The path of melted hearts and screaming teens behind Justin Timberlake is long and winding.
With his latest double album, The 20/20 Experience, his work on the small and big screen, and his bombastic live shows, the road ahead for JT stretches to the horizon, along the way bringing new generations into the following of the reigning king of pop.
Fans in Kentucky become part of that experience Sunday, when Timberlake brings his Suit and Tie to the KFC Yum Center in Louisville for a sold-out show.
From his days with the boy band that took over the world, 'N Sync, to his decade-long solo music career, to his roles in film including Inside Llewyn Davis and his hilarious work on Saturday Night Live, Timberlake has added to his enormous fan base.
What makes Timberlake unique from other pop stars is that with each new project or album, Timberlake holds on to the vast majority of the core fans while bringing more on board. Those too young for Justified, his first solo album in 2002, perhaps loved Sexyback on 2006's FutureSex/ LoveSounds.
In the seven-year gap between FutureSex/LoveSounds and The 20/20 Experience, Timberlake kept his career fresh by starring in several films.
More music has brought more fans into the fold and has reminded people why they fell in love with Timberlake in the first place.
We take you down the road to the cult of JT.
TIMBERLAKE THROUGH TIME
January 31, 1981: Timberlake is born Justin Randall Timberlake near Memphis. Legend has it he was born will a full head of curly blond and styled hair under a stylish fedora. Everyone was immediately impressed.
1992: Timberlake made his first TV appearance on Star Search at age 11 under the name Justin Randall. With an oversize cowboy hat and a precocious performance, he was well on his way. Even though he lost that round on Star Search, I'd say he did well for himself.
1993: JT was welcomed into an exclusive club for future superstars in 1993. His stint on The Mickey Mouse Club also featured future girlfriend Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling and JC Chasez. Does that last name sound familiar? Read on.
1995: Boy-band manager Lou Pearlman gave his blessing to five teens and sent them off into the world as 'N Sync. With Chasez, Timberlake, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass, one of the most successful boy bands in history was formed. They started in the boy-band training grounds of Europe and didn't break into the U.S. market for a few more years.
Jan. 20, 1998: 'N Sync released its first U.S. single, I Want You Back. But it was the Americans who wanted the boys back. That year, the band released *NSYNC. But an appearance on the Disney Channel in July launched the band to stardom. Before the show, *NSYNC was No. 85 on the Billboard chart. Three weeks later, it was No. 9.
April 2002: The millennials fell out of love with boy bands in the early 2000s, and 'N Sync fell out of sync after three successful albums. But never fear, Timberlake fans. It was time for our boy to become a man.
November 2002: Fans of the 21-year-old Timberlake were crying a river of joy with the release of Justified, Timberlake's first solo album. It debuted at No. 2 on Billboard and has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. With the album, the boy-band Timberlake was dead and gone. With notable hip-hop producers The Neptunes and Timbaland, it was a bold new direction that would make Timberlake a star on his own.
2004: The year busted out with the now infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl while Timberlake and Janet Jackson were dancing during the halftime show. But it was OK: He said he was sorry while winning his first two Grammy Awards. He took a break from his own music career to focus on acting and collaborations.
Sept. 12, 2006: As if Timberlake's sexy went anywhere, he decided to bring it back on his second album, FutureSex/LoveSounds. He was successful at both. The album debuted at No. 1 with nearly 700,000 copies sold in the first week. It got him two more Grammys. But it was to precede a little break in his music career. Seven years, in fact.
Oct. 1, 2010: Timberlake flexes his dramatic acting muscles as Napster founder Sean Parker in The Social Network, about the rise of Facebook. During this solo-music break, he focused on his acting and other projects. His hosting gigs on Saturday Night Live cut a hole in a box to give fans a view of a personable and hilarious Timberlake.
Jan. 13, 2013: Timberlake announced his return to music while dressed to the nines. Suit & Tie was released as a single off of the first The 20/20 Experience album. It would be later announced as a double album, with the full experience released in September.
December 2013: Timberlake plays against type as an earnest 1960s folk musician in the Coen brothers' movie Inside Llewyn Davis. It opened in limited release Dec. 6 and goes wide Dec. 20.
IF YOU GO
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 15
Where: KFC Yum Center, 1 Arena Plaza, Louisville
Tickets: Sold out
Learn more: KFCyumcenter.com