What Megan Thee Stallion Really Said to Justin Timberlake Backstage at the VMAs

Viewers were convinced that the rapper and singer got into a heated argument.

Did the MTV Video Music Awards just reveal a feud between Megan Thee Stallion and Justin Timberlake? Or was the clip viewers saw of the exchange between the rapper and singer just missing some context? At the 2023 VMAs, which aired Sept. 13, a backstage clip showed Timberlake approaching Megan and saying something to her. In response, she points her finger at him while heatedly responding. This led many people watching from home to believe that Timberlake had said something to upset Megan—and of course, everyone wanted to know what really happened.

Now, Megan has set the record straight about why the exchange looked so tense. And sources who were at the awards show have also spoken out, sharing exactly what was said between the two stars. Read on to find out what really happened backstage.

RELATED: Justin Timberlake Just Issued Another Public Apology—Here's Why.

Megan Thee Stallion and Timberlake both appeared on the VMAs stage.

Megan Thee Stallion performing at the 2023 MTV VMAs
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for MTV

Megan and Timberlake both hit up the VMAs stage this year, but for different reasons. Megan performed her new song "Bongos" with Cardi B, while Timberlake presented the award for Best Pop Video alongside his NSYNC bandmates. (Taylor Swift won that award for the video for "Anti-Hero".)

Megan's video for "Her" was also nominated for three awards: Best Direction, Best Choreography, and Best Art Direction.

RELATED: Justin Timberlake Just Responded to Lance Bass Publicly Shading Him.

A video shows what seemed to be a heated exchange.

As reported by Variety, the VMAs backstage feed captured the exchange between Megan and Timberlake. As Megan's hair is being touched up backstage, Timberlake walks past and leans over to say something to her. Megan responds to Timberlake while shaking her finger at him. His NSYNC bandmate Joey Fatone then also says something.

After the exchange, Megan appears to be somewhat annoyed.

RELATED: 30 Artists Who Haven't Won Grammys.

Viewers thought something was up.

After seeing the footage, viewers speculated that Timberlake said something that bothered Megan.

"Did Justin Timberlake say something to [upset] Megan Thee Stallion? We still haven't forgiven you for what you did to Janet Jackson. Do we have a problem?" reads one post on X (formerly Twitter).

Another X user wrote, "Waitttt what did Justin say to Megan for her to be reacting that way?! Anyways whatever it was, I side with Meg."

Someone else posted, "well i can't stand justin timberlake so go megan go, put that man in his place.

Another user added, "Megan Thee Stallion seem not very happy with what Justin Timberlake said to her."

And a different X post reads, "an argument between megan thee stallion and justin timberlake is not what i expected tonight, what do you think this was about??"

Finally, one viewer concluded, "First Britney then Janet now Megan!!! JUSTIN IS THE PROBLEM."

Sources said it was all positive.

NSYNC on stage at the 2023 MTV VMAs
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for MTV

A "backstage source" told Variety that there was "zero fight" between the entertainers.

"He said, 'It's so nice to meet you,' and she said 'No, no this don't count, this don't count. We gotta meet proper,'" the source revealed. "It was very cute."

Another source explained, "Meg loves Justin. She was saying, 'No, no, no, we've never met before.' It was their first time meeting and she was excited."

Similarly, a source told Page Six, "Megan didn't want this to be the first meeting with Justin Timberlake so said, 'Not now.'"

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Megan cleared up the rumors.

Megan spoke out herself by posting on TikTok the day after the VMAs. She shared a video of herself and Timberlake sitting next to each other and laughing. The "Savage" rapper wrote in the caption, "I just talk with my hands lol see ya next time @Justin Timberlake."

While much of the primary reaction assumed that Timberlake had done something wrong, Megan's fans defended her against the narrative that had been unfolding, and how it played into a common stereotype aimed at Black women.

Megan reposted the TikTok video on Instagram, where comments from fans include "Imagine… jumping to conclusions and instantly assuming a black woman was angry," "Black women are not always angry!!!!" and "Exactly! People act like us black women are always angry. We're just enthusiastic and magical. That's all."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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