Lance Bass famously kept his homosexuality hidden during his 'N Sync heyday in order to protect a particular image that the boyband had. And he believes that similar pressure might be on the boybands of today.
In an interview with The Rubin Report, host Dave Rubin said, "If you took one of these One Direction kids, because they basically are kids, my guess is one of them is gay."
"Statistically speaking, one probably is. It's crazy with a market like that, because 100 percent is young women, and they fantasize about these guys.
"Then you have the record label and everyone grooming you to make sure that you don't even mention you have a girlfriend. So screw the fact that you're gonna come out as being gay. It ruins their whole business plan."
In fact, the pressure was so intense, even Bass had a hard time figuring out who he really was:
"I even hid it from myself. I didn't have any relationships [with men]. As long as I was with 'N Sync, I was completely asexual."
Another issue—his relationship with fellow 'N Syncers Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick. Although each member was totally supportive when he finally did make the news public in 2006, at the time he was worried about their reactions and even worse—being the one who hurt their careers.
"I felt like I had four of my best friends' careers in my hands," he said. "It was a different time. . . I felt that if anyone found out that it would be the end of the group, everyone would completely make fun of us, and we would no longer make music anymore. . . which might have happened."
That fear was probably not unfounded considering boybands do seem to elicit the most extreme reactions from young women (their bread and butter fanbase) and Bass isn't a bad looking guy. Named one of People magazine's 50 Hot Guys from 50 States just last year, Lance has had his fair share of crazed female fans:
"These girls really do fantasize. It's a crazy thing. I had a girl a couple of months ago come up to me and she thought that we were in love and she was waiting for me this whole entire time. She thought the whole gay thing was a joke, basically, and that I was lying."
But Bass thinks times have changed and if, say, a member of 1D was in fact gay that he would have an easier time of it.
"Back then it was scary because I didn't want the gay community to be embarrassed by me coming out. I didn't want everyone to make it a joke and be like, 'Yeah, that boy band guy. Of course he's gay!'" he explained. "I was expecting the Lenos of the world to really just give it to me, but it was the first time I really heard people say, 'Who cares anymore?' That was a nice change for me."
And listen 1D, if one of you guys is struggling, take a cue from Jason Collins and let Lance Bass lend you his ear.