Justin Timberlake Nearly Had Duet With Michael Jackson a Decade Ago

Kevin Mazur/WireImage for MTV

Justin Timberlake performs during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in Brooklyn, NY

The King of Pop was dying to record the song "Gone" as a duet with Timberlake, but fate did not cooperate

With the Michael Jackson rarities album "Xscape" coming out next week, the music world has had plenty of reasons to reminisce on the King of Pop. Justin Timberlake joins MJ posthumously on the new single "Love Never Felt So Good," but a new snippet from an episode of "Oprah's Master Class" tells the fascinating story of a real-life collaboration that almost was.

In working on 'N Sync's third and final studio album, 2001's "Celebrity," Timberlake co-wrote a slow jam called "Gone." He wrote it in hopes of collaborating with Jackson, but initially thought MJ had passed on it. So Timberlake introduced it in an A&R meeting for "Celebrity" and it became an 'N Sync song.

"It was the first song I cut by myself and then brought to the guys and included them," Timberlake says.

"Gone" went on to be a hit single (it peaked at No. 11 in the Hot 100) and was nominated for a Grammy (Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals). However, what happened next left Timberlake wishing he'd waited a little longer to hear back from Jackson.

MJ called him later and said he wanted to make "Gone" into a duet between them. Timberlake had to break the bad news -- the song was already cut as an *NSYNC record.

"I'm on the phone literally punching myself in the face," he says.

Timberlake proposed billing the track as a feature song (as *NSYNC featuring Michael Jackson or vice-versa) but the King of Pop insisted on a true duet between them.

"I never told anybody that Michael story," says Timberlake, closing the story with a glimmer in his eye.

The video is a snippet from an upcoming episode of "Oprah's Master Class" centered around Timberlake, which airs Sunday, May 11 at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.