Justin Timberlake has publicly distanced himself from ex-lover Britney Spears.

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The SexyBack singer – who dated his former Mickey Mouse Club co-star for four years until they split in 2002 – claims he doesn’t recognise his first love anymore.

Justin, 26, told US chat show host Oprah Winfrey: “I don’t know what’s going on with her, to be honest with you. I haven’t spoken to her in years.

“I mean, there’s no ill will – I have nothing but love for her. It’s funny because we dated each other at a time – wow, I haven’t talked about this in a long time. It’s interesting. We were teenagers, you know?

“I think that’s basically the best way to describe what happened to us. I think she’s a great person, and I don’t know her as well as I did.”

This year, Britney has seemingly imploded under the world’s glare. Her worrying antics have included shaving her hair in public, drinking, partying and alleged drug taking.

Despite her downfall, Justin insists underneath it all she is still a “great” person.

He said: “What I do know about her is she has a huge heart, and she is a great person.”

The Black Snake Moan star went on to reveal what he loves most about new girlfriend Jessica Biel – her smell.

Justin gushed: “I’m dating someone, but all I can tell you is she smells lovely.

“I get pretty romantic around her. I sing to her and when I’m on tour we talk on iChat with a webcam.

“Technology is a wonderful thing sometimes. I find that to be really cool, when you can actually see someone’s face.

“I do it with my friends, as well, just to have a conversation back and forth. It just makes you feel closer, that’s all.”