It seems like just yesterday AJ was celebrating was turning 40 with an epic prom-themed surprise party thrown by his wife! In reality though, it was almost 365 days ago and here we are, celebrating the most eccentric of the Backstreet Boys once again (not that we mind).
1. You can have tattoos and still have one of the biggest hearts on the planet.
Branded as “the bad boy” in the early days of Backstreet, AJ McLean is anything but. He may have more tattoos than you can count and wear chains on occasion, but AJ is one of the most warm hearted people you could meet. He can strike up a conversation with anyone, he does what he can to make everyone in his presence feel special, and his heart is in everything he does. On almost every Backstreet cruise, you can find him forming a selfie line that lasts until the early hours of the morning. When he’s home, he can be found with his girls, being the sweetest dad he can be. What a softie!
2. Honesty over everything.
Everyone knows that if you want to know something, AJ is the one to ask. He will give you an honest (albeit sometimes a little stretched to hype us) answer about almost anything.
AJ has also been very open about his life, his highs and his lows, his life as a single child, his life before Backstreet and his life in almost every stage in order to inspire others and make them feel a little less alone in the world. His honesty is honestly one of our favorite, most wonderful things about him.
3. We learned the tips and tricks of being a charmer.
From his perfectly performed monologue that he used to impress the ladies to the way he slowly removes his sunglasses for a sweet serenade, Mr. McLean easily wraps us around his finger. From him, we learned some smooth moves (but we never execute quite as well). It also helps that he has THAT. VOICE.
4. A whole lot of things we probably weren’t supposed to know.
Refer to #2. AJ gets so excited and has let things slip on more than one occasion. We appreciate all of those things!
5. Your past doesn’t define your future and to take one day at a time.
Like we said, AJ has been open and honest about his struggles and about his successes. He’s made it clear that everyone is human, no matter what your status is, and that we’re all the same inside. We all fight battles and we all have addictions. We have good days and bad days and we’re all capable of making life changes and rising up to the top. AJ has been a huge inspiration to so many of us – more than he could ever imagine.
Happy Birthday, AJ. You’re one of a kind and we are so lucky to know you.