Justin Timberlake doesn't need to keep proving he's cooler than the rest of us — it's already been almost a decade since hits like "Cry Me a River" began convincing a generation of boy-band haters to stop worrying and just love the guy — but that doesn't mean he's showing any signs of slowing his charm offensive. Late last month, the former 'N Sync star joined Jimmy Fallon for the third installment of their "History of Rap" series. A recent Esquire cover story saw him wandering around Comic-Con with writer Chris Jones in costume as Bert and Ernie (Timberlake was Ernie). And on Saturday night, the singer-actor came through on his promise to attend the the Basic School Instructor Battalion 236th Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Richmond, Virginia, with Corporal Kelsey DeSantis.
In a turn of events that should shock no one, Timberlake handled the whole affair with extreme class. The night was "one of the most moving evenings I've ever had," he said in a blog post, honoring DeSantis and her fellow Marines not only for their courage and service but also for being really fun people. "They reminded me of my friends (the ones I like, at least)," he wrote. "Cool, unaffected, and real." In clear, earnest-sounding language that's worth reading for yourself if you're interested, he went on to praise them as "heroes"; meeting them, he said, affected him more deeply than meeting Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson. When Timberlake's Friends With Benefits co-star Mila Kunis attends her Marine Corps Ball later this week, she'll have a tough act to follow. (A gallery of reader-submitted photos from the event can be found on WTVR.com.)