BLACK EYED PEAS singer Fergie was ashamed of her brief romance with pop hunk JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE - because he was just 16 years old and she was seven years his senior.

Fergie - real name STACY FERGUSON - almost turned the CRY ME A RIVER star down, because she was constantly being teased about their age gap by her friends.

But she agreed to be his girlfriend when she discovered they shared a mutual passion for hip-hop.

She says, "It's true. My friends made fun of me and gave me the nickname Stella, from the movie STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK, about a woman who dates this younger guy.

"I almost didn't go out with him because he was so young, but he was always trying to convince me he was so mature. And he was.

"But one of the reasons we got along was because we both loved hip-hop and used to talk about the Black Eyed Peas and how amazing they were."

15/07/2005 07:24