Lance Bass Was Told to Keep Being Gay a Secret While in NSYNC

Friday November 12, 2021

Lance Bass
Lance Bass  (Source:Associated Press)

What's it like being in a boy band? For Lance Bass, it included being called gay every day, the out singer/actor/producer told Yahoo Entertainment.

"Being in a boy band, I got called gay every single day that I was in the band. And it wasn't because they actually thought I was gay," Bass says. "It's just because I was in a boy band. All of us got that. I definitely wasn't singled out. I think all of us got it equally."

"Bass — who was 16 when he teamed up with Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick — hadn't yet come out. But people were already labeling him as 'gay,' which they meant as a slur," writes Yahoo Entertainment.

And the 42-year old Bass says he knew he was gay when he was 5. A decade later he was part of one of the biggest bands in the world. What did his handlers tell him about coming out?

"Being in the entertainment industry, you get told certain things and they allude to certain things. No one ever flat-out said, 'Listen, if you're gay, you can't do this," Bass says. "But they would [say] things like, 'You know, if you have a girlfriend, you can't really talk about them' and 'Remember your audience, your fans out there. They don't want to really know about your personal life.' So that always to me was kind of a backhanded, like, 'Look, we know you're gay, keep it a secret, kid.' "

He came out on the cover of People Magazine in 2006, an event he says wouldn't happen in these more enlightened times. In 2014 he married Michael Turchin. Last October they welcomed twins.

"No one cares, you know? Everyone's just like, OK, that's just normal," Bass says. "My niece and nephews, they were really little when I came out. I remember the first thing that they said ... they didn't understand it, they were like, 'Why is this a big deal?' [They] could not comprehend why people cared about us being gay and why it would be so big you put you on the cover of People. It really encouraged me to know that this younger generation is so accepting and they just, they look at it as kids. They don't know it [as] any different. It's just the reality of life for them."

One big difference Bass says in the world today is that there are out celebrities to act as role models for gay youth searching for representation.

"You know, one thing that I didn't have growing up was examples of gay people, you know, especially in entertainment. Everyone was hidden," Bass says. "I didn't really have anyone to look up to, but now, this generation has so many people in the public eye to relate to and be like, 'Oh, that sounds like my story' or 'That's the type of family I have.' Now we have like Troye Sivan ... JoJo Siwa, especially Lil Nas X. It's been so great for his community. You have all these young celebrities that are really accepting who they are and, because of that, their fans would probably accept themselves earlier."