AJ McLean Recalls the Moment the Backstreet Boys “Caught On” to His Addiction

Backstreet Boys alum AJ McLean got candid about his decades-long addiction and revealed how his bandmates tried to intervene to help him.

By Lindsay Weinberg Oct 20, 2020 9:09 PMTags
Watch: Backstreet Boys Share Take on New Lou Pearlman Doc

AJ McLean is coming clean about his 20-year experience with addiction.

The Backstreet Boys alum opened up about his sobriety journey in an interview with Good Morning America on Monday, Oct. 19, and revealed how his bandmates tried to get involved when they learned about his addiction in the 2000s. 

"They basically broke into my house and they dumped ice water on me while I was passed out in my bed. Everybody started to catch on," McLean shared. "I wasn't me anymore. I was just living a lie." 

He admitted that his first encounter with drugs was right before he filmed the music video for the band's 2001 song "The Call."

"The first time I tried drugs was literally an hour before my call time to 'The Call' video shoot. I was off the walls," the 42-year-old singer said.

In the past two decades, he tried rehab multiple times and was at his lowest point 11 months ago in Las Vegas. "I was never sober. Not for a second," McLean said of that period of his life. "And the turning point for me was when I came back home, my wife could smell it on my breath and my youngest of my two daughters would not sit with me." 

Secrets About the Backstreet Boys

Thanks to inspiration from his kids, 7-year-old Ava and 3-year-old Lyric, he got sober that day and now works with a sponsor. He told GMA, "There's too much to live for today. My beautiful children, my amazing wife, my career, my brothers, I've never felt more grounded that I do today."

ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Back in 2018, the "I Want it That Way" singer revealed that he had relapsed during the past year. 

"It's interesting about sobriety with family and with kids — you still have to put yourself first, and that's been a real big struggle for me," McLean told People at the time. "It's no secret that this is a disease, and that it's a daily struggle."

Lately, the musician has turned his attention to competing on season 29 of Dancing With the Stars.

On Tuesday, he reflected on his mad moves after Monday's episode on ABC. "It felt great connecting to my Latin roots with a spicy samba, and it felt even greater leaving the dancefloor feeling so proud of what we accomplished together," McLean wrote on Instagram. "I am so grateful to have found a true friend in Cheryl [Burke], the best coach I could have asked for. Thank you all so much for the love."

His fellow Backstreet Boys stars are on to big things, too. They recently shared their take on the new Lou Pearlman documentary, as well as their thoughts on Justin Timberlake not reuniting with NSYNC.

Earlier this month, Timberlake brought us back to the 2000s when he reflected on his boy band's breakup. "At that time, I think everybody had aspirations of doing other things and we had talked about it," Timberlake said. "For me it was always—I mean, when I was 10 years old, my dream was to have my own record."

Timberlake has had quite the intense and eventful year alongside wife Jessica Bielread all about the couple's recent ups and downs.

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