Justin got his first taste of fame at an early age on shows like Star Search and The New Mickey Mouse Club. As a teenager, Justin—known as JT to his fans—sang and danced his way into the hearts of millions as a member of *NSYNC, a chart-topping boy band that sold millions of records worldwide.
In 2002, Justin struck out on his own and released Justified, his first solo album. It went on to sell more than 7 million copies worldwide, making him one of the hottest acts in the music business.
Now, this Tennessee native is "bringing sexy back" with his latest CD, Future Sex/Love Sounds. In 2006, his first single off the album, "SexyBack," soared to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed on top for seven weeks!
"So you brought sexy back," Oprah says. "Where had it gone?"
"The funniest thing about that song was, originally, it wasn't going to be titled 'SexyBack,'" Justin says. "We didn't know what we were going to call it, and that was sort of an ad lib line that started off the actual writing of the song. Then I started playing it for a lot of different women … and they kept saying, 'That Sexy Back song.' And I was like, well, all right. It stuck to the wall."
In the beginning, Justin says fame made him feel like an outsider. "I would film [The New Mickey Mouse Club] six months out of the year, and then go back to a small town in Tennessee," he says. "In that small town, yeah, I was a big deal, you know? But it was kind of interesting…I kind of became an outcast in school because I wasn't normal."
When Justin left Tennessee and began touring with *NSYNC, his career took off. He credits his mom, Lynn, and stepfather for keeping him grounded all these years. "I just remember my mom always instilling those thoughts in me that at the end of the day or at the beginning of the day, we all put our pants on the same way," he says.
It's not Justin's chart-topping hits or his dance moves that make his mom proud. Lynn says she's most proud of how her son handles superstardom. "[I'm proud] that he is so well-grounded—that he's a good person," she says. "It's like they say, 'Don't believe the hype.' You have to be able to separate who you are and what you do."
Even when he's doing something mundane, like grocery shopping or walking his dogs, Justin says he has constant companions…the paparazzi. At first, he says their presence was surreal.
"[When] you drive out of your [driveway] and people are kind of sitting waiting to follow you, you know, 'He's going to go to Whole Foods. We need to capture that.' You're just like, okay, this is kind of weird. … You kind of try to pretend it's not there."
Over the years, Justin says he has become defensive and protective if the paparazzi followed him while he was with friends and family. Now, he tries to come to an agreement with photographers. "It's like, 'Look, you guys have the technology of telephoto lenses and you can shoot those pictures [from far away],'" he says. "I think it's one of those things that, if you let it, it will consume you."
Recently, Britney has been making headlines for out-of-the-ordinary behavior.
Oprah: What do you think is going on with Britney?
Justin: I don't know, to be honest with you. I haven't spoken to her in years. I mean, there's no ill will—I have nothing but love for her. It's funny because we dated each other at a time…wow, I haven't talked about this in a long time. It's interesting.
Oprah: But you've never talked about it to me, so it's okay.
Justin: Hey, let's get it in, girl.
Oprah: Let's get it in.
Justin: We were teenagers, you know?
Oprah: Yes, famous teenagers.
Justin: I think that's basically the best way to describe what happened to us. I think she's a great person, and I don't know her as well as I did …. What I do know about her is she has a huge heart, and she is a great person.
Oprah may not get a name out of Justin, but he does share a few secrets about his personal life. "I get pretty romantic around her," he says. Justin admits that he even sings to her sometimes.
While he's away on tour, Justin says he stays connected to his mystery woman through iChat, a computer program that lets you see the person you're talking to with a webcam. "Technology is a wonderful thing sometimes. … I find that to be really cool, when you can actually see someone's face. I do it with my friends, as well, just to have a conversation back and forth. It just makes you feel closer, that's all."
Dating isn't easy—especially when your relationship gets played out in the public eye. In a past interview, Justin said tabloids create soap operas out of people's lives. "If two famous people are dating each other, what I found—and I could be wrong—but just in my personal experience, [they think] if you're not going to get married, then you're breaking up."
"I find performing live to just be something that's unexplainable," he says. "I've had food poisoning, I've had the flu, and somehow you hit the stage and start this sort of conversation with the audience and something electric happens…you can't explain it. I find it to be probably the closest to a holy experience that I can imagine."
When Justin's on stage, he says he wants every person in the audience to feel like they're in his living room.
Justin gives Oprah's audience a taste of that by performing "What Goes Around," a single off Future Sex/Love Sounds.
Reba says work—and vacationing—have been keeping her very busy! "It's been a South Pacific summer. I went to Fiji, Bora Bora and Hawaii. Isn't that nice?" she says. "And then I did three days at the Hollywood Bowl doing South Pacific with Brian Stokes Mitchell."
At age 52, Reba says she is as happy as she can be. "The reason I'm so happy is because I finally decided to quit trying to please everybody," Reba says. "All my life, I was always trying to please somebody. And [then] I started saying, 'You know what? If I'm not happy, how can I make anybody else happy?' Whether it's my husband, my children, my mom and daddy."
Reba met Kelly Clarkson at the American Idol finale in 2002—the year Kelly won the title—and they've been buddies ever since. So when she was making the Duets album, Reba asked Kelly to join her. They teamed up to record a new version of Kelly's song "Because of You," which they perform on The Oprah Show.
Kelly was just 16 years old when she wrote "Because of You." She says it's about the "cycle of family"—how children act the way they do because of their parents. "It touched my heart so much," Reba says. "It's such a relatable song."
Although Reba says she was worried about taking up her friends' time when they were recording the Duets album, Kelly doesn't think it was a burden at all! "It's not really 'taking up your time.' It's cool," she says. "It's not like, 'Oh, I have to go sing with Reba,' " she jokes.
Reba says she doesn't write songs as much as she used to—but that's where Kelly comes in! "I'll get an idea every once in a while. Somebody will say something, and I'll write it down—and then I'll tell Kelly," Reba says. "That works out real well."
Even though Reba is 52 and Kelly is 25, Kelly doesn't really notice the age gap when they hang out together. "We even went to Yosemite, and we're hiking up this mountain, and my mom—God bless you, I love you—would have been at the bottom of the mountain being like, 'Well, I'll hold your bags and I'll sit it out.'" But not Reba! "She and [her husband] Narvel were ahead of us," Kelly says. "It was a big mountain!"
But that doesn't mean the photographers don't target Kelly when she leaves her Texas retreat! "When Kelly and I will hang out in L.A.," Reba says. "We'll come out of the restaurant … here comes the paparazzi to Kelly, taking all the pictures, and they'll look up and say, 'Oh, hi, Reba,'" she jokes.
Justin visited Reba at the studio and played the song for her, and she liked it right away. "You're going to understand why I loved it so much," Reba says. Justin joins Reba on The Oprah Show stage to sing "The Only Promise That Remains."
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