Justin Timberlake is getting candid about what it's like being a child star.
The 36-year-old singer opened up about his childhood spent in the spotlight in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, and how it's affected his own thoughts on raising his son, Silas.
"I think we can all agree that I did not have a normal childhood," Timberlake tells the magazine, reminiscing about being chased by mobs of teenage girls when he was just 15 years old. "I have some faint images from my childhood, but no, I can't really remember not being famous."
Timberlake got his show business start at 10 years old, when he appeared on Star Search. Though he ended up losing, he made the cut for The New Mickey Mouse Club a year later.
"We were at the age when you just soak in everything," Timberlake says of his experience on the Disney show, which also launched the careers of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell and Ryan Gosling. "We were taking acting classes, music classes, dance classes. We were learning how coverage and editing and cinematography work. And being put in front of a live audience, learning how to engage the crowd to get a laugh. Honestly, it was like SNL for children."
He says he hasn't kept in touch with Gosling, though the two superstars were notably close during their time together on The Mickey Mouse Club. Gosling, at one point, lived with Timberlake and the singer's mother, Lynn, when his own mom had to go back to Canada for work reasons.
"We aren't the closest of friends, for whatever reason," he now says of the La La Land actor.
Clearly, Timberlake is conflicted about his unusual upbringing.
"You go through your life with your own traumas, big and small, and think, 'It's not that bad, I have a lot to be thankful for, my parents did the best they could,'" he muses. "But then you have a child of your own, and suddenly it opens all the floodgates, and you're like, 'No, no, no! That childhood trauma really did f**k me up!'"
The GRAMMY-winning singer admits he struggled in the early days of being a parent. Timberlake and his wife, Jessica Biel, welcomed their son, Silas, in April 2015.
"At first, it broke me down," he recalls to THR. "Those first eight months felt like those old [Ed Sullivan] shows where people are balancing spinning plates on poles -- except if you drop one, they die."
Timberlake remains unsure when asked if he would want Silas to follow his path in the limelight.
"You know, I haven't been able to answer that question in my mind," he shares. "If he wanted it bad enough, I suppose I could teach him a lot about what not to do."
Last month, Timberlake sweetly dedicated his People's Choice Award for "Can't Stop the Feeling" to his wife and son.
"To my two favorite people in the world, my wife and my beautiful son, who may or may not be watching right now," he said. "If you are, buddy...the nanny's fired. I love you and go to bed, and you're the reason I wrote this song."