Justin Timberlake

A former member of one of music history's most successful boy bands, Justin Timberlake is the pin-up who set a million schoolgirls' hearts aflutter. His "teen-pop" background didn't prevent him earning real artistic credibility, however.

Justin's album Justified took him to Number One on both sides of the Atlantic, putting paid to the difficulties he initially experienced breaking the British market. And with music critics eating humble pie, and admitting the record was "actually good", the former N'Sync frontman proved he had sent the doubters packing.

Many said the boyish blond, born January 31, 1981, would never break free of "plastic pop", but they were proven wrong. Their uncertainty could be forgiven, though, as his status as a "manufactured star" is irrefutable. Justin's grooming for N'Sync began at age 12 when he joined the Mickey Mouse Club TV series, along with Christina Aguilera and future-girlfriend Britney Spears.

His much-publicised relationship and subsequent break-up from Britney certainly didn't hurt his profile. In fact, the Memphis-born star went on to command just as many magazine covers as his former love, while his credibility easily eclipsed hers.

While other child stars tend to tailor their behaviour throughout their careers, Justin stands out because he never quite managed to follow the cleaner-than-clean boy band script. His outspokenness during N'Sync interviews once provoked his fellow band members to sing No Doubt's Don't Speak in the background, and he is no stranger to controversy.

One teenage fan filed a lawsuit against him after he allegedly pinned her against a wall and shouted insults at her, and he also raised eyebrows by revealing some of the more intimate details of his relationship with Britney in a radio interview. Meanwhile, his admission that he enjoys "herbal remedies" did little to charm pop bigwigs obsessed with image. This is not the sort of comportment record company bosses expect from their "youth market" artists.

His public relations gaffes turned into victories, however, as the media fell for the refreshingly imperfect Justin. And these days the singer enjoys both global stardom and artistic respect.

A series of high-profile romance rumours boosted his profile even further. Christina Aguilera, Melrose Place star Alyssa Milano, and Janet Jackson number among his reported exes. A raunchy Baftas duet with Kylie Minogue in 2003, put him back in the headlines, and a few characteristically candid post show remarks from Justin regarding the Aussie star's bottom did nothing to quiet the media furore.

A relationship with The Holiday beauty Cameron Diaz was conducted on a more low-key basis, however, and although the couple became a regular sight stepping out to red carpet events together, Justin was unfamiliarly reticent about his new partner. After nearly four years together, the pair decided to call it quits, though, announcing their mutual decision to go their own ways in January 2007.

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