Lance Bass is now an out and proud gay man but back during his *NSYNC days, that definitely wasn’t the case.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the album No Strings Attached, Lance spoke with Vulture about some of his memories from that time. He recalled that he was “super in the closet” and couldn’t even admit to himself that he was gay.

So when his fellow boyband member Chris Kirkpatrick confronted him, he was pretty shell-shocked. While discussing the music video shoot for “It’s Gonna Be Me,” he explained,

“It was a big day for me because it was the first day someone asked me if I was gay. Chris Kirkpatrick sat me down and said, ‘Hey dude, are you gay?’ No one had ever asked me that.”

He continued,

“I was super in the closet and way too young to even know or care what was happening. But I remember getting so freaked out on that set because he caught me so off guard. I’m sure at that point people were wondering — so why don’t you have a girlfriend? It was very blunt. It scared me. I said, ‘No, what are you talking about?’ I wasn’t even telling myself. I definitely wasn’t gonna tell Chris.”

lance bass nsync gay

The music video was shot in 2000 and it wasn’t until six years later that Lance would publicly come out in a cover story for People magazine. He said at the time,

“I’m not ashamed — that’s the one thing I want to say. I don’t think it’s wrong, I’m not devastated going through this. I’m more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life. I’m just happy.”

He also told People that he purposely didn’t want to come out while *NSYNC was together because he was afraid of what it would do to the group.

“I knew that I was in this popular band and I had four other guys’ careers in my hand, and I knew that if I ever acted on it or even said (that I was gay), it would overpower everything.”

He added,

“I didn’t know: Could that be the end of *NSYNC? So I had that weight on me of like, wow if I ever let anyone know, it’s bad. So I just never did.”

Today, Lance is a fierce LGBTQ advocate and happily married to actor Michael Turchin. The couple recently lost a baby eight weeks into a pregnancy. It was their ninth try at conceiving a baby through IVF. The couple will try again for the tenth time.

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