Justin Timberlake defends 'smart,' 'talented' Miley Cyrus

At 32, Justin Timberlake is a showbiz veteran. Starting out as a child star, he made a graceful transition into being an adult celebrity, and as he told TODAY's Matt Lauer Thursday, he's been in the spotlight for "two-thirds of my life."

Yet Timberlake continues to hit new peaks: This year alone has him appearing in two movies (the latest, "Runner Runner," premiered in Las Vegas Wednesday night; he released his album "The 20/20 Experience" in March; and he's starting his next tour up in October. He's also not above being silly, whether appearing on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" or palling around with Lauer in Vegas (the two re-enacted a scene from "The Hangover" and ... uh, headed down the aisle together with Elvis presiding). 

But despite his apparent ease in bridging from child star (he appeared with Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling and Christina Aguilera in the 1990s on "The New Mickey Mouse Club") to adult success, Timberlake is not casting any aspersions on those who've had a rockier journey, like former "Hannah Montana" star Miley Cyrus.

Does he think the public and press are treating Cyrus fairly? "I don't know that I have a definitive thought in one direction or the other about it," he said. "I think she's really smart, and I think she's really talented. I'm not saying I agree with the presentation, but I also feel like every 10 to 15 years we pick somebody that this is what we're going to do with them, is we're going to make them the model of who we want our daughters to be or not be."

More to come from Lauer and Timberlake on TODAY early next week. "Runner Runner" opens in theaters on Oct. 4.