The singer, who came out back in 2006 opened up about his identity struggle before that point. Lance Bass also revealed how his NSYNC group mates’ love lives caused him to enter a deep depression that he still deals with today.
In an exclusive interview for ET, the 39-year-old shared: ‘When I started with *NSYNC, I was 16 so I did not fret over being gay because I was still young, so I could hide it easily. It was when I was 19, 20 and everyone started having serious relationships I really started feeling depressed for the first time.’
‘All the guys had girlfriends and we would get a couple of days off and [they’d be with] girlfriends and I was the only one who did not have anyone. That is when it started getting really scary because I was like, ‘I cannot keep this ruse up much longer.’’
He went on: ‘Then rumors started because I had not had a girlfriend, so I’d date people just for the optics of it – so people would think of me in a certain way. Which was really horrible for that person as well as for myself – having a relationship built on a huge lie’s a terrible thing. I thought, ‘My life sucks.’ It was like on one side, [my career] was going great, and I should have been happy, but the thing that really matters – love – I could not have.’
Although Bass says he knew he was gay since he was just 5, growing in a conservative Mississippi, he had no one he could ask for guidance.
For the sake of his bandmates and the boy group’s success, which might have been ruined by his coming out, he kept quiet about his sexual identity which, at the time, he was mostly fine with.
Later on, however, he realized how much that period of time really affected him.
‘At the time I was just a dumb teenager who did not know what was going on. Looking back, I realize how lonely and sad I actually was. I put my whole life into my work because as long I was busy, it took my mind off.’
As for how the other NSYNC members reacted when they first learned about him being gay, Bass said: ‘Joey knew way before anyone because [my] first boyfriend was sitting on my lap in my office one day when Joey walked in. Normally, guys do not just sit on other guys’ laps! I was like ‘Surprise!’ and he was like, ‘Oh please, I don’t care.’’
‘And, the rest of the guys [took the news] fine. They were the easiest to tell. They are my best friends … my brothers. They totally knew. So, it was not a surprise to them at all.’