Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl ‘Wardrobe Malfunction’

Janet Jackson's breast was briefly exposed during a halftime performance at Super Bowl XXXVIII.

  • Published 2 February 2004

The half time shows at Super Bowls have grown more and more spectacular over the years, and Super Bowl XXXVIII topped them all. As Justin Timberlake sang “Rock Your Body” onstage with Janet Jackson and reached the last few lines of the song — “Let’s do something, let’s make a bet, ’cause I gotta have you naked by the end of this song” — he reached across her body and pulled off part of her bustier, exposing most of her right breast:

Super Bowl

Although MTV, who produced the halftime show, maintained that the incident was an accident — “The tearing of Jackson’s costume was unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional,” they said — some have suggested that Jackson’s wearing of a nipple shield (and advance pronouncements that the show would contain some “shocking moments”) demonstrated that the stunt may not have been quite so spontaneous:

Super Bowl

The halftime festivities were also interrupted by a streaker who, unlike Janet Jackson, did not have his less-than-fully-clothed image beamed into living rooms by CBS.

In a curious coincidence, photographs purportedly depicting the exposed breasts of the previous year’s Super Bowl halftime entertainer, Shania Twain, were circulating several weeks before the big game:

Super Bowl

These pictures were obviously fabricated from screen shots of the 2003 Super Bowl halftime show — given the crush of media attention resulting from one partially-exposed breast at the 2004 Super Bowl, two fully-exposed breasts at the previous year’s show would have been one of the year’s top(less) stories.

Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes