Long before he brought sexy back, starred in movies, became best pals with Timbaland or played the role of "the cute one" in 'N Sync, Justin Timberlake was just another cog in the Mickey Mouse money machine, logging two seasons on Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club."
He's also spent pretty much every waking minute of his teens and 20s living directly in the spotlight. And in that time he's managed to find himself at the center of at least one significant public controversy ("wardrobe malfunction" anyone?).
So, obviously, he can sympathize with the ongoing plight of current Disney star — and public pariah — Miley Cyrus. So when we caught up with JT backstage at New York's Roseland Ballroom (where he'd just shared the stage with Madonna), we figured we'd ask him all about Cyrus' revealing Vanity Fair and Internet photos. It turns out, much like the Material Girl herself, Timberlake thinks the entire issue has been blown out of proportion.
But unlike Maddy, he sees the Cyrus controversy as part of a much larger problem: the public's rather insatiable desire to tear down anyone and everyone.
"Of course they're going to pick [on] a wholesome, American, young female [for] the first sign of anything," Timberlake said. "Unfortunately, there's a picture of her that's published with her in just a blanket. ... And that's the photo, that's the catalyst. But that's also the age we live in. People want to take a photo, and that's who you are for a year's time. We've all become victims of that."
And to that point, he thinks that Cyrus' young fans aren't the ones keeping Mileygate going. In fact, they've probably already forgotten about the issue entirely. The real problem lies with what those fan's parents think (as one MTV News intern already pointed out here).
"I don't think people her age look at [the photo] the same way their parents do," Timberlake said.
And though he wishes the whole situation would just go away, he joked that he's cooking up plans for making a quick buck off it. After all, in addition to being a singer, an entertainer and an actor, he's also a business man.
"I'm gonna make 'Leave Miley Alone' T-shirts," he laughed.