As America gears up for Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, many are taking a moment to remember “Nipplegate” - Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction in 2004 at Super Bowl XXXVIII - which marks its 10th anniversary this year.
At the event, Justin Timberlake was joined Jackson on stage to perform his solo “Rock Your Body,” and, at the end of the performance, he yanked the garment covering Jackson’s right breast. The breast was exposed for nine-sixteenths of a second, and it made Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show go down in history.
"Justin was supposed to pull away the rubber bustier to reveal a red lace bra," Jackson's rep said at the time, according to E!News. "The garment collapsed and her breast was accidentally revealed."
Jackson took up the responsibility for the act, and even released a video to apologize for the wardrobe malfunction. Soon after the event, the Federal Communications Commission received 540,000 indecency complaints about the incident.
"My decision to change the Super Bowl performance was made after the final rehearsal,” she said. “MTV, CBS [and] the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever and unfortunately, the whole thing went wrong in the end. I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention."
According to reports, the malfunction nearly cost Jackson her music career. While Timberlake’s career took off, Jackson’s suffered, especially with many networks blacklisting the singer, ESPN reported.
Jackson spoke about the scandal to Oprah Winfrey in 2006, and said that she has not spoken to Timberlake since the incident, though he has "reached out to speak with me."
She also insisted that the act was accidental: "So much more important things were going on in the world. And the focus was on my breast? That didn't make any sense to me," Jackson said at the time.