Lance Bass Was Afraid To Come Out To 'NSYNC Bandmates, But He Had Nothing To Worry About

Thursday night on E! marks a historic event: Former 'NSYNC member Lance Bass' wedding to Michael Turchin will be televised in Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding at 8 p.m. ET. The ceremony, which was held on December 10, 2014, will be the first gay wedding to be filmed and aired on television. Though Bass could be no more confident in his identity and advocacy now, he's spoken at length about his difficult past. He's revealed that he felt monumental pressure to keep his sexual identity a secret from his 'NSYNC bandmates for fear that his coming out would destroy the group.

In a sneak peak of his wedding special, Bass admits he stayed silent about his sexuality because of his boy band career: "I was afraid to tell anyone mainly because of 'NSYNC. You know, if I told one person I knew someone would tell someone else and it would go around and the group would be over." Obviously since Bass came out in 2006, his former bandmates Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, J.C. Chasez, and Chris Kirkpatrick have been supportive of Bass; four of them went to his wedding in December. Timberlake was on tour and couldn't attend.

But it's easy to understand the trepidation Bass must have had when he was younger to come out to his bandmates. Bass was only 16 when 'NSYNC first got together, and even though he says he knew he was gay since he was a child, he thought his status as a gay boy band member would bring down the success of the group. "The guys would hate me, and they would leave the group and be like 'We're not going to be in a group with a gay guy,'" Bass says in Lance Loves Michael.

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He knows now that that's untrue and that coming out didn't change anything between the bandmates, but it's so sad that the stigma about coming out made him think that his closest friends would reject him. He first came out to Joey Fatone, but by accident; Fatone apparently walked in on Bass and his then-boyfriend sitting on his lap. But Fatone wasn't phased at all: "He was like, 'Dude, I don't care.' I'm like, 'Surprise!'" Bass recalled. "Joey was just like, 'Dude, I don't care. I have so many gay friends — I don't care.'"

Even when Bass came out to People in 2006, the level of tolerance for and awareness of LGBT issues was drastically different than it is in 2015. It's great that since then, progress has been made in the U.S. to grant members of the gay community the human rights that are long overdue to them, but there is still a long way to go. His openness about his story has been an inspiration, and it's likely to continue to be one after The Lance Bass Wedding airs.

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