Lance Bass, one
of five members of the multimillion record-selling
pop group 'N Sync, has come out as gay. In a story
published Wednesday on People magazine's Web site,
the singer and aspiring astronaut said he and
Amazing Race winner Reichen Lehmkuhl
are in a "very stable" relationship.
Media and blog
coverage of Bass and Lehmkuhl's dating life had reached
the mainstream in recent days, including the New
York Post's Page Six. That "tipping point"
apparently prompted the singer's tell-all. "The main
reason I wanted to speak my mind was that [the rumors]
really were starting to affect my daily life," Bass
told People. "Now it feels like it's on my
In recent weeks
gay blogger Mario Lavandeira, who calls
himself Perez Hilton, had even lifted paparazzi photos
that he said showed Bass, 27, and Lehmkuhl,
32, wearing one another's clothing.
In the excerpts
from the People interview posted
online--the full story will appear in the magazine's
print edition on sale on Friday--Bass says he
hid his sexuality and declined even to act on it
because he feared disclosure would hamper 'N Sync's success
and thus harm the group's other four members. "I had
four other guys' careers in my hand," said Bass, "and
I knew that if I ever acted on [my sexuality] or
even said [it], it would overpower everything."
"He took years to
really think about how he was going to tell everyone,"
fellow 'N Sync member Joey Fatone, 29, told
People. "I back him up 100%."
'N Sync has not
recorded or appeared as a group since 2002. That year
Bass famously negotiated with the Russian space agency to
buy passage on a space flight to the international
space station--a deal that fell through when the
Russians pulled out. Bass now produces television and
film projects; he and Fatone are developing an Odd
Couple-like sitcom in which Bass's character
would be gay, Bass told People.
"The thing is,
I'm not ashamed," said Bass, who had already come
out to band mates, friends, and what People termed
"his shocked family." "That's the one thing I
want to say.... I'm more liberated and happy than
I've been my whole life. I'm just happy."