Lance Bass is here, queer and used to it.
Responding to rumors swirling about his sexuality, the 'N Sync member confirmed to People magazine in its latest issue that he is gay and involved in a "very stable" relationship with Amazing Race winner Reichen Lehmkuhl.
The revelation is not exactly startling. Gossip blogs including Defamer.com and PerezHilton.com have been speculating about the twosome's not-so-platonic relationship for weeks.
Earlier this month, the New York Post ran an item reporting that Bass and Lehmkuhl were spotted together at a gay bar in Provincetown, Massachusetts, while the New York Daily News coined the phrase "man sharing" to point out that both men had been photographed wearing the same T-shirt.
Bass had previously told his friends and family the truth about his sexual preferences, but said he wanted to wait for the right moment to publicly reveal that he was gay, partly out of concern for how the information might affect 'N Sync and its other members, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake.
"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 People.
"I didn't know: Could that be the end of 'N Sync? So I had that weight on me of like, 'Wow, if I ever let anyone know, it's bad.' So I just never did."
But with the boy band on the back burner, at least for now, and his dreams of space flight dashed, at least for now, the time seemed ripe for Bass to come out.
"The main reason I wanted to speak my mind was that [the rumors] really were starting to affect my daily life," he told People. "Now it feels like it's on my terms. I'm at peace with my family, my friends, myself and God so there's really nothing else that I worry about."
On the heels of Bass' announcement, several of his 'N Sync bandmates spoke up in support of their friend.
"I've known Lance for more than 10 years. We have been through so much together," Chasez said in a statement. "He is family and I support him unconditionally."
Timberlake called Bass "one of my great friends. I support him and wish him all the happiness in the world."
Fatone, who was Bass' first bandmate to learn that he was gay, echoed those sentiments.
"He took years to really think about how he was going to tell everyone," Fatone told People. "I back him up 100 percent."
Fatone and Bass are currently developing a faux-reality sitcom pilot based on The Odd Couple, in which Bass' character will be openly gay.
The singer, who was raised in a Southern Baptist household in Mississippi, emphasized that he was most definitely not tearin' up his heart about his decision to come out.
"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."