All eyes were on the five members of *NSYNC on Monday, as the popular boy band received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But it was Lance Bass' speech at the ceremony that hit home the most.
Bass revealed he was gay in a People magazine cover story in 2006, several years after *NSYNC's last official appearance as a group. (They would reunite in 2013 for Justin Timberlake's Video Vanguard performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.) During Bass' Walk of Fame speech, the 38-year-old singer opened up about why he didn't come out while *NSYNC was at its peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
"I want to thank these four guys right here: Joey, JC, Chris, Justin. We’re brothers. We’re family," he said at the top of his speech, pointing to the four guys behind him onstage. "Out of all this, the music, the tours, the love from the fans, it’s my brotherhood I’m most thankful for. I was a kid when we came together and I’m a man today because of the family I have and you. I love you guys."
"The other thing I want to say here today is something I’ve been trying to put into words maybe my whole life. Growing up in Mississippi and in a Southern Baptist church, in a town where everyone knows your business, I had a secret: I was gay," Bass continued, prompting Joey Fatone to adorably feign shock. "Yes guys, I’m gay! I am! And at the time, I thought that I would never be able to tell anyone because not only was I terrified of the lasting rejection -- I was certain that that would happen -- but more than that I didn’t want to jeopardize the careers of these guys up here, much less the hundreds of amazing people who worked tirelessly to bring *NSYNC to the world."
"I thought if I had come out, *NSYNC would be over. So I kept my secret. And our wildest dreams were coming true and we were so incredibly thankful -- and I still am. But so many nights onstage, I’d see so many young, gay fans singing their hearts out and I wanted so badly to let you know, I was you. I just didn’t have the strength then," he said. "But I do today and so let me say loud and proud to all my LGBT brothers and sisters, who embrace me and show me the way to be who I am, thank you so much."
Bass went on to express why this moment is especially significant for him personally.
"A star on this boulevard is more than just an honor, it’s a lasting reminder of all the artists from all the colors of the rainbow that your voice matters. And I am truly humbled and honored to be a part of that legacy is some small way," he said, going on to give shout-outs to his family and loved ones, many of whom were present. "Thank you Mom, Dad, everyone, my gorgeous husband, Michael [Turchin], my in-laws, thank you so much for being here. I love you guys!"
Following the ceremony, Bass posted a selfie with bandmates Timberlake, Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and J.C. Chasez, who all took turns at the mic, along with special speakers Ellen DeGeneres and Carson Daly.
"Well that was fun!!!! This was the calm before the storm. Thank you to my four brothers for this amazing gift. Also, @theellenshow and @carsondaly for your beautiful speeches! And the fans! Holy! Seeing all your faces has made me so happy. Love to all!" he tweeted.
After the ceremony, Bass opened up to ET’s Keltie Knight about his speech. “It’s a lot of words that I have been wanting to say my entire career and this was the perfect platform to say it in," he said. "It came from the heart.”
The Walk of Fame ceremony was just another day in an eventful weekend for *NSYNC fans. Over the weekend, Bass helped kick off the opening of the band's exclusive L.A. pop-up, The Dirty Pop-Up, at Hollywood & Highland and Fatone, with his family in tow, also paid a visit. A few members of *NSYNC were also present at Timberlake's Man of the Woods concerts at The Forum in Inglewood, California, as they counted down to their big day.
"For the record, when we found out about the star, we hadn't been creating new products or anything like that. But when we thought about it... we decided, 'We're going to do some fresh stuff for them,'" Chasez recalled. "Over the next few years, we'll give them a few more things. But, literally, we are now making new stuff everyday."
"We'll still give them a little bit here and little bit there, but there aren't any plans for music," he shared. "There are no talks about a reunion tour now. You get cool merch for now, and then the future is what it is." Watch the video below.