Jessica Biel worries her sons will want to be musicians like dad Justin Timberlake: ‘The bar is high’

Jessica Biel and husband Justin Timberlake were showbiz kids, but that doesn't mean they're keen on their own sons — Silas, 6, and 11-month-old Phineas — following in their footsteps.

"My knee-jerk reaction is: Oh, god, no. Please no," Biel, 39, said on Monday's Armchair Expert podcast. "But then I look at these kids and I'm like: Oh, sh*t. They're probably going to be musical. What are you going to do — not let them play the piano? Or not let them take a voice lessons if that's their passion?"

(Photo: Jessica Biel via Instagram)
Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake with Silas. They welcomed second son, Phineas, last summer. (Photo: Jessica Biel via Instagram)

The actress and producer talked about her parents letting her pursue her showbiz dreams — and a little show called 7th Heaven made her a star. Of course, Timberlake had already been on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club by then and was in a little band called NSYNC at 14.

"They would't have stifled my dream," she said of her parents. "They weren't those type of people. I don't want to be that parent to stifle a dream. But ... I would so much rather them be [engineers] or something."

She admitted she'd especially "worry" if "my kids want to be musicians," as the sons of a global music superstar. "The bar is high. And they're boys. I worry about [them fearing]: 'I can never be as good as my dad.' Please god let them better," she laughed, but admitted, "That's what's daunting, for sure."

While much attention was paid to Biel as she navigated young stardom in the '90s and '00s — as far as who she was dating and how many articles of clothing she (or wasn't) was wearing on that issue of Gear magazine in 2000 — she thinks young stars today have it worse.

"No camera phone. No social media. There was none of it," Biel said of the era. "There were paparazzi but it wasn't the same... When you're a young person and you're stepping into this business now? You have to step in with the knowledge, yeah, your anonymity is gone. You are going to be raked over the coals all over social no matter what you say. Your whole life is going to be on social because that's the thing. It's different now."

And that's not even the worst part, she said. "I think it's all the emotional part of [being in showbiz] that's terrifying," Biel said. "The intense rejection. The self-worth. the access to everything. How do you not go off the deep-end in a lot of different ways — or become an asshole because you can just have whatever you want?"

Asked if she and Timberlake bonded over their child-star pasts, she said, "I think so. Not tangibly at first. [It was more:] Oh, there's a vibe. He's cute. He's nice. I'm into it. You don't really think: Wow, we have so many parallel experiences. It's more like now as we're parents, and we're older, and still going through our own sh**, and all our old traumas, and all the good stuff and everything, that does kind of come up a lot where we just kind of get it. It's like an unspoken: I know what that's like. You know what that's like."

Biel spoke about welcoming their "secret COVID baby," Phineas, during the pandemic. "It wasn't supposed to be a secret. It was just COVID happened and then [we] went to Montana with my family and never left."

By the time Phineas arrived, restrictions allowed for Timberlake to be in the hospital with her, she said. "There was a moment there that nobody was allowed. I was really getting nervous about that situation. If I had to be there alone ... I would have been really scared."

Biel admitted dealing with a newborn again after several years was an adjustment.

"Someone said to me two [kids] is like 1,000 — and that's exactly what it feels like. The balance of everything is very different and super hard," she said. "I forgot what happens to you as a person, as a human, with your partner, with your sleep schedule... I'm happy we're 11 months in cause it was serious. You forget on purpose."

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 03: (L-R) Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel pose for portrait at the Premiere of USA Network's
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel pictured in 2020 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

She also noted Silas has grown up so much. They're having conversations now that "are so cool — like he's a real person, saying the funniest stuff. He's so sensitive and tender." And "the little one is just cute as hell," said Biel, who felt lucky to have extra time, amid the pandemic, to bond with Phineas.

"I don't know even how to be away from this person," she said. "Literally, because of COVID, I haven't spent any time away from this little guy. If the world had been normal, I would have spent some more time away, and maybe even worked before this point." So "It was a huge blessing to not be pulled in many directions."

Biel said she knows it won't last. She also talked about potentially hitting the road with her family for Timberlake's next tour.

"Yeah, depending on what it looks like and where in the world it is," Biel said. "It's such a unique experience [and] we want these little boys to see daddy on stage. He's not going to do it like this forever — I'm speaking for him, [so] I may be way off — but I think there's something about [showing the kids]: I went after my dream. I'm working really hard. See this whole thing?"

Biel talked about how Timberlake incorporated a room they dubbed "PJ Masks Headquarters" into his last tour so Silas had a place to decompress. But was also able to look around each empty arena, see his dad do soundcheck, have dinner as a family and even catch part of the concerts.

"We just like to be together," she said of the Biel-Timberlake crew. "The family unit together is really supportive for the boys. And it's really nurturing for me [and] it's really nurturing for him."

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