Stylist Says Janet Jackson Super Bowl ‘Wardrobe Malfunction’ Was Intentional for Justin Timberlake to Upstage Britney Spears’ VMA Performance

Janet Jackson’s reputation took a hit for a moment following #Nipplegate at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show with Justin Timberlake. Jackson was blamed and criticized in the public while Timberlake sat silent. Years later, Timberlake apologized. Now, a stylist who worked with them for the performance says the whole ordeal was intentional as Timberlake wanted to upstage Britney Spears’ raunchy 2003 VMA performance.

Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson
Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson at the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show | Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Stylist explains Justin Timberlake’s ‘intentional wardrobe malfunction’ on Janet Jackson

Wayne Scot Lukas prepared Jackson’s look for the highly anticipated performance with Timberlake. In an interview with Page Six, Scot Lucas says from the beginning, Timberlake “insisted on doing something bigger than their performance. He wanted a reveal.”

Per the super stylist, the original concept was for Jackson to be in a pearl G-string inspired by one that Kim Cattrall wore in an episode of Sex and the City.

“Janet was going to be in a Rocha dress, and [Justin] was going to step on the back of her dress to reveal her butt in this pearl G-string,” he told the publication. “The outfit changed a couple of days before, and you saw the magic.”

Source: YouTube

Related: Was Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Costume Rip Planned?

Timberlake famously tore off part of Jackson’s top at the end of their performance, briefly revealing Jackson’s breast. The “Sexy Back” singer famously labeled the incident a “wardrobe malfunction.”

But Scot Lucas says Timberlake isn’t telling the truth. “I wouldn’t call it a wardrobe ‘malfunction’ in a million years. It was the most functioning wardrobe in history. As a stylist, it did what it was intended to do,” he said.

As for why Timberlake was committed to doing something so risque, Scot Lucas says Timberlake wanted to upstage his ex, Britney Spears. Months earlier, she performed at the 2003 MTV VMA’s where she shared a scandalous kiss with Madonna.

Janet Jackson previously said she felt betrayed by Justin Timberlake

The ‘“wardrobe malfunction” did not go over well. The FCC received more than 500,000 complaints about the incident. CBS was fine $550,000 and the NFL was asked to return the $10 million they received from the halftime show sponsor, Pepsi. Jackson recorded an apology within 24 hours. 

During a 2006 interview with Oprah, Jackson said that the risque move was partially planned.

“He was to take and rip the piece of that he did, but more came off than what was supposed to,” Jackson explained. “Very embarrassing moment.”

Jackson also admitted that she regrets her apology, telling Oprah that her management pressured her into it because she had a music project to be released. When asked by Oprah if she felt left hanging by Timberlake, Jackson said yes. 

Source: YouTube

Related: Why Janet Jackson Wouldn’t Speak to Justin Timberlake for Years

“All the emphasis was put on me, not on Justin,” she said. “Justin, we were friends.”

Around the same time, Timberlake did an interview with MTV News and admitted that Jackson received more of the blame. He felt such because Jackson is a woman. 

In 2021, Timberlake apologized publicly for his part in it. Sources say Jackson forgave Timberlake long ago after they had a private conversation.