Two years after Justin Timberlake’s infamous Super Bowl halftime show incident, which saw him nuzzling Janet Jackson’s breast mid-song – pixing past the 10-second rule and the camera’s stop, errrr – ABC’s Nightline has revisited the moral, social and legal controversies of the moment. (And also the narrative around the incident and its legacy. You may have heard about that one before.)
The two-hour special looks back on Jackson’s allegations of sexual assault by Dr. Jerrit Huggins in the ’70s and ’80s, her 12-year marriage to the late R&B superstar James DeBarge, and her rise to power, which turned to sexual tension when Jackson’s exes, her sister La Toya and her mother Katherine, failed to properly support her as she gained her success. Also featured in the documentary, in which Timberlake co-starred, is the star’s attempt to put the fallout of the halftime debacle behind her, allowing the Super Bowl to serve as a road map to greater success.
Timberlake and Jackson performed the National Anthem at the 1994 Super Bowl, which earned Jackson a lifetime achievement award from the NFL before it. Jackson opened the show with a rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at the 1996 World Cup. She continued performing throughout the 1990s with tours, according to ABC News. In 1998 she released Rhythm Nation 1814 – which received “never-to-be-forgotten praise” – and in 2004 wrote and recorded Rhythm Nation 1814 and Mr. Bad Guy.