By now we all know the formula for a chart-topping boy band: Take a handful of attractive teens, give them Clearasil, teach them to sing more or less on pitch, show the more agile ones a few rudimentary dance moves, and -- oh yeah!
MAKE CERTAIN ONE OF THE BOYS IS GAY.
Yes, it's true. For as long there have been boy bands, there have been gay or bisexual boy band members. Many of the biggest boy bands of all time, from New Kids on the Block and 'N Sync to Boyzone and Blue had at least one member who, despite audiences full of shrieking teenage girls, secretly pined for other boys.
Let's take a look at eight boy banders and the boys they love(d).
1. 'N Sync's Lance Bass
Just last week former 'N Sync member Lance Bass, who came out in 2006, told People that he "definitely" wants to start a family with new hubby Michael Turchin. The couple wed in December and then had their nuptials broadcast on E!s 90-minute special Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding, making them the first same-sex couple to get married on an American TV network."That's one of the reasons we wanted to commit to each other," Bass, 35, told the magazine. "I'd say in the next two or three years we're going to start that family." Turchin, 28, an artist, documented the couple's recent quickie Punta Mita honeymoon on Instagram.
2. Menudo's Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin this week spoke out against fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana for their ignorant remarks concerning children born via in vitro fertilization. Martin, a 1980s member of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, has twin boys of his own, which he welcomed with former partner Carlos Gonzalez Abella, a stockbroker. The couple ended their six-year relationship in late 2013.
The singer, 43, recently released A Quien Quiera Escuchar (To Those Who Want to Listen), his 10th studio album, which he says is partly inspired by his former love. "After six years of being in a very steady relationship with him, yes, we have a lot of stories and we have a lot of moments of love and lots of light, and yes, he is part of this album," Martin told a reporter. In the same interview Martin said he prefers being in love, but adds that right now he is dedicated to being a single dad.
3. New Kids on the Block's Jonathan Knight
NKOTB was the biggest boy band of the 1980s, selling more than 80 million records, until Knight dropped out in 1994 due to anxiety and panic attacks, dissolving the camera-friendly quintet.
Knight, now 46, worked as a real estate developer during his years off from the act, which regrouped in 2008 and still tours today. This year he and partner Harley Rodriguez, 41, a fitness coach, have been seen traveling the world together on The Amazing Race. Knight told one interviewer that the couple, together for seven years, knew both their strengths and weaknesses going into the reality show challenge, admitting it helped them to work on their indecisiveness. "Because you're making decisions immediately," Knight told Entertainment Tonight. "There's no time to say, 'Hey, are we going to do it or not? Who's going to do it?' You just do it. ... So it helped." However, Knight added, once the show stopped taping, the couple immediately retreated to their old ways. "We went to dinner last night and it took us a good hour to decide."
4. Boyzone's Stephen Gately
Boyzone was an immensely popular Irish boy band, with 16 consecutive Top 5 singles in Great Britain. In 1999, at the height of Boyzone's fame, Stephen Gately, one of the act's two lead singers, learned that an acquaintance intended to sell details of his sexuality to the press. He opted to come out. In 2003 the singer wed Andrew Cowles, a businessman, in a civil ceremony. (Elton John had introduced the two seven years before.) Sadly, in 2009 Gately died at home of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. He was just 33.
5. Westlife's Mark Feehily
One of the Irish boy band Westlife's three lead singers, Mark Feehily came out in August 2005 during an interview with the British tabloid The Sun, revealing that he had been living with British fashion photographer Kevin McVaid since January of that year. (Interestingly, McVaid also got his start in a boy band, the short-lived British act V.) The couple became engaged in 2010 but split the following year. After Westlife officially broke up in 2012, Feehily worked as a caterer, but this year returned to music. At 34, he now records solo music under the name Markus, and his first single, "Love Is a Drug," was released this month and is earning him comparisons to Sam Smith.
6 and 7. Blue's Duncan James -- and Lee Ryan
Recently reunited English boy band Blue distinguishes itself not only by selling millions of records in the early 2000s but also by having two members who would eventually acknowledge same-sex attraction. Singer Duncan James, who has a daughter with an ex-girlfriend, first came out as bisexual in 2009 but later clarified that he is gay, acknowledging in a British TV documentary that he had a three-year relationship with one of Blue's hunky male backup dancers. "I actually really liked him and I couldn't tell anybody," said James, now 36. He also admitted he was so scared people would find out he was gay that he dated women, even having sex with some of them, which was, ultimately, what broke up his relationship with his dancer boyfriend: "I broke his heart to the point where he couldn't be with me in that way anymore and ended it."
In 2014 James's former band mate, bad boy Lee Ryan, caused a stir by admitting to his cast mates on Celebrity Big Brother that he'd had sex with men too. "I'm a well-traveled person," Ryan said on camera. "I've never admitted it anywhere. No one's bothered to ask." Ryan, 31, who has children with two ex-girlfriends, even confessed that he and James had enjoyed threesomes (with women) together. Ever the playboy, Ryan went on to have short-lived affairs with two women on the show. (For the record, Ryan's bisexual confessions made his mum proud as punch.)
8. The Bay City Rollers' Les McKeown
The Bay City Rollers were the biggest teenybopper band on the planet back in the mid-1970s, selling more than 70-million records. Adoring teenagers willingly decked themselves out in plaid clothes to pay tribute to Scotland, the Rollers' homeland. But one of the Bay City boys was keeping a secret, one he held close to the chest for more than three decades and revealed on a British TV documentary. Lead singer Les McKeown told filmmakers he had lived a secret gay life for more than 30 years, even keeping his escapades from his wife of 25 years, Peko McKeown. McKeown admitted to meeting at least a dozen men for sex over the years, never revealing he was once a famous musician. "We weren't going on dates," McKeown explained. "We were just getting together for sex."
Musically, McKeown, 55, has been touring with a revamped version of the Bay City Rollers. He and Peko are still married and, he says, he no longer has sex with men.