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Justin Timberlake opens up about parenting his sons in candid chat with Dax Shepard

The actors shared an honest conversation about parenting in the spotlight.
/ Source: TODAY

When it comes to his children, Justin Timberlake is notoriously private, but the actor just shared his honest reflections on the joys and challenges of parenting.

The "Palmer" star called into Dax Shepard's "Armchair Expert" podcast this week and had a candid conversation about raising kids in the spotlight and what it's like to be a "boy dad."

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The 39-year-old has a 5-year-old son named Silas and welcomed his second child, a son named Phineas, with wife Jessica Biel in 2020. Shepard, who has two daughters with his wife, Kristen Bell, kicked the chat off by talking about the dynamics of raising boys versus girls, and he explained why he "doesn't envy" Timberlake.

"Here's the moment I always fear when I think if we had boys: Someone's gonna pick on them at school, they're gonna come home upset, I'm gonna hate that, and I'm gonna tell them what I know, which is well, you either get punched for the rest of your life or just slug them once then it's over," the actor said.

Shepard said he wouldn't know what else to say and would face an internal battle if he had a son that was being bullied.

"You're like, 'Do I want my kid to be a victim so he can help this transition to where guys don't hit each other anymore? Do I want my kid to be the sacrificial lamb?' That seems so scary to me," the 46-year-old said.

Timberlake sympathized and agreed that "it's just a lot to unpack." The singer went on to describe how he intends to keep his children shielded from the spotlight while they're so young.

"I try to be conscious of making sure we can live a life where we're not weirdly private, but we're conscious of making sure they can be kids for as long as possible and not have the weight of somebody else treating them differently because of something that their parents do," he said.

It's a topic that's close to Shepard's heart, too, and he revealed he's always worried his profession will affect his daughters' friendships.

"I have great fear that kids are gonna hang out with them solely cuz of that or resent them because of that," he said. "To me, the two options both seem terrible: Either they're gonna have fake friends, or they're gonna have people hate them for no reason."

Shepard recalled one instance when his daughters took part in a community theater production of "Frozen," the movie his wife starred in, and said he had to have a talk with his girls before they shared that fun fact with their pint-sized co-stars.

"I had to tell my daughter: 'You cannot tell anyone in this thing that your mom is Princess Anna. I know you're proud, and you should be able to say that, but I'm just warning you that'll probably make other kids jealous and they wont know how to handle that feeling,'" he said.

Timberlake, who starred in the animated film "Trolls," could definitely relate.

"We have the same thing where the kids at school with my 5-year-old are like, 'Your dad is Branch from 'Trolls,'" he said. "I guess for guys like us the hope is that we just keep instilling in them that we've got really fun jobs but it's not who we are."