What’s Happening On The Backstreet – January 3, 2021

Happy New Year, fan-mily!!

In case you haven’t noticed (or don’t follow us on Twitter), we’ve been on a little hiatus to regroup and figure out what we want to do with WHOTB in the new year. The truth is… we still aren’t sure. But we are here and going to try to jump back into things! It’s been a wild time among Backstreet fans, but we are hopeful that everyone is entering 2021 with a warm heart and a peaceful outlook….we sure are!

So, before we start doing other things, let’s catch up on everything the Backstreet Boys have been doing that you might have missed:

  • AJ McLean
    • Ava Dean Beauty has launched, offering four shades of polish plus a top coat. You can preorder now and they are set to arrive in time for Valentines Day! Read more about the brand here.
    • Dancing With The Stars might be over, but you can still catch AJ with Cheryl Burke and friend Rene Elizondo on the Pretty Messed Up Podcast every week with a lineup of interesting guests!
    • He celebrate a year sober in December and has teased new solo music coming very soon, with a first single that “will have everyone talking”.
  • Nick Carter
    • After finishing his stint as the pink Crocodile on The Masked Singer last month, Nick released his retro-inspired single, 80s Movie! Listen to it here and keep up with everything you need to know about progress on his next solo venture here.
    • Following the release of his single, Nick gave a lot of interviews to talk about everything from Vegas to his solo work to the future of the Backstreet Boys. If you missed any of those interviews, you can find them here and here.
    • Nick also launched his Twitch channel as PopKidNick a few months ago! While he hasn’t been active recently due to the holidays, you can certainly watch the replays (and an exclusive studio session on nickcarter.net if you’re a fan club member). He has promised to make a return early this year.
    • He has also teased many fun projects ahead, including a mystery collab with Lance Bass. We can’t wait to see it!
  • Howie D.
    • Howie has just launched an opportunity for fans to get a personalized message from Sweet D. himself via Cameo. Even better is the fact that all of the money goes to charity!
    • He also gave a sweet little holiday performance with sister Pollyanna on Twitter – check it out!
  • Brian Littrell
    • Unsurprisingly, Brian has been doing lots of things with his family in his off time, helping with Baylee’s career as an up and coming musical artist. Most recently, Brian and Baylee performed virtually for Q 99.7’s All Right For The Holidays. You can watch the performance here!
    • They also talked to The Pop Culture Show — watch here!
  • Backstreet Boys
    • While the Backstreet Boys might not be doing *too* much as a group right now, they have done a few things recently and one of those things is continuing to release monthly episodes of the Apple Radio “All I Have To Give” podcast series. So far, there has been a group, Howie, Kevin, Brian and AJ episode released and if you haven’t listened yet, you really should! Nick’s should be released this month and earlier last year, Nick himself stated that there were 7 (or 9?) episodes… so there should be a few more coming.
    • Also, in case you missed it (HOW?!), the BSB released a song with Britney Spears. “Matches” marks their second official collab in their history as a group and we are obsessed. You can listen to it here.

Also, we would like to mention that we are still creating items in the WHOTB Shop with ALL PROCEEDS FROM ALL ITEMS going directly to currently out-of-work live event crewmembers that we know and love. Currently, we’ve raised over $800!

If you’re interested in shopping, check it out! See something you like but you wish it was a little different? Shoot us an email and we’ll see what we can do.

Now you’re all caught up on what’s happening on the Backstreet! We have more coming soon and look forward to 2021 being a better year (cautiously optimistic here) with our entire fan-mily. See you soon!

What Happens On The Backstreet Celebrates 6 Years!

Since we launched WHOTB in 2014, I didn’t know what was going to transpire. I didn’t think I would keep it open more than a year or that more than maybe 50 people would read it.

But here we are, 6 years, over a million hits, and nearly 30k+ followers over all social media channels later. All of it still blows my mind. Thinking back on how a small idea in the middle of a Nick and Knight concert turned into all of this is WILD.

And none of it would have been possible without EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. who has read a post, contributed to a post, emailed us, helped us, told us what we were doing wrong (whether we agreed or not) and praised us for what we had done right (ugh…it means so much)! This site has always run under the motto “for fans, by fans” from day one. This was always a group effort. This fan-mily has not let us down.

As we all know, 2020 has been A. DAMN. YEAR. In terms of Backstreet alone, this year was completely different from anything we’ve ever experienced as fans. With no tour, no events, and nothing really new, we’ve had to find ways to make our own fun. Whether that was a virtual festival in the fan club or cheering a dancing AJ and a pink crocodile on every week, so many of us have made our own joy.

But beyond the Backstreet Boys, so many of us have had the true meaning of fan-mily slap us in the face. For me personally, I spent a lot of time earlier this year wondering if I was done with WHOTB among other things…. and then my mom passed away suddenly. And then I walked into a funeral home full of flowers from fellow Backstreet Boys fans and wowowow, my heart… there are no words. Since then, so, so many of us have suffered so many different kinds of losses and so many of us have shared our heartaches, our mental health issues, and more and I’ve watched fans rally around each other in every way. Beyond the Backstreet Boys, we’ve created a fan-mily turned family. It’s something special and when everything goes back to “normal”, I hope we never forget the good parts of the way we were there for each other…. virtually. For the not-so-great, I hope that we continue to try to listen to each other and create something better. We can only go up!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for making WHOTB what it is today. Thank you for laughing and crying with us. Thank you for hitting me in the feels with your words and forcing me to grow a thicker skin with your opinions! Be kind to one another and we hope to see everyone A S A P. Until then, we’ll just keep making shit up online to entertain ourselves!

XOXO,

Sara

20 Years Later: 6 Things We Can’t Not Talk About When It Comes To The Backstreet Boys ‘Black and Blue’ Era

20 years since the release of Black and Blue…can we get a collective W O W?

There is so much to say about an era that has such mixed reactions. It was a time for a lot of firsts. It was a time of a lot of transitions. Arguably, it might be the era of the Backstreet Boys least defined by the album and music produced and more defined by everything that transpired – for them and for us.

Personally, this is a post that has taken a lot of thought to write. While it was my first FULL era that I got to experience as a fan, it is also one that, objectively, holds a lot of darker times and anyone that has been a Backstreet Boys fan for a length of time knows why. When I brought this up on Twitter, I think it’s safe to say that there are a lot of us who are pretty torn on how we feel about it.

But we can’t deny that Black and Blue is a significant piece of Backstreet history, with an epic trip around the world and fans still flying high off of the success of Millennium, bombarding airports and the streets just to get a glimpse of Kevin, Brian, AJ, Nick and Howie. Despite the fact that they had been going hard through the 90s to achieve the success that they were now experiencing and they were, in fact, metaphorically black and blue, they stuck it out for fans… and that’s indicative of who Backstreet is, if nothing else.

So let’s talk about a few things that we can’t not talk about when it comes to Black and Blue!

1. The Album.

The Backstreet Boys have openly talked about the push to get Black and Blue out so quickly after Millennium to maintain a level of hype surrounding the group and while we were wild about the album at its release 20 years ago, there are few fans that name it as a favorite album in the BSB collection. It seemed to simultaneously still appeal to our fangirl hearts, while also asking us to grow up just a little.

The singles “Shape of My Heart”, “The Call”, and “More Than That” have, of course, become concert staples, as well as non-singles like “Get Another Boyfriend” and “Everyone”, who everyone seems to thoroughly enjoy. There’s also the lyrically underrated “What Makes You Different”, “Time” and “How Did I Fall In Love With You” that seem to have flown under the radar!

Favorite or not, B&B has proven to be a solid album over time with songs that should be appreciated individually but were maybe an odd collection to fit together. However, we do feel like the “weight” of the songs reflected the group’s feelings at the time. BLACK AND BLUE GOES DEEP, Y’ALL… if you’re willing to peel back the layers.

2. The Trip Around The World In 100 Hours.

Perhaps the most notable piece of the Backstreet Boys’ Black and Blue era was the trip around the world in 100 hours. Not only was it insanely exciting for fans in six continents, it was exciting to see the Boys themselves take on something new and something that no one else was doing (or has done to date, to our knowledge). While it was a great marketing venture for them, it was also something for all of us personally. It gave the Backstreet Boys themselves the opportunity to physically feel the outpouring of love from SO. MANY. FANS and regular people (remember the mariachi band who only played “As Long As You Love Me”?) around the world. And the Backstreet Boys branded private plane? EPIC.

But also, was anyone else impressed by their ENDLESS amounts of black and blue wardrobe?

From the subdued crowds waiting for them in Japan airport to the MASSIVE amounts of people filling the streets in Rio, in a time where no one was sure what the future of the Backstreet Boys was, this provided some incredibly sweet moments and images that the band and the fans alike still remember to this day.

3. The Transitions.

In the same vein as the trip around the world, this era suddenly brought about a glimpse of who the Backstreet Boys were as adult men. When they embarked on the trip, it was the first time that most fans had seen Kevin and Brian since they had become married men just months before…and suddenly Howie had straight hair? It was clear that there were differences. Just as most of us were adjusting from pre-teens to teenagers, they were adjusting from young men to adults and admittedly, it was kind of an awkward phase for all of us. Suddenly, the squeaky clean boyband that had been presented to us before this were now on MTV Diary, cussing, talking about drinking, and calling each other dildos (Ok, that was only Kevin). Oh, and let’s not forget the Rolling Stone interview that included a lot of…well…eye-opening comments! This era definitely laid the groundwork for what the Backstreet Boys would ultimately break free of and grow into.

Times were changing and the Backstreet Boys and all of us were changing with it.

4. The Truths.

No Backstreet Boys fan will forget where they were when they either watched four Backstreet Boys appear solemnly on TRL or heard that AJ had entered rehab. Much like the transitions that were prominent in this era, it’s also an era of truths. The Backstreet Boys had, appropriately, “nothing to hide no more”… and maybe that’s why “Shape of My Heart” was the first single?

It was an era of firsts – the good and the tough – and we appreciated it all, even now. Those truths revealed to us somehow solidified a trust between the Boys and fans that would last for years to come.

5. The Tour.

THAT. BRIDGE. OVER. THE. AUDIENCE. It was the original catwalk, but in the air. It was what no other boyband was doing at the time. It was EVERYTHING to us. That is all.

6. The Era That Needed To Happen To Make The Backstreet Boys Who They Are Today.

All of these things were exactly the things that had to happen to make Kevin, Howie, Brian, AJ and Nick the group they continue to be today and to make fans a little more grateful for the good times, but also aware that no one is perfect. Looking back over the last two decades, the Black and Blue era had less to do with the music and more to do with who we are and what we can handle as human beings. There are many lessons to be gained from Black and Blue and memories that were inevitably made….and of course, Shape of My Heart is playing in the background of all of those.

A Few Thoughts On Current Events

I went back and forth about writing this, as it is a sensitive topic with lots of opinions and in all honesty, I wasn’t sure if that was something I wanted to tackle again. Over the years, we have used WHOTB to rally around Kevin, Howie, Brian, AJ and Nick, in whatever way that was at the moment, and we have also used it to ask for better communication, experiences, etc. for us, the fans. We’ve shared a LOT here. We’ve heard kind things from a lot of you and we’ve heard your messages asking us to stop bringing attention to things that didn’t seem to affect a lot of people. Finding a balance that pleases everyone over the past nearly 6 years has been hard.

All of that being said, we thought long and hard about addressing what most fans are talking about right now – the Littrells and their upcoming event in Georgia in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. 

We haven’t addressed it for a number of reasons, but mainly because there are people speaking on it that are better versed than we are. We weren’t sure how to approach it without offending people or if we even should since we hadn’t already. Emotions are running very, very high in 2020 and the last thing we want is for someone to take what we say in a way that we don’t mean. So, please, if anything in this post doesn’t sit well with you, discuss it with us. Give us the opportunity to hear you out and see it from an angle that we might not have expressed properly here. 

The main reason we are writing this is because over the weekend, we have been sent several messages with posts that wish harm upon Brian or Leighanne or both. We’ve seen a petition asking him to leave the group. We’ve seen things insinuating that people adjacent to them are being sent messages. That is not the “Backstreet Army” that we know and we are devastated to learn that some people think that’s ok. None of this is ok…on either side.

Bottom line – regardless of how you feel about the event and about everything leading up to it, wishing illness, tragic things, and / or death upon someone is not and never will be acceptable. If you think it is, please unfollow us, unlike us, and be on your way. What in the actual hell, you guys?! If we’re going to talk about lack of human decency, as we’ve seen a lot of people agree upon, this also falls into that category. Agree or not, our stance is that these is no “winning” here.

I know this is VERY few people and from what we’ve seen, it’s been anonymous, but we thought it was worth talking about because it IS happening. We post things on the internet, we get into heated debates, we decide that maybe being a fan isn’t for us anymore… but somewhere in the midst, some people take it too far. Sometimes rallying people to do more, more, more is exactly how this happens. The abundance of disapproval for Leighanne’s actions, specifically, have seemed to snowball into who can say the meanest things the loudest in some cases and the whole point is being lost.

This year has been tragic, filled with so much hurt and loss. Loss of lives, loss of jobs, loss of mental stability and so much more. It is unsurprising that so many people would have an adverse reaction to posts that Leighanne has made on her own social media. We would never, ever ask people to be silent about how they feel and we’ve seen many great arguments made and conversations created out of this unfortunate situation.

However, we think it’s worth noting — when someone is committed to misunderstanding you, they are committed to misunderstanding you. I think by now, it is clear that no one in this situation is going to change their minds and the tone has risen to such a level that no one is listening to one another anymore. Everyone is hurt and calling out the same behavior repeatedly seems like a daunting, unproductive task in this particular case. By responding to things you hate, you give her words power… and vice versa. Admittedly, we do not follow her on socials, so we are only seeing what you guys send us / post. Also admittedly, we see more of what you guys are saying ABOUT it than what she’s saying directly. That gives her the power, no? We’re all talking about it, which is better marketing for the event, which seems like exactly what people don’t want to do. 

In the same vein, we do, obviously, follow Brian. Brian, who has said nothing in the midst of all of this. We have seen many say that silence is complicitness… and we beg to differ. This is Brian’s WIFE. The woman he chose to be with 20+ years ago, has a child with, lives with, etc. Anyone who has followed Brian for any amount of time knows that he puts family over everything (as most husbands and wives do) and that he puts very little weight on social media posts (as he has not only stated, but has exhibited in his lack of social engagement). He’s not going to go against his wife for the world’s favor, just like he didn’t go against Nick amidst allegations. That’s his FAMILY. The other four Backstreet Boys are his FAMILY. Like it or not, they’re going to treat him as such and we would certainly expect them to. We are not here to dissect any of that and we’re never going to pit them against each other. 

We don’t know them personally to say one way or another, but I do know that everyone is more than what they put on their social media. We can’t speak for Leighanne, but as for Brian, we have personally watched him, for over two decades, go out of his way for fans in person and try to give us as much as he can give. We’ve heard stories upon stories of kind things he’s done without anyone knowing. On the 2018 cruise, we watched him run out of the theatre during his own event to check on a girl who had passed out on the deck. We’ve watched him return to the stage weeks after heart surgery for us and we’ve watched him stick it out while battling a disease onstage… for us. This is the Brian we know. This is the Brian that we will continue to support until he gives us reason to do otherwise. It’s not blind support – we’re not saying he’s a saint. It’s what we’ve seen and what we do know in conjunction with imperfections. The end.

Everyone has an opinion and everyone is allowed to express that opinion in whatever way they choose. Everyone is obviously free to surround themselves with whoever and whatever they would like to. We certainly aren’t saying everything we feel here – only what we feel is necessary to state before we move on… and that is simply that this battle of words has gone too far. This isn’t to kiss anyone’s ass. It isn’t to make anyone feel better or worse. We are all humans fighting the same fight right now. We won’t be saying anything else about it.

We know that there are fans going to this event and that is their choice, of course. We certainly don’t wish them harm either. In fact, we hope it DOES go well because at the end of the day, we only want the best for everyone and it’s happening, whether you agree with it or not. We hope that everyone continues to wear a mask, stay socially distant and please, for the love of God, wash your freaking hands. 

Ballroom Basics: AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke Take On Two Dances in One Week!

This is the first week that Team Pretty Messed Up performed two dances on one night and they ROCKED it, sending them to Week Nine!

  • AJ and Cheryl danced a Rumba to “Way Down We Go”, inspired by AJ’s recovery journey and making everyone in the ballroom emotional. Watch what Sharna Burgess had to say about the dance here.
  • For this dance, they earned three 8s for a 24/30
  • They then danced in a relay against Kaitlyn and Skai. This samba earned them 3 extra points added on to their score.
  • Next week, Cheryl and AJ will be paying tribute to Freddie Mercury by performing a Viennese Waltz to “Somebody To Love” for Icons Week
  • Here is the leaderboard for this week: Johnny and Britt: 27 + 3 = 30 // Nev and Jenna: 27 + 3 = 30 // Justina and Sasha: 27 + 2 = 29 // Kaitlyn and Artem: 25 + 3 = 28 // AJ and Cheryl: 24 + 3 = 27 // Skai and Alan: 25 + 2 = 27 // Chrishell and Gleb: 24 + 2 = 26 (Eliminated) // Nelly and Daniella: 21 + 2 = 23
  • Check out the latest episode of The Pretty Messed Up Podcast to hear the pair talk about the night in their own words (plus talk to special guest Kris Jenner)

A Few Ways To Find A Little Stress Relief With The Backstreet Boys This Week

There is no doubt that you already know, if you’re reading this, this has been a TOUGH year.

It’s not only a big year of astrological and lifestyle shifts for so many, but with the ongoing pandemic and a tumultuous election period in the U.S., SHIT. IS. HARD.

You can and you should stay aware of what is going on in your area, country, world, etc., we also understand that all of this stress and anxiety can cause extreme mental fatigue. Your brain isn’t made to handle all of these things at once and your heart can only take so much. Please be gentle with yourself and practice self-care as much (and as safely) as possible. You’re doing the best you can.

So after you cast your vote and sit down from a day of wearing a mask, we’ve created this space for some temporary relief. If you are reading this, you are obviously a Backstreet Boys fan. As is true with most Backstreet fans, we’ve long used the Boys as a means of escape from reality at some points. We know we all miss them, but we’ve compiled some things from the past that will hopefully be gentle on your brain, bring a smile to your face, and release some endorphins.

Light a candle, say a pray, and take a little time to indulge yourself in something light in an otherwise heavy time. As always, our inbox is open on Twitter and via email at whothebackstreet@gmail.com if you need to talk about ANYTHING – heavy or light. If you have no one else to talk to, we are here.

Stay well. Stay safe. We’ll get through this year together, fan-mily. ❤


A BSB Stress Relief Video Collection

We’ve compiled some of our favorite interviews, appearances, performances and more for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

[Click the top right corner to see full list]

A Gentle BSB Playlist

A lot of our favorite Backstreet ballads in one place!

Turn off the lights, lay on a flat surface with a facemask, press play.

Some Other Fun Posts You Might Enjoy For Now

100+ Backstreet Boys GIFS That Might Make Your Day A Little Brighter

Fans Share Some of Their Favorite Backstreet Video Moments

Watch Nick’s Past Twitch Streams!

16 Hocus Pocus GIFS That Tell A Tale of Backstreet Boys Fans Returning To Events After 2020

For the vast majority of us, 2020 has been a straight horror story. On top of everything else, we have been left void of live events, which includes a Backstreet Boys void like we haven’t felt since early 2000s.

Since it’s spooky season and since Hocus Pocus replays at all hours on our televisions, we could help but think about, like the Sanderson Sisters, we will be so happy to be “alive” after 300 years (c’mon…that’s what it feels like!) when we return the DNA World Tour!

(Has any virgin tried lighting a candle?)

We imagine it’ll be a little something like this….

All of Us, Trying To Make Events Come Back Faster:

The First Time We See A Backstreet Boy In Person After 300 Years:

When We Realize We Don’t Know How To Be At Events Anymore:

The Minute Anyone Coughs Though:

Looking For Our Friends and More Importantly, The Backstreet Boys Themselves:

The First Time We Get Ready For An Actual In-Person Meet and Greet:

The Minute We Realize That Means Putting On Actual Clothes and Perhaps a Bra:

When Anyone Tries To Stop Us From Doing ANYTHING:

Once We Get To Our Seats That We Paid Too Much For:

When We Realize We Don’t Have The *Best* Seats, But It’s Fine Because AT LEAST WE’RE THERE:

The Minute The Concert Starts Will Have Us Feeling Like:

When The Backstreet Boys Ask If They’re Original and We Scream YEAAAHHH:

And The Backstreet Boys Will Be Like:

How We’ll Look and Feel Once We Finally Get Home:

Ballroom Basics: AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke Go ‘Psycho’

It was villains week on Dancing With The Stars and judging by his role as the incredibly creepy Johnny Vermillion in Dead 7, we knew that AJ would have no trouble pulling it off!

This week was not without a real life fright though, as Cheryl Burke took a scary fall the night before the live show, banging the back of her head onto the floor. However, she pulled through and performed the heck out of their villainous tango!

  • Their tango was inspired by the horror classic film ‘Psycho’, with AJ taking on a Norman Bates persona
  • Team Pretty Messed Up scored 26 out of 30
  • AJ and Cheryl talk about the week, the injury, and their thoughts on Monica being eliminated in the latest episode of their podcast
  • NEXT WEEK: All teams will be dancing TWO DANCES and there will be a DOUBLE ELIMINATION so your votes are SUPER important!
  • Here is the leaderboard for tonight:

Nev and Jenna: 30
Johnny and Britt: 27
Nelly and Daniella: 27
Skai and Alan: 27
AJ and Cheryl: 26
Chrishell and Gleb: 26
Justina and Sasha: 26
Jeannie and Brandon: 25
Kaitlyn and Artem: 24
Monica and Val: 22 (ELIMINATED)

Why 90s Fangirls Know The Importance of Voting Better Than Anyone

The year is 2020 and everyone from your neighbor to strangers on the internet to celebrities are telling you how important it is to VOTE. It is your right, it is your voice, and it matters.

And no one can vouch for that sentiment like a 90s fangirl. Voting is and always has been important in our realm. We’re talking boots on the ground, fingers on the phone, vehement emails to radio stations voting. For a long time, it was the ONLY way we had a voice and the only way we could convey to our favorite boybands how much what they were doing meant to us, just like voting in local and national elections is the only way to let it be known how much you care about issues affecting your community and your nation.

We voted BY PHONE (because the internet was not a thing) for the Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC (whichever way you leaned – these were our political parties) to have the #1 music video on TRL, Much Music, etc. We used OUR OWN MONEY to buy their music to make sure their album was #1 week that week. We made request after request in any way we had to to make sure that their single was the #1 song in the country. We had no way to “rig” votes. We had no bots. We knew… ONE vote could (can and will) make all the difference.

NO ONE knows the power of voting like a fangirl (or fanboy)… and we also know a loss through the power of persuasion.

BSB fans… you know the story.

The year was 2000 and the Backstreet Boys were allowing fans to call into TRL to vote for their next single. There were three options with “Don’t Want You Back” far ahead of the rest and “The One” falling into third. One call from Nick Carter changed everything. As soon as he mentioned that he would like to see “The One” as the next single, everything changed and suddenly, that was the next single. 

Was “The One” a bad song? No, of course not. Would “Don’t Want You Back” garnered more radio airplay and perhaps been a more popular single? Most likely. Everyone knew it then and they definitely know it now. Our point is… DON’T BE INFLUENCED. Know who and what you’re voting for! 

If you are currently not as informed as you would like to be on issues and who stands for what in the upcoming U.S. election, try this website out! They are politically unaffiliated and do a really good job explaining everything from top to bottom.

If millions of tween girls could keep their favorite boybands on top for weeks, months, years, if millions of teen girls could vote for them to win fan voted awards, if we could stand in line for tickets or wristbands in every weather scenario you could think of, if we could make room in our busy lives as women to vote for them now every chance we get, then you can (and should) vote to make a difference in your country. 

May you hold the power and determination of a 90s fangirl each and everytime you vote. There’s no one that can vote like us.

Thank You For Sharing: An Open Letter To AJ McLean on His Recovery and Sobriety Journey

Dear AJ,

For many years now, you have shared your iconic voice and your insane talents with people all over the world. You’ve shared your highs and your lows with anyone who would listen in hopes of helping others. You’ve shared your incredible heart from making fans feel like family members with kind words to standing in selfie lines on the last days of cruises until the morning light appeared.

You’ve never been anything but kind. You’ve never been anything but big hearted. You’ve poured everything you have into your performances, into what you give us, all the while continuing to battle your own disease. You’ve been open about the journey since you first entered rehab in 2001 and we have been rooting for you to be able to fully recover, in a way that works for you, ever since. We’ve prayed for you, we’ve hoped for you, and all we’ve ever wanted was the best for you – because that is, undoubtedly, what you’ve always deserved.

For those reasons and so many more, reading what you’ve shared with People this week – about your sobriety of 10 months and about what finally shook you – has moved all of us. We are so proud of you, AJ. We are so excited for a future with you in it, being your best self, performing as your best self, and most importantly, being the dad and the husband that you were made to be.

It is not my typical thing to include personal anecdotes within posts, but this time, I feel that I can’t finish this without it. My own father was an alcoholic, who never hit his rock bottom. He was never an unkind person and even when I was young, I knew that I had sometimes had the power to say things to make him stay home. He was in and out of rehab, never quite hitting his “bottom” until it was too late and he was too far gone. He was 42 when he passed away. AJ… thank you for being strong enough to do what my dad couldn’t. Thank you for sharing your story of hope for others who are struggling so maybe they think twice. Thank you for WANTING a better life for your girls. Thank you for trying your damndest over and over again. Your girls will thank you one day… for choosing them, for thinking they were enough to make a change, and for staying alive in a life worth living.

God has always had a plan for you, AJ McLean… that much is obvious. We’ve all been so blessed to have you in our lives for all of this time and because of your choice, because of your strength, you will continue to touch even more lives. Your story will continue to inspire and motivate others. You will only do bigger and better things – we just know it.

We’re so thrilled to be here for it. Congratulations on your sobriety, Mr. McLean.

We will always be rooting for you.