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Justin Timberlake Apologizes ‘to Absolutely F---ing Nobody’ Before Performing ‘Cry Me a River’ at Concert

The singer performed a free show at Irving Plaza in New York City on Wednesday, and made some comments before singing his 2002 hit

<p>Will Heath/NBC via Getty </p> Justin Timberlake performs

Will Heath/NBC via Getty

Justin Timberlake performs 'Selfish' on 'Saturday Night Live' on Jan. 27, 2024

Justin Timberlake celebrated his birthday with a one-night-only show in New York City, and made it clear he has “nobody” to apologize to.

The former *NSYNC frontman turned solo star turned 43 on Wednesday and celebrated by playing a free show at Irving Plaza, performing both a slew of his career-spanning hits and some of his new music of his forthcoming album, Everything I Thought It Was (which is due out March 15).

Before singing his 2002 hit “Cry Me a River,” Timberlake took a moment to share some candid thoughts with the crowd. “I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to absolutely f------ nobody,” Timberlake said before the song, a concertgoer confirmed to PEOPLE.

His statement comes after Britney Spears shared her thoughts on the two-decade-old song in her memoir, The Woman in Me, describing the plot of the song’s music video as, "a woman who looks like me cheats on him and he wanders around sad in the rain."

In the book, Spears, 42, claimed the media backlash from the video painted her as a "harlot who'd broken the heart of America's golden boy," when in actuality, she was "comatose in Louisiana, and he was happily running around Hollywood.” Spears also confirmed in the book that she kissed choreographer Wade Robson while dating Timberlake.

<p>Justin Timbelake/Instagram</p> Justin Timberlake thanks New York City crowd following free show at Irving Plaza

Justin Timbelake/Instagram

Justin Timberlake thanks New York City crowd following free show at Irving Plaza

Related: Why Britney Spears Publicly Supported Justin Timberlake's New Single: 'She's a Kind Person' (Exclusive Sources)

Timberlake never addressed Spears' comments directly, but told Zane Lowe last month that his new material will give his supporters a "real" perspective on his life.

"I was able, on some of the songs, to look back at the past and have a real, not a refracted perspective of what it was because they always say ... you always hear that thing about, well, there's never any truth, there's just everybody's perspective of what happened," he said. "But to really look at it and be able to metabolize and verbalize my perspective on it, I don't think I've ever really done that before."

On Sunday, after Timberlake returned to Saturday Night Live for the first time in 10 years, Spears made another public comment on the singer, praising the two new songs he performed on the NBC late-night sketch comedy show.

“I wanna apologize for some of the things I wrote about in my book. If I offended any of the people I genuinely care about I am deeply sorry…” she wrote in a since-deleted post on Instagram. “I also wanted to say I am in love with Justin Timberlake’s new song 'Selfish' 🌹 It is soo good and how come every time I see Justin and Jimmy together I laugh so hard ??? P.S. 'Sanctified' is wow 🤩 too.”

The post featured a video of Timberlake appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday, where he, Fallon and The Roots performed a fun medley of some of his biggest songs, along with “Selfish,” soundtracked by classroom instruments.

Related: Jessica Biel Is 'Supportive' and 'Proud' of Justin Timberlake's Musical Comeback: Source (Exclusive)

During Timberlake’s Irving Plaza show, his wife, Jessica Biel, also came out on stage and surprised the singer with a birthday cake and a song.

The crowd joined in to sing “Happy Birthday” to the Trolls star. Timberlake greeted his wife, who held a cake with several lit candles, with a kiss and a hug as the audience sang to him and he blew out the candles.

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Following the show, Timberlake posted a video on his Instagram Story thanking his fans for a great night. “New York City, Irving Plaza, that was fun,” he said as he videotaped himself at the venue, where crews where cleaning up the set. “Love you guys.”

“THANK YOU NY ❤️,” he wrote atop the selfie-style video. 

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