After completion of 'N Sync's Pop Odyssey Tour, Bass moved to Star City, Russia, in much publicized pursuit of a seat on a Soyuz space capsule. Bass was certified by both NASA and the Russian Space Program after several months of cosmonaut training, and planned to join the TMA-1 mission to the International Space Station. However, after his financial sponsors backed out, Bass was denied a seat on the mission. (Picture: Michael Turchin)
In July 2006, Bass revealed that he is gay in a cover story for People magazine. He was awarded the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award in October 2006, and released an autobiography, Out of Sync, in October 2007, which debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list.
James Lance Bass was born in Laurel, Mississippi, to James Irvin Bass, Jr., a medical technologist, and Diane (née Pulliam), a middle school mathematics and English teacher. Along with his older sister, Stacy, Bass grew up in nearby Ellisville, Mississippi, and was raised as a Southern Baptist. Bass has described his family as devoutly Christian and conservative and has said that his childhood was "extremely happy". As a young boy, Bass developed an interest in space, and at age 9 traveled to Cape Canaveral, Florida, with his father to watch his first live space shuttle launch. Of this experience Bass said, "I was certain from then on that my future was to be involved with space." Shortly after, Bass attended space camp in Titusville, Florida, and aspired to attend college and study engineering, with the hope that he would one day work for NASA.
When Bass was 10 years old, his father was transferred to a different hospital, and the family moved to Clinton, Mississippi. Bass began singing in his Baptist church choir, and was encouraged to audition for local performance groups by his childhood best friend, Darren Dale, the youngest child of former longtime Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale. Bass joined the Mississippi Show Stoppers, a state-wide music group sponsored by the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, and the Attaché Show Choir, a national-award-winning competitive show choir group at Clinton High School. He was also a member of a seven-man vocal group named Seven Card Stud, which competed at state fairs and performed at several social and political events for Senator Trent Lott.
At Clinton High School, Bass was elected vice president of his junior class, and has said that he performed well in math and science. However, Bass later stated that his primary focus during high school was singing, and when looking back, he remembers "hardly anything" about academia.
Bass dated actress Danielle Fishel of TV's Boy Meets World throughout 1999 and 2000. Fishel stated that she was heavily invested in the relationship, commenting that she was "like, so in love" with Bass. Bass ended the relationship after one year, and continued to exclusively date women until he was 22.
In his autobiography, Bass documents two gay relationships that predated media speculation; one with a Miami, Florida native named Jesse, with whom Bass lived for two years, and another with an Idaho native named Joe. Bass began dating Amazing Race winner Reichen Lehmkuhl in early 2006, a courtship that garnered tabloid coverage and led to Bass's decision to come out. Bass described his relationship with Lehmkuhl as "very stable"; however, the couple split several months later. Shortly after his split with Lehmkuhl, Bass briefly dated Brazilian model and LXTV host Pedro Andrade. From August 2007 to March 2008, Bass dated New York-based hairdresser Ben Thigpen. In a 2006 interview, Bass stated that he has Attention-Deficit Disorder. Bass's favorite music bands are Aerosmith, The Goo Goo Dolls, and Journey, and his favorite actress is Lucille Ball, whom he grew up watching on I Love Lucy re-runs. He is a self-described "huge Dr. Seuss fan", devoting an entire room in his Jackson, Mississippi, estate to Seuss memorabilia. Bass has said that he is a Christian and that he regularly attends church, though he considers himself to be non-denominational. He is the godfather of former bandmate Joey Fatone's daughter, Briahna. Bass and Fatone are best friends.
Bass came out as gay in a cover story for People magazine on July 26, 2006. There had been considerable media speculation about his orientation due to numerous paparazzi snapshots of him at gay bars and nightclubs, most notably during the preceding Independence Day weekend in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton had also been posting items on his website about Bass's orientation since September 2005, and New York gossip column Page Six ran a blurb on July 12, 2006, that reported a sighting of Bass at a gay bar with his then-boyfriend, Reichen Lehmkuhl. Bass's publicist, Ken Sunshine, chose to release the story exclusively to People magazine, who bumped actor Johnny Depp off of that week's cover in favor of Bass. In his coming out interview, Bass stated,
“The thing is, I’m not ashamed – that’s the one thing I want to say. 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.”Bass's announcement received a large amount of media attention. The American public's reaction was generally positive, with Bass receiving "overwhelming support" from many teenagers and young adults who grew up listening to 'N Sync. However, Bass received criticism from the LGBT community when he referred to himself and his friends as "straight acting" in his People interview, stating, "I call them the SAGs — the straight-acting gays. We're just normal, typical guys. I love to watch football and drink beer." This comment angered some members of the LGBT community, who believed that Bass not only implied that effeminate gay men were not 'normal', but further enforced unneeded stereotypes. In a 2007 interview with The Advocate, Bass called his comment a "mistake" and noted that he was unaware of the negative implications surrounding the term. Bass stated, "Every community is hard to please. Our community is very fickle. It’s a touchy community because it’s the last civil rights movement we have left here in America. So when someone new like myself comes along and says off-the-mark things, yeah, I can see how people would get pissed.”
Bass found himself in the midst of further controversy later that year when he, along with then-boyfriend Reichen Lehmkuhl, was awarded the 2006 Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award on October 7, 2006. The Washington Blade printed a guest editorial from a long-time HRC supporter who claimed that neither recipient had done enough to deserve the award and that The Human Rights Campaign was simply capitalizing on Bass's fame to sell tickets. The Human Rights Campaign stood by Bass and defended his award, responding to critics by saying, "Bass is the biggest music star since Melissa Etheridge to come out, and maybe some people think HRC should just ignore these moments of cultural significance, but his declaration did initiate a positive, national conversation that continues today."
Out of Sync by Lance Bass and Marc Eliot
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (June 3, 2008)
Amazon: Out of Sync
Amazon Kindle: Out of Sync
At sixteen, Lance Bass received a phone call from Justin Timberlake that would change his life forever. Soon after, he left his small-town home in Clinton, Mississippi, to join an emerging musical group called *NSYNC. Two years later *NSYNC was inspiring Beatles-esque mania around the world, becoming the face of the new MTV generation, and earning the all-time record for most album sales in a single day (more than one million) and in a single week for No Strings Attached.
He's remained in the spotlight ever since, and here he talks in depth for the first time about his childhood, his astonishing experiences as a young man and Christian growing up in one of the biggest bands in the world, his shock and frustration at the band's eventual dissolution, and his subsequent career, including his four months in Russia, training to become a cosmonaut.
He also frankly discusses life as a gay man -- his first same-sex relationship at twenty-one, his struggle to keep his sexuality hidden from *NSYNC's fans in case it jeopardized the band's success, and the true circumstances that led to his decision to publicly come out at the age of twenty-seven.
More Spotlights at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Lists/Gay Novels
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