Sad Details About NSYNC

*NSYNC is arguably one of the most iconic acts birthed in the '90s. According to NPR, the boyband dominated the charts at the turn of the millennium, and their loyal fanbase only grew with the success of "No Strings Attached," their sophomore album. Though they were eventually able to carve their own lane, at first, the group faced the pressure of competing with rival boyband Backstreet Boys, who were also managed by *NSYNC's manager, Lou Pearlman. Despite these challenges, however, *NSYNC did incredibly well for themselves. One of the boyband's most impressive accomplishments, the aforementioned "No Strings Attached," made history when 2.4 million copies were sold in its first week of being released, according to Billboard.

Sadly, *NSYNC proved that all good things come to an end when they went their separate ways in 2002. Even with all of the many hardships the boyband faced, the group's former members have shared they were grateful for their teen heartthrob years. *NSYNC alum Justin Timberlake spoke fondly of his time in the group during the boyband's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in 2018 (per Entertainment Tonight). "These four guys mean so much to me, and we're really a family," Timberlake said of his former bandmates.

The band members likely bonded over the difficult experiences they survived during their time in the group. Keep reading to find out how these sad details about *NSYNC impacted them.

*NSYNC was scammed by their manager

*NSYNC's manager, the late Lou Pearlman, was behind one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in the U.S., and his boyband clients were among his many victims. Pearlman was an incredibly successful businessman who managed some of the biggest stars of the '90s and early 2000s. *NSYNC aside, he also helped artists like the Backstreet Boys and Aaron Carter find fame, per ABC News. This gave him enough credibility to be able to successfully scam investors out of millions of dollars that they would never see again. He lured people in to invest in companies that operated under his corporation, TransContinental. The problem was that these companies didn't exist, ABC News reported.

Former *NSYNC member Lance Bass came forward to reveal how he and his fellow bandmates were affected by Pearlman's scam. "We were making $35 a day, which was our per diem," the musician said in the documentary "The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story." "And I remember thinking that was such a lot of money because this was all free. Everything — my life was free." Bass went on to reveal he and *NSYNC eventually realized Pearlman was pocketing most of their earnings. Both *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys later filed lawsuits against Pearlman for withholding a portion of their profits. These lawsuits were eventually settled.

Lance Bass felt pressure to hide his sexuality

Former *NSYNC member Lance Bass hid his sexuality during his time in the band. He didn't reveal he was gay until 2006, four years after the band split. Bass made the big announcement in an exclusive interview with People. "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 told the magazine. The singer went on to share how he felt about finally revealing his secret to the world. "The thing is, I'm not ashamed — that's the one thing I want to say," he said. "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."

Although Bass found happiness after coming out, he had far different feelings about his sexuality during his time in *NSYNC. "It was when I was 19, 20 and everyone started having serious relationships that I really started feeling depression for the first time," Bass revealed in an interview with ET in 2018. "All the guys had girlfriends and we'd get a couple of days off and [they would be with] girlfriends and I was the only one who didn't have anyone. That's when it started getting really scary because I was like, 'I can't keep this ruse up much longer.'"

The band parted ways in 2002

*NSYNC's breakup likely raised many questions, given the group parted ways in the midst of some of their biggest successes, per HuffPost. Much like fellow boyband One Direction, *NSYNC announced a hiatus in 2002 and never returned. So, why did the group break up? It turns out that the story has remained a bit unclear over the years. Former band member JC Chasez spoke to HuffPost about why he felt the group never returned from their hiatus. "At that time, we just felt like we had exhausted every kind of idea for what we were doing and we just felt like 'OK, let's do something different,'" he said. "So, that's what we did."

Other former *NSYNC members tell a different story about the group's breakup. Joey Fatone suggested that the split took place due to the success of the solo career of his former bandmate, Justin Timberlake. "We thought we were getting back together," Fatone told HuffPost. "It was, 'OK, after [Justin] does his thing, blah, blah, blah, we'll get back together and move forward and do what we got to do.' And then it was like, nope. The record company wanted to push Justin, I guess, is what it was." Fatone went on to share that he was happy for Timberlake but was left in the dark about the future of *NSYNC. During an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music Essentials, Timberlake suggested that he and his bandmates had discussed the split.

Lance Bass said *NSYNC members were 'inappropriately' touched

In 2015, Lance Bass came forward to reveal that he and his fellow *NSYNC bandmates were preyed upon by someone in the music industry. "This happens to men, too," Bass said during an appearance on "The Meredith Vieira Show." "It has happened to me. When I was 16, 17 years old ... there was someone that we worked with that was inappropriately touching us. I was even aware then, at 16, that this guy was a pedophile and he was touching me oddly." The musician went on to share how he and his young bandmates reacted to the harassment at the time. "We would kinda joke about it — but it's not a joking thing," Bass continued. "As a kid, it was odd."

The singer didn't reveal this person's identity, but in a separate interview for "Access Hollywood," he shared that *NSYNC's manager, Lou Pearlman, touched the band members inappropriately. Bass shared that Pearlman told the group he "minored in physical therapy" and knew how to make their muscles appear more prominent in photo shoots. He later provided further clarification on his claims. "No one from *NSYNC was molested that I know of," he revealed on his SiriusXM show, "Dirty Pop with Lance Bass." "So, there was nothing more than inappropriate touching."

The guys didn't know how to feel about Lou Pearlman's death

The infamous Lou Pearlman died at age 62 while serving a 25-year sentence in relation to his aforementioned Ponzi scheme, per Billboard. While Pearlman may not have had the best intentions, Justin Timberlake and Lance Bass still seemed to be saddened by his death. Timberlake took to Twitter to write: "I hope he found some peace. God bless and RIP, Lou Pearlman."

Bass shared how he felt about the late music industry mogul's death during the "20/20" special "The Hitman From Pop to Prison." "When I heard that Lou Pearlman had passed away, I was so confused on exactly how to feel," the star revealed in a clip shared exclusively with E! News. "I was like, 'How could you die right now when we don't have this closure? You need to apologize! Like, there are so many people who are waiting for you to realize what you did.' And it pissed me off that he passed away." Bass went on to share he was relieved that no one else had to go through what Pearlman put his artists through when he was living, but he ultimately felt guilty for feeling that way. He later shared he is now focusing on healing following Pearlman's death.

*NSYNC feared they wouldn't achieve Backstreet Boys-level success

It turns out that the *NSYNC members didn't anticipate they would achieve as much success as they did. That fear makes sense when you consider the fact that Lou Pearlman hid the group in the shadows while he focused on the wildly successful Backstreet Boys, as revealed by Lance Bass in the documentary "The Boy Band Con." "With the success of the Backstreet Boys, as *NSYNC, we always felt like the redheaded stepchild," he said in the film. "We couldn't even go into the record label because the employees there didn't know we existed." Bass went on to share that Pearlman hid *NSYNC from the Backstreet Boys so they didn't get upset about having new competition.

Former Backstreet Boys member Kevin Richardson gave some insight on how he and his bandmates reacted to finding out that their management had created a rival pop group. "It was almost like a betrayal," Richardson said in the 2015 documentary "Backstreet Boys: Show Em What You're Made Of." Although there was once tension between the two groups, it seems that this rivalry is a thing of the past. AJ McLean and Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys and Joey Fatone and Lance Bass of *NSYNC teamed up to perform as "Back-Sync" at The Grove in Los Angeles in 2021, per Variety, and that's just one example of the former band members supporting each other in recent years.

Lance Bass didn't know he had a painful health condition

After enduring a frightening health experience, Lance Bass revealed he was finally diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. "I had symptoms before, but you know, I kind of just dealt with it, not knowing exactly what it was," he told People in May 2022. "I was a dancer my whole life, so I just figured it was because of dancing." According to the Mayo Clinic, those with psoriatic arthritis can experience "joint pain, stiffness, and swelling" in any part of the body. "It definitely started in my shoulders and then in my knees," Bass told People of his symptoms. "And again, to me, that was just such a sign of dancer pain, so I just thought it was completely normal, totally ignoring the signs."

Bass also told the outlet that he raised awareness for his condition with his Double Take campaign, in which he and choreographer SJ Bleau teamed up to create a TikTok dance to help people identify symptoms of psoriatic arthritis in different parts of the body. They hoped the dance could help people receive a proper diagnosis. Bass shared how he has benefitted from finally getting diagnosed during an interview with E! News. "Once I found out that it was PsA, it changed my life in the best way possible because then I knew how to go about my workout routines and I shouldn't be afraid to work out my shoulders, knees and all that," he explained.

Justin Timberlake endured vocal cord injuries

It seems that Justin Timberlake's time in *NSYNC may have taken a toll on his vocal cords because the singer has had a number of vocal health issues over the years. In 2005, People reported that Timberlake underwent surgery to remove throat nodules. The musician continued to deal with vocal problems in 2018 and even had to postpone his "The Man of the Woods" tour. He took to Instagram in December 2018 to make the announcement. "Hey Guys, I'm sure you have heard that I've had to postpone several tour dates due to bruised vocal cords," Timberlake penned in the post. "My vocal cords are healing, but they are not all the way back to normal yet, so my doctors want me to continue to rest my voice. They have asked me to hold off on singing until next month."

This wasn't the only time Timberlake had to take a break from his career in order to prioritize vocal rest. In October 2018, he took to Instagram to announce he had to postpone a performance at Madison Square Garden because his vocal cords were bruised. Dr. Steven Zeitels, who has performed vocal surgeries on a number of stars, spoke to Billboard about the severity of Timberlake's injury. "This is not a situation that will solve itself," he told the outlet. "When blood goes to the vocal membranes, they don't vibrate properly."

*NSYNC mourned Aaron Carter's death

As previously mentioned, *NSYNC and teen pop star Aaron Carter shared the same management team, so it is perhaps no surprise that the boyband was heartbroken following the news of the singer's death. Lance Bass took to Instagram to share a lengthy heartfelt tribute after Carter's passing. "He quickly became the little brother to all of us and was known for being quirky, funny and always trying to make people laugh," he wrote in part. "As the years went by, I've seen Aaron hit so many highs and lows. Through witnessing Aaron's struggles and having countless conversations with him, I've learned so much about addiction and mental health. It makes me so angry and sad to know that it got the best of him and unfortunately those who enabled him turned a blind eye." Bass went on to share that Carter's family and friends attempted to help him through his struggles prior to his death.

It seems that Bass wasn't the only *NSYNC member who was devastated by Carter's death, because the band also took to their official Twitter account to share a message in remembrance of their late friend. "Our hearts go out to his family, friends and fans during this difficult time. Rest In Peace Aaron #gonetosoon [sic]," the boyband wrote in part.