Singer and entrepreneur Lance Bass has opened up about an incident during his days with *NSYNC that sent him into a panic: someone asked him if he was gay.
In a new interview with Vulture, Bass reminisces about his days as a boy-bander in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the *NSYNC album No Strings Attached. Release of the album helped cement the group as pop giants, though for Bass, who was still in the closet at the time, memories of those days bring bittersweet reminders.
While shooting the video for the song “It’s Gonna Be Me,” bandmate Chris Kirkpatrick dropped a bomb by asking Bass about his sexuality.
“It was a big day for me because it was the first day someone asked me if I was gay,” Bass recalled. “Chris Kirkpatrick sat me down and said, ‘Hey dude, are you gay?’ No one had ever asked me that.”
“I was super in the closet and way too young to even know or care what was happening,” Bass continued. “But I remember getting so freaked out on that set because he caught me so off guard. I’m sure at that point people were wondering — so why don’t you have a girlfriend? It was very blunt. It scared me. I said, ‘No, what are you talking about?’ I wasn’t even telling myself. I definitely wasn’t gonna tell Chris.”
Six years later, Bass would come out in a cover story for People magazine. At the time, he also explained that he purposely waited to come out until after *NSYNC dissolved.
“I knew that I was in this popular band and I had four other guys’ careers in my hand, and I knew that if I ever acted on it or even said (that I was gay), it would overpower everything,” he said. “I didn’t know: Could that be the end of *NSYNC? So I had that weight on me of like, wow if I ever let anyone know, it’s bad. So I just never did.”
Now 42, Bass has given up his boy band bops for a career as an entrepreneur. He and his husband Michael Turchin own a popular West Hollywood bar & restaurant together. The couple is also expecting twins through surrogacy, due in October 2021.