What You Didn't Know About 98 Degrees

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If you weren't singing a few notes already, let us help you out: "Give me just one night! Una noche." "I do cherish you, for the rest of my life." "It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to do..." They may not have been the most popular of all, but 98 Degrees has eked out a secure spot as one of the most underrated and enduring boy bands of all time.

Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre, and Jeff Timmons scored a number of hits in their heyday, and with their latest tours and music, the band notes on their official website that they are "celebrating 25 years alongside the best fans in the world!" But is it a reunion? A comeback? "We've been touring together and going out on the road and doing stuff here and there over the years," Drew told Rolling Stone in 2021, "So for us, it's never been a matter of, like, breaking up and getting back together," he added.

The band has come a long way since their early days of power ballads and matching overalls. From dabbles in politics and exotic dancing to reality show superstardom and missed duets, here's everything you didn't know about 98 Degrees.

98 Degrees is an all-Ohio group

The guys of 98 Degrees — Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre, Drew Lachey, and Nick Lachey — have more in common than just great singing chops. They're all from the Buckeye State, Ohio. But surprisingly, they never knew each other until they joined the band (with the exception of Drew and Nick, who are brothers). As Timmons told AXS TV in 2022 about their early days, it was important to them that they kept the emphasis on their vocal skills and not their, well, lackluster dancing ability.

"We often get the question, 'Why don't we dance [like other boy bands]?' And the answer is it's because we can't!" Timmons said. "They tried to get us to do it, and we did try it for a little bit. But you know, look, when we started the group, we wanted to be singers, known as singers. So we kinda stayed true to ourselves."

Their perfect harmonies landed them a contract with Motown Records (per Forbes), making them the first white group to sign with the storied label, with their first single, "Invisible Man," landing in the Billboard Hot 100's 12th spot.

They are the rare boy band that formed themselves

According to Jeff Timmons, 98 Degrees stood out from other popular boy bands of their day, like rivals *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. Timmons told AXS TV in 2022 that he, Drew Lachey, Nick Lachey, and Justin Jeffre formed their group themselves in Los Angeles in the late '90s and had the cache of not being brought together by producers and music executives.

"While all the other groups are extremely talented — we love those guys; we're friends with all of 'em — they were put together," he said. "And we can kinda claim that we're a little bit different."

Why the simultaneously silly/great name "98 Degrees"? Timmons has discussed their search for the right moniker. "We could not come up with a cool name," he said in 2014 on "Bethenny." "Our manager, believe it or not, had a really hot girlfriend, and she was like, 'Why not call yourselves 98 Degrees? And we were like, 'bingo!'" Drew has also told Fox 19 Now that the group liked the connection between hot temps and their love songs.

98 Degrees modeled their group after Boyz II Men

98 Degrees took their own fandom to the next level. In forming their band, the guys hoped to emulate the successful R&B group Boyz II Men.

"It was never our intention to be part of the 'boy band' movement," Nick Lachey told Rolling Stone in 2021. "We really kind of modeled ourselves after Boyz II Men growing up, but I guess that [the boy band label] was just kind of what happened, and we were along for the ride."

The group also tried to get discovered behind the scenes at a concert, just like Boyz II Men did. Jeff Timmons shared with AXS TV in 2022 that 98 Degrees snuck backstage at the venue where — wait for it — Boyz II Men was playing, and the new guys impressed some music execs along the way! From this auspicious start, 98 Degrees went on to have two Top 10 hits ("I Do (Cherish You)" and "The Hardest Thing") and a slate of memorable tunes, from "My Everything" and "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" to "Because of You" and "True to Your Heart."

They never officially broke up

Following their double-platinum-selling album "Revelation" in 2000, it was almost 15 years before 98 Degrees released new music. In 2013, the band put out the album "2.0" and cleared up rumors about their retreat from the music scene. Nick Lachey told Rolling Stone that it was important to the group that their fans knew they were still together. "We always had the intention of doing another record. It just maybe took a little longer than we anticipated," Lachey explained.

He also told the magazine that the group has tried to "evolve" their sound over the years while remaining true to their harmonizing roots. An added bonus of reuniting more than a decade later? They've enjoyed performing together more than ever and could better appreciate what they've achieved as a band. "[98 Degrees] is something now we can share with our families, which is fun in a whole new way," Lachey said. "When you go through it the first time around, it's such a whirlwind that you sometimes forget to stop and enjoy what you're doing."

The guys seem to view their 98 Degrees milestones as one continuous journey. Jeff Timmons told 3 WKYC Studios in 2022, "I'm so blessed. I have so many memories, and we're making them still. It's our 25th year of being together. We're having more fun now, actually, because we're not taking it as seriously." He thanked the group's loyal fans and mentioned a special celebration tour to look forward to.

Justin Jeffre dabbled in politics

From pop star to politician? Stranger things have happened!

In 2005, 98 Degrees band member Justin Jeffre, an Ohio native, threw his hat into the ring in his hometown of Cincinnati's mayoral race. At his campaign launch event (attended by his bandmate Nick Lachey), Jeffre told his audience that despite the day being April Fool's, his candidacy was for real. He also talked about his pride in his hometown. "Whenever I travel, people ask me where I'm from," he said (via MTV News). Jeffre noted that people usually assume he's from Los Angeles or New York, adding, "And when I say Cincinnati, they say, 'Why?' My answer to them is always the same: 'You've obviously never been there.'"

Unsurprisingly (or maybe surprisingly, depending on your level of fandom), Jeffre failed to get past the primary stage. He came in fifth place, with 708 votes. His failed bid for mayor, though, wasn't his only venture into politics. Jeffre was arrested at an Occupy Cincinnati protest six years later in 2011.

Jeff Timmons headlined at Chippendale's

The boy band-to-male exotic performer pipeline is not really too much of a stretch if you think about it. Still, for 98 Degrees singer Jeff Timmons, it took him a minute to really get on board with the idea when the opportunity presented itself to him. "I thought if I [take a hosting job at Chippendale's], it makes me kind of look like a C-lister," Timmons told Channel Guide magazine in 2014.

But after seeing the show, with its emphasis more on dancing than stripping, Timmons (a dad of three and stepdad of two) changed his mind. The star's role was to sing, not to strip. He also liked that many of the attendees had been fans of 98 Degrees back in the day. The star parlayed his Chippendale's hosting gig into an E! show in 2014, "Men of the Strip." In this "Magic Mike" era, Timmons' wife actually encouraged him to participate in the interactive show.

Timmons' professional Chippendale's role wasn't the first time some fans got up close and personal with 98 Degrees members. On E! News in 2016, Timmons, Jeffre, and Nick Lachey owned up to becoming romantically involved with fans in the past.

Drew Lachey served as an Army medic before joining 98 Degrees

Before joining one of the more successful boy bands in pop music history, Drew Lachey was on a very different career path. An entirely different one, to be specific, as Lachey was working as combat medic in the United States Army, as reported by WLWT 5. Lachey told the TV station in 2013 that 98 Degrees had already been formed when one of the members dropped out. It was Justin Jeffre who suggested to Drew's brother Nick that Drew would be a great fit in the band.

After that, things moved fast for the newest member of 98 Degrees. "I drove from New York to [Los Angeles], learned my harmony parts on the way out, and two days after I got there, we opened for Montel Jordan at the House of Blues," Drew told WLWT 5.

During the band's hiatus, Drew performed on Broadway and competed on the second season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" — and won! Married to his high school girlfriend and a dad of two, he runs an arts nonprofit in Cincinnati with his wife when he isn't on the road with 98 Degrees.

Nick Lachey went from Newlyweds to host extraordinaire

Of the four members of 98 Degrees, Nick Lachey has maintained the highest profile since the band's initial successes in the late '90s. In 2003, he co-starred with his then-wife, pop star and lifestyle mogul Jessica Simpson, on the MTV reality show "Newlyweds." It was one of the first hugely popular reality series, and as noted by The Ringer, it paved the way for future celebrity-driven reality shows.

During this time, Nick also embarked on a solo music career. His first album without his 98 Degrees bandmates was titled "SoulO" and featured the track "This I Swear," which was used as the theme song for "Newlyweds." Lachey and Simpson's marriage imploded in 2005, and the next year, he released the album "What's Left of Me," inspired by his divorce.

This album would prove to be a turning point for Lachey, who cast MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo in the music video for the album's title track. In 2011, the two married, eventually becoming parents to three kids, and Lachey went on to a long series of reality show hosting and judging gigs, including Netflix's "Love Is Blind," co-hosted by Vanessa. "I know for a fact that if [Vanessa and I] had gone into the 'Love Is Blind' pods and didn't know each other, we would have found each other," he told Page Six in 2022. He explained, "We're just so similar, and you can't fight fate, right?"

98 Degrees passed on some epic '90s collabs

Oops, they ... didn't even do it? In looking back at the highs and lows of their early pop star days, the guys of 98 Degrees can point to a few big "What if?" situations. The band recalls a couple of missed opportunities to collaborate with other pop stars. Drew Lachey told Us Weekly in 2021 that they were asked to record with artists who weren't very well known at the time and had passed. But who exactly were these future stars?

Drew told the outlet that he thought at the time, "'I've never even heard of that person.' And then the next thing, you turn around, and they blow up and they become Nelly or Britney Spears." Despite these coulda-woulda-shouldas, the band did score a hit on their duet with music legend Stevie Wonder, "True to Your Heart," which was featured on the soundtrack to Disney's 1998 animated film "Mulan."

With their reunion firmly in place, Drew Lachey, Nick Lachey, Jeff Timmons, and Justin Jeffre have got their eyes on the future and are continuing to tour and release music for their many fans, including 2021's pop-throwback single "Where Do You Wanna Go?" "We're having the time of our lives really," Timmons shared with Us Weekly. "... We [have] started to relish almost every moment that we're able to do it."