrobby member of 'N Sync.
Why We Loved Him: He was super-duper cute even with the dumbest hair and dumber clothes, because that is just the level of cute he is. Even now, though, JT calls the outfits from the 'N Sync era embarrassing: "There were many moments in my teenage years where I succumbed to, um, the weirdness of the group I was in. And in trying to conform — we're marionettes — I ended up looking like a moron."
But it didn't matter, because he was sooooo kewt. His big, blue eyes held so many feelings that he needed to just sing out.
Some modern-day superheroes run a nostalgia site called stillnsync.com that has archived all these spectacular early interviews, where Justin busts out this combination of sensitivity and swag that had to have been grown in a lab for the sole purpose of being crushed on.
“I knew this moment was going to have to come soon and I wanted it to be this night,” recalls the Ryan Phillippe look-alike. “Then, all of a sudden, she turns the TV off, hits the light switch off, it’s pitch black, and we’re both like, we don’t know what to say. So I looked at her, I’m embarrassed, and thought we might as well do it and we did and it was great. I was a happy little guy."
At this point in time, he seems more saint than sex symbol. He is just 17, but this sudden meeting makes his face seem older.
“We haven’t been there in a while,” he says, shivering and bundling up into a quilted jacket. “It’s very sad, because there were kids here last year who you knew wouldn’t be there the next time. Actually going back makes it more realistic.”
Justin arrives back at his hotel, where a steady stream of adoring fans stands outside. Taking notice of the arriving limo, they instantly break out into a screaming frenzy. Justin is tired, worn out from the constant travel and, although he denies it, a bit crinkled from the shedding of a few tears.
He's such an angel. We might have to be alone with our feelings right now, guys.
What He's Up To Now: We mean, besides reuniting with the rest of 'N Sync at the BEST VMAS EVER.
After the inevitable demise of 'N Sync, Justin went on to be the only member to achieve fame outside the group. He cut his hair in a way that works for him, put on a suit, teamed up with Timbaland to create some of the sexiest jams of all time, and never looked back.
He started acting. Not just acting, but top-billed spots in films like Inside Llewyn Davis, Friends with Benefits, and The Social Network. Dude has hosted SNL five times — a member of the five-timers club! — and has been involved with some of the most hilarious and iconic sketches of the past decade, especially the digital shorts.
In addition to all those other accolades, dude has had not one, but two hit albums this year.
Dude is an all-around savant, and he's even hotter now than he was as a teen heartthrob. Not a bad deal, JT!