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In a new interview with TODAY Parents, singer Lance Bass has once again opened up about the unique challenges he faced as a closeted member of the boy band NSYNC and being outed by a reporter in 2006.
To protect himself in the beginning of his career, Bass says he created a persona as “the shy one” in the band to keep from talking too much about his personal life.
“During big interviews, I wouldn’t speak because I felt people would figure me out,” the 43-year-old recalls. “So I became the quiet one. That’s the personality that I created so that I wasn’t expected to talk much.”
Whenever he was asked out his love live, he gave a canned answer about being too busy touring with NSYNC to focus on a relationship.
“I went through a major depression for years, and to this day, I still struggle,” Bass reveals. “Do I have PTSD from hiding a secret for as long as I did? I don’t know. I don’t know exactly what damage was caused by staying in the closet.”
It wasn’t until after NSYNC concluded their final tour in 2002 that Bass says he finally felt free to live a “more authentic life.” In 2006, he was out at a gay bar in P-Town when someone recognized him.
“I was waiting on line for the bathroom and this guy recognized me and says, ‘You’re gay?’ And I go, ‘Yeah!’” Bass recalls. “It was the first time I’d told a stranger I was gay and it felt amazing. It was such a relief.”
Unfortunately, the stranger turned out to be a reporter, who said they were going to expose Bass with or without his cooperation. He had 48 hours to decide.
Lance Bass on cover of people magazine “I’m Gay” I still have an original copy from the exact day that it hit newsstand shelves. pic.twitter.com/LyFYN1GUFQ
— Ronnie (@Cameronhs2009) August 7, 2020
On July 12, 2006, Page Six ran blurb about Bass being spotted with “Amazing Race” star Reichen Lehmkuhl at Atlantic House, a gay bar in P-Town. It was also around that same time that celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton started referring to Bass as “Princess Frosty Locks” while speculating about his sexuality.
The singer eventually came out publicly in an exclusive interview with People. In 2007, he told Attitude, “Two years before I came out I was really bullied on the internet by bloggers. That’s when Perez Hilton just started and was just really malicious against me.”
“A huge part of me did die,” Bass recalls today. “That character I created died, and I was finally able to be my true self. Up until then I’d been lying and hiding.”
He has since become a beloved figure in the LGBTQ community. He married his husband Michael Turchin in 2014, and the couple welcomed twins Alexander and Violet last October.
“It’s just so beautiful,” Bass reflects. “When I was a kid it never crossed my mind that this could be a possibility. Sometimes I still can’t believe this is my life.”
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