Justin Timberlake Shares Touching Story About How a Childhood Friend Came Out to Him
By Meredith B. Kile
Photo: Getty Images
Justin Timberlake and wife Jessica Biel accepted the Inspiration Award at the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) Respect awards on Friday night, and the singer took the stage to talk about when a childhood friend came out to him.
"Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, I was called all types of things, just for being creative," the 34-year-old told the crowd. "I ended up on this 'small television show' called The Disney Channel’s New MMC [Mickey Mouse Club]...I was 10 years old and all of a sudden, I was around a group of young people that were like me, that were different."
"I’ll never forget, a very good friend of mine -- still, to this day -- he’s an amazing songwriter and producer, his name is Matt Morris," Timberlake recalled. "I was obsessed with his voice, he had one of the most amazing voices. I actually learned how to riff, because I would follow him around."
"He was 14 years old and I was 12 years old, we were riding our bikes in Orlando, Florida," the singer continued, "and he said, 'Hey man, I have something that I have to tell you.' And I said, 'Yeah, I know.' And he said, 'No, it’s very important to me.' And I said, 'Yeah, I know.' And he said 'Okay, I’m just gonna say it...I’m gay.' To which I said, ‘Yeah, I know.'"
Morris was surprised by Timberlake’s acknowledgement and acceptance, the singer told the crowd, but for him, the news didn’t come as a shock. (Morris, 36, has released music on Timberlake’s Tennman Records and the two were on The Mickey Mouse Club together.)
"I said 'Matt, you make us breakfast in your own tortilla pan with a headband on while you’re wearing a mud mask every morning.'" he recalled with a laugh. "I said, 'You know what, I love you for that.'"