It simply comes with the territory: For every boy band, one of the members, eventually, is going to come bursting out of the closet. 'N Sync's Lance Bass, Boyzone's Stephen Gately, Westlife's Mark Feehily, Menudo's Ricky Martin and Wham!'s George Michael, for god's sake.
Over the weekend, Jonathan Knight revealed openly that he's the bulls-eye for '80's primo boy band New Kids On the Block, taking to the web after fellow popster Tiffany commented off-hand on Bravo's "Watch What Happens," appearing with Deb Gibson, that he's queer. Dreamy host Andy Cohen asked her if she'd ever made out with any NKOTB: "The quiet one, the shy one. [Jonathan Knight] became gay later. I didn't do it. I was thinking maybe I did. Now looking back when we were dating, he was so much fun. We used to do facials together. He was so easy to talk to."
Knight, in response, took the high road, commenting on the NKOTB webbie that he's been out for two decades. According to Towleroad, "I have never been outed by anyone but myself! I have lived my life openly and never hidden the fact that I am gay! Apparently the prerequisite to being a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption 'I am gay.' I apologize for not doing so if this is what was expected! My belief is that you live your life by example and not by a caption on a magazine! If there ever has been any confusion about my sexuality, then you are someone that doesn't know me!"
That's a lot of exclamation marks, eh? Knight added, "I love living my life being open and honest, but at this time I choose not to discuss my private life any further!"
He went on to send a message to Tiff on Twitter, "Please don't lose any sleep over it! I know you weren't being mean and I found it to be funny!" and then told the world to "stop talking trash" about Tiffany for the gaffe.
Sure enough, with a little research, it's obvious that Knight hasn't been afraid to walk the line. In a 2006 interview, he congratulated Lance Bass for coming out, noting that he wished the 'N Syncer didn't have to suppress his sexuality during the glory days. He told the New York Daily News, "I'm looking forward to a boy band that comes out and right off the box they say one of them is gay. I think that would be the best thing. They'll get all the girls and all the gay guys, know what I mean? It'll be perfect!"
Well done! "Step By Step," this is the way to ease the world into knowing that we all know—or admire—someone gay.