The 36-year-old singer says despite the immense success, he was ready to embark on new projects, which solely catered to the music and not to sold-out stadiums.
"We were on a stadium tour, and I just felt like the whole thing was too big," Timberlake said to The Hollywood Reporter.
“It started as a fun snowball fight that was becoming an avalanche," he continued. "And, also, I was growing out of it."
"I felt like I cared more about the music than some of the other people in the group," he added. "And I felt like I had other music I wanted to make and that I needed to follow my heart."
Technically, the group never broke up. The five members announced they were going on a hiatus in the spring of 2002, but to this date, have never officially gotten back together. Timberlake debuted his first solo single, "Like I Love You," in October 2002. The song hit No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and his debut solo album, Justified, went on to sell three million copies.
The "Cry Me a River" singer has come a long way since the release of his first solo album. Last month, Timberlake, along with Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster, received his first Oscar nomination for Best Original Song after helping pen the hit song "Can't Stop the Feeling" off the Trolls soundtrack.
For more on Timberlake's rising career, watch the video below.