NSync band member Lance Bass has officially come out of the closet, saying that he is gay and in a 'very stable' relationship with reality-show star Reichen Lehmkuhl, CNN reported.
Bass, who formed the musical group with Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick, told People magazine that he did not reveal his sexual orientation sooner because he did not want to risk affecting the band's popularity. '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 said.
Bass added that he is coming out now because rumors of his sexuality were growing louder, according to NBC10.com . ( He revealed that his mother discovered his sexual orientation through Internet rumors, which propelled him to formally address the situation. ) However, he emphasized that he is happy and is not ashamed of his sexuality.
NSync is known for a string of hits, including Bye Bye Bye, Pop and Sailing. The band went on hiatus in 2002.
The singer says that he is in a relationship with 32-year-old actor Reichen Lehmkuhl, winner of season four of the CBS Show Amazing Race. Rumors had been swirling about Bass, 27, and his relationship with Lehmkuhl, according to ABC News. The New York Post's Page Six reported that the couple had been spotted over the Fourth of July weekend at Atlantic House, a gay bar in Provincetown, Mass.
Lehmkuhl's former partner Chip Arndt, who was the other half of the reality show-winning team, congratulated Bass for coming out. 'As we continue to be demonized and exploited by the highest levels of government and anti-gay-for-pay religious extremists, Lance's example for his countless fans and those who don't know him personally is another major step forward on the road to full equality for LGBT people,' he said in a statement.
Justin Timberlake, another member of NSync ( who is releasing a second solo album soon ) also conveyed his support. 'Lance is one of my great friends,' Timberlake declared in a statement issued by his rep, Ken Sunshine. 'I support him and wish him all the happiness in the world.'
Bass also told People that he wants everyone to know that stereotypes should go by the wayside. 'I want people to take from this that being gay is a norm,' he said. 'I love to watch football and drink beer.'