The former members of ‘NSync – Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick – reunited Monday during their ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Each member spoke thoughtfully about how the boy band changed their lives.
Bass, in particular, talked poignantly about how ‘NSync’s gay fans inspired him to come out years later. “Growing up in Mississippi, in a Southern Baptist church, in a town where everyone knows your business, I had a secret – I was gay,” the vocalist said.
“At the time, I thought I’d never be able to tell anyone … I thought if I were to come out, ‘NSync would be over … So many nights onstage, I’d see young gay fans singing their hearts out, and I wanted so badly to let you [know that] I was you. I just didn’t have the strength then.”
The other members acknowledged important, unsung figures in the band’s success like the late writer/producer/vocal arranger Robin Wiley, who Chasez spotlighted. “‘NSync is made up of an apostrophe and five letters,” he said. “Robin Wiley: I always looked at her as the apostrophe in the band.”
Fatone kept the mood light in his self-deprecating speech, joking, “You can also see me performing at Chuck E Cheese’s next week.” He also reflected on the group’s vocal blend, noting, “You can’t deny the vocals we had there.”
Ellen DeGeneres and Carson Daly introduced the band. Daly, who hosted Total Request Live during the band’s multi-platinum peak, joked, “When I was first approached about speaking at the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony to honor one of the biggest groups in TRL history, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, dear God, they’re giving Limp Bizkit a star.'”
After the speeches, fans gathered at the event spontaneously sang 1997’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” a Top 40 hit from the group’s self-titled debut LP. Fittingly, the ceremony took place on April 30th – a day recognized online as part of a viral meme that plays on Timberlake’s strangely pronunciation (“It’s Gonna Be May”) of the title of their 2000 single “It’s Gonna Be Me.”