The singer — who has kept a low profile since Spears released her book — has built a "normal" life in Montana with Jessica Biel, a source says
Justin Timberlake is getting back to work.
On Wednesday, the pop star and actor stepped out for the Hollywood premiere of his new film Trolls Band Together. At the event, Timberlake walked the red carpet, where he posed with his wife Jessica Biel, as well as *NSYNC bandmates Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick, who recently reunited to record "Better Place" — their first new song in more than 20 years — for the film.
The outing came nearly a month after his ex, Britney Spears, released her bombshell memoir, The Woman in Me, in which she looks back on their relationship and breakup, writing that she had an abortion 20 years ago because Timberlake "didn't want to be a father."
Since that news broke, Timberlake, 42, has kept a low profile amid the Trolls promotional cycle. But a source says that's due to the recently ended SAG-AFTRA strike: Timberlake's promotion of Trolls, which included a recent screening and photocall with a smiling Biel, 41, by his side, was "upended more by the strike than by Britney concerns," says a source.
On Friday, Timberlake posted a photo with Biel and his former bandmates from the event on Instagram — his first since the Spears book.
"So proud to celebrate the new @trolls movie and album with the crew. Gotta say this is my favorite so far 🙏🏻 Has been good to be back with my boys," he captioned the carousel.
Biel also posted on Instagram Friday, writing: "The boys are back! So much fun celebrating #TrollsBandTogether. In theaters today!"
Despite Timberlake's celebrity, his life is much more low-key these days. After 11 years of marriage, he and Biel have found a sanctuary in an ultra-private and lavish gated community with their two children in Big Sky, Montana. According to local residents, over the past eight years the low-key couple — who are parents to sons Silas, 8, and Phineas, 3 — have taken on a cozy and quiet approach to life away from the spotlight.
Most recently the family jetted to Cabo San Lucas, according to photos obtained by the Daily Mail, marking the first time Timberlake had been seen publicly since Spears dropped her book.
"This trip was planned before Britney’s book came out. The trip was not to escape any attention," a source told PEOPLE at the time of their getaway. "Jessica and Justin are doing fine. They try to just focus on their family and kids.”
Amid fan backlash, Timberlake shut down his comments section on Instagram.
"He's happy at home with Jess and their kids and he's focusing on new music. He's in such a great place," an insider told PEOPLE following Spears' revelations.
Indeed, residents tell PEOPLE that Timberlake can be seen stopping into area ski shops or buying groceries at the farmer’s market in the summertime; Biel, 41, is often spotted popping into small boutiques or shops for healthy food.
Sources say the couple also head to a secluded spa two hours away for romantic getaways, hike and make appearances at community events. (Locals were delighted when Timberlake played a duet with James Taylor on New Year’s Eve in 2018 in the kitchen of a local restaurant — a month before launching his fifth studio album Man of the Woods.)
According to locals, Big Sky has been brimming with new construction over the past six years and has evolved into a downtown commercial district with expensive shops and restaurants, a movie theater, ice-skating rink and the much-anticipated Base, a public recreation center and rock-climbing facility for children and adults that was built two years ago. (The couple has donated at least $100,000 to the nonprofit, according to its website.)
“They are like our claim to fame here — everyone talks about it, but no one bothers them," says a local bartender. "In Big Sky, they get to feel normal without the fans swarming them. They kind of validate why we are all here: It’s a chill, beautiful place that’s flown under the radar until more recently. Now we see all these celebrities here all the time.”
Indeed, A-listers — including Paris Hilton, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda, Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Pratt, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Tom Brady, Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec and Jennifer Garner — have flocked to the remote area in recent years.
“But I’m sure Justin and Jess also like it because people aren’t hanging out with them because of who they are, they actually like them and they do fit in. No one here really cares they are here, it’s just fun to talk about," says the bartender. "I’ve heard they are happy, laid-back and cute together.”
The office manager at a local market in and her son, the produce manager at the same store, say the pair have indeed kept a low profile.
“They are very, very nice,” says the office manager. “People just let them do their own thing and it's not like, ‘Oh, let me have your autograph’ every 10 seconds. Nobody bothers them. They are very friendly."
A few years ago the produce manager worked at a private club, and “they always were working out at the gym that I worked at,” he says. “[Justin] was super nice. He's one of the few members that actually went out of his way to talk and didn't really view you as a worker.”
Years ago a local barista served the famous couple and their parents at a bakery she used to work at in town. Before they sat down to eat, they were patient and waited in line, placed their order and sat at a table where they weren’t trying to hide from the rest of the town.
“They were doing their thing just like anybody else would be,” the barista remembers. “They weren’t trying to draw attention to themselves, but they weren’t trying to hide either. But they were really nice, friendly and patient on a really busy night. But I don’t think they are trying to become public figures around here or anything like that, you know what I mean?”
“I don’t think people here care,” says a local real estate agent. “Most people respect their space and some of them don’t even know who they are. I think this community here has always genuinely cared about the other person.”
After an on-again, off-again relationship spanning four years since January 2007, Timberlake and Biel got engaged in December 2011 after the singer popped the question while on vacation in Jackson, Wyoming. The couple wed in the south of Italy in October 2012. "It's great to be married, the ceremony was beautiful, and it was so special to be surrounded by our family and friends," the couple — who welcomed their first child, Silas, in 2015 — told PEOPLE in an exclusive statement at the time.
In January 2021 Timberlake confirmed he and Biel had welcomed their second son, Phineas, during a virtual appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. While appearing on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast, Biel elaborated, saying, "I had, like, a secret COVID baby. It wasn't like it was supposed to be a secret. It was just COVID happened, and then I went to Montana with my family and never left."
Biel and Timberlake listed their 13,530 sq. ft. Hollywood Hills home for $35 million in October 2021. “They're rarely in L.A. and are happy to live in Montana," a source told PEOPLE at the time.
That same year, they sold their penthouse in SoHo for $29 million. After the actress gave birth, they adjusted to parenthood away from the spotlight. In August this year, they put their 27-acre Nashville-area land on the market for $10 million.
“Jessica never liked living in Nashville. They were trying to sell their Hollywood Hills house but took it off the market because she misses L.A.,” says a source close to the actress. “They just don’t think L.A. is great for the kids.”
Last year they celebrated a decade of marriage with a vow renewal ceremony. "From our wedding vow renewal this summer — in Italy where it all went down (and in @giambattistavalliparis again!)," Biel wrote on Instagram, referencing her Giambattista Valli Haute Couture two-piece ensemble. Her gown served as a sweet nod to her 2012 wedding to Timberlake, as Valli also served as the designer for her wedding dress.
Sources say they also often travel to Los Angeles, New York and Nashville, where they’ve also been spotted, for quick visits or work commitments.
Amid the recent backlash, sources say Timberlake is focused on giving his kids a normal upbringing in Montana and will continue to put his family first.
“Despite any mistakes he’s made, he’s a great dad — very hands-on, and a good partner in that sense,” a second source previously told PEOPLE. “They have very similar values in terms of how they wanted to raise a family and protect their kids. They both got famous very young and had to deal with things in the industry, and that’s the last thing they wanted for them.”
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