Even though you've had so much success in your
career, do you ever feel like you have to prove
yourself to people?
always felt like an underdog and I kind of like that. I like
having to work hard for something. With 'N Sync and
the space thing, I've always been in a situation
that's easy to make fun of. I think the things
I've done have been very misunderstood.
When you know how
hard you work at it and how hard your four best friends
work at it and how talented they are, to see people make fun
of it and say 'They're
manufactured,' or "Oh, they lip-sync,"
just making up stuff that's not even
true...it's hard to listen to that and try to
fight past that stigma.
You've said that you sometimes feel picked on by
the media. Can you give me some examples?
I did an article
for New York magazine -- it was a great
interview, it went awesome. In interviews I tend to talk a
lot and say a lot of things very candidly, and we had
an amazing interview about how much I love New York
and then the whole article is about I hate New
York. It flabbergasts me that people can do that. With that
one article, I have people in New York -- the place
that I love -- yelling, "Fuck you, we
don't want you here anyway! Go back to L.A.!"
What do you do when that happens? Do you defend yourself?
The more you
defend yourself, the more people point and say, "See!
He's defending himself, so he must have said
something!" I really have only learned in the
last month how to do interviews, because I've never
done anything solo. I've always done it in a
group, where you have four other guys answering
questions with you and you always have each other's
back. Now, I've learned to really watch what I
say and not get so comfortable with the person
interviewing me, because I've really been bitten in
the ass so many times by people I thought were so
cool...interviewers that were so friendly and
nice and I thought they were going to write a positive
story, and then it's not.
How did you react to the allegations on Perez
Hilton's site that you had shunned fans who
wanted pictures or autographs from you?
absurd to me, because I go out of my way to be super, super
nice to my fans. They're amazing to me, and
they're the ones who make you who you are. Even
when we started this group, I was always the person who
would go out of his way to take every single picture and do
every single autograph, and I guarantee there's
not one person in this world who can say I was ever
mean to them. And then, one person makes up a story, says
they ran into me and I said, "Fuck you, I'll
never take a picture with you," and they have
the power to change people's minds and get into
Did you see a difference in how people perceived you
I had longtime
fans that I'd seen many times at the stage door
- even good friends of mine - going,
"Why would you do that? Just be nicer,
please!" And I'm just, like, are you kidding
me? Again, you have to defend yourself, because
it's so absurd that people can say something
like that about you that you know is just a lie, and people
just run with it.
Have you ever spoken to Perez?
Oh, yeah. We have
a love-hate relationship, for sure. One day, he'll
just be completely nice to me, and then the next day,
he'll write something crazy and my friends will
be like, "Uh, he said this or that about you
today." I just chalk that up to entertainment.
Everyone loves a little gossip. Everyone likes to feel
a little better about themselves by reading something
like that. You just can't worry about it.
When you know you're going to face a lot of gossip
over the guys you date, does it affect who you ask out?
Yeah, yeah. I go
out on one date and they'll take a picture and say,
"This is the new boyfriend!" And it sucks,
because then I'm stuck with this guy publicly,
even if we're just friends or whatever. I
can't date anyone else because they'll
say, "Oh, I thought you were with this guy,"
then you have to explain the whole thing and it's
really hard. As an out gay man, I've only been
able to date for a few months now and I've only
been able to go on a handful of dates. I thought friends
would be setting me up on dates and stuff, but no!
Have you ever dated a guy who was afraid of all that
I have done that,
for sure. There have been a couple people I've dated
where one little thing is written about and they freak
out....I don't think any one of my exes
could handle that spotlight. It really did hurt our
relationships. When I go out in public, it's a
different world: there are a lot of people just trying
to get something from you and they're all your
"best friend." It takes the attention off the
person you're with, and a lot of people that
I've dated can't handle that.
A lot of stars can't seem to, either. What do you
make of the celebrities who complain that the
paparazzi follow them wherever they go?
complains about that...you can get away. If
you're in L.A., don't have lunch at the
Ivy. Go have lunch at a sushi place in the valley
- no one's going to be over there. I do
understand that people like Britney [Spears] get
followed everywhere, so there's no escaping it in
L.A., but if you feel like getting away, then go home to
Vanity Fair recently printed allegations that
your former manager, Lou Pearlman, was involved in
improper sexual conduct with some of his underage
charges. Were you surprised to hear that?
not surprised. Even at 16, I knew there was something a
little off about him. No one ever said he was a
pedophile, but I knew that he was most likely gay --
which didn't bother me because I was gay, so I
didn't care. But it was sort of an unspoken thing,
like, 'Well, Lou's probably gay, and he
obviously likes boy bands, so..." Still, I never
felt uncomfortable. I never felt like he was doing
this to get off in any way. I just think he liked boy
bands and he saw dollar signs.
What did you think when other members of 'N Sync
would get hit with gay rumors? For a while, there
was a rumor that Tara Reid was acting as a beard
for J.C. Chasez...
that! It's funny to me, really funny. I must have
heard that about every single one of my guy friends at
some point -- "I wonder if he's
gay?" It's just nature to try to figure
someone out, and that's one of the questions
that you ask. I thought that of all the guys in 'N
Sync at one time.
In your book, you describe the humiliation you felt
when you saw the People magazine cover with
the headline "I'm gay." What was it
that embarrassed you so much?
used to people punching [me] and doing things to tear me
down. I just didn't want this to be one of
those situations where I'd be made fun of the
whole time and it would really take a backwards step for the
T.R. Knight and Neil Patrick Harris both came out
publicly by issuing a short statement. You did a
magazine interview and photo shoot. What was your
idea behind that plan?
If I did a
statement, that was just free reign for other people to go
out there and make up stories, and I was already used
to people making up stories. Of course, people believe
what they read - that's just the way our
society is - so I wanted to do a real story where I
got as much into an article as I could.
Some people alleged that you came out in People
magazine just to drum up publicity for a WB sitcom
pilot you were developing with former bandmate Joey Fatone.
In the first
pilot, I was straight. I came out in the middle of creating
the show! It actually hurt the pilot and made us completely
have to start over. It was a sitcom, but it was based
on caricatures of our lives, so now that a major part
of my life was revealed that was not in the pilot, it
had to be completely redone. It definitely put us behind a
You're developing projects for television, acting
on Broadway...where do you plan to take your career
in the future?
I love this
business, I love entertainment, and I know you can't
always last forever in front of the camera.
You're going to be popular this day, not
popular this day. So to stay in this business and be
creative, I want to be behind the camera. I want to
produce things, I want to write for other people. That
way, I know I can always be around.