Justin Timberlake is saying "Bye, Bye, Bye" to his squeaky-clean boy-band image as he begins promoting his new single "SexyBack."
The 25-year-old pop star said to Britain's Observer Music Monthly, "I'm just like everyone else. I get completely plastered. I've done my fair share of drugs, and I've been caught places with my pants down. It's just I make sure there are no cameras around."
While he dated childhood sweetheart Britney Spears when she was the world's most famously avowed virgin, he hints that his past wasn't as pristine as his former image suggested. He even joked that he could never run for office.
"I've done way too many drugs already," he said to the magazine. "I've already inhaled, and I've already. … Who knows. I don't know if I want that responsibility."
Timberlake has been playing shows in Europe to promote the September release of his new album, "FutureSex/LoveSounds," his first since the chart-topping success four years ago of his solo debut "Justified," which sold more than 7 million copies.
Inspired by Brown's 'Sex Machine'
At a Paris news conference two weeks ago, Timberlake described "SexyBack" as a turning point in his career.
"The best way I can describe that song is, say David Bowie and David Byrne decided to do a cover of James Brown's 'Sex Machine,'" he said to reporters.
"I think it's important on your sophomore album to broaden your sound, to try something new," Timberlake said. "Because if you do the same thing, then your third album has to be the same thing, and your fourth album has to be the same thing and you don't grow."
Cameron Diaz, the singer's 33-year-old girlfriend, has joined him on his European trip, and while Timberlake hasn't talked about his actress companion, he is eager to talk about his acting career.
In the months to come, he'll appear in "Alpha Dog," directed by Nick Cassavetes; "Black Snake Moan" with Christina Ricci; and Richard Kelly's "Southland Tales," which competed for the prestigious Palme d'Or award at the Cannes film festival.
Timberlake's willingness to play the bad boy shouldn't come as a complete surprise.
He was Janet Jackson's dance partner during the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show -- an incident that he has called an accident.
In the Observer interview, Timberlake speaks of how he has been careful of his public image.
He compares himself with Spears and Christina Aguilera, two of the performers he worked with as a child on Disney's "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club."
"I feel bad for her," Timberlake said of Spears and her ongoing confrontations with paparazzi. "We all make mistakes. We all came from the same school, with Christina, myself, Britney."
"Even when Christina came out with her last record, everyone was so shocked -- 'She's so sexual' -- it's like, she's a grown woman!"