Lance Bass on Britney, those skeevy Lou Pearlman allegations and why he said bye, bye, bye to the closet

The Dallas Voice

Monday October 29, 2007

"I honestly didn't think people would care about my sexual orientation," Lance Bass says during a recent phone interview. "Obviously, I was mistaken."

On that fateful 2006 Fourth of July weekend, Bass and his then-boyfriend, Reichen Lehmkuhl, went club hopping in Provincetown, Mass. When they wound up at A-House, patrons recognized the former *NSYNCer, and the next morning, their visit was plastered across the "Page Six" of the New York Post.

"It would've come out anyway," Bass sighs. "There was a lot of talk around already before I even went to P-town. I'd heard all the rumors, and by that point, I just didn't care."

The firestorm of publicity surrounding his coming out and the pressures of being a closeted superstar are discussed in Bass' new memoir, "Out of Sync" (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, $23.95), which he wrote with the assistance of Marc Eliot.

"Writing's not my forte - I'm definitely a math and science guy," Bass explains, "I can't put sentences together on paper. I'm terrible at that."

This week, Bass took a break from his gig as Corny Collins in the Broadway production of "Hairspray." The author has embarked on a media blitz: On Sunday, Bass visits Borders Books in the West Village.

The last time Bass was in Big D was in 2000 - when *NSYNC's performed at Texas Stadium.

"I think it was 110 degrees out there, and that dome just captured the heat. Our bass player passed out right at the end of the show," he remembers.

Although clearly written for the "OMG!" crowd, "Out of Sync" showcases the unknown side of Bass. He details the rigorous training regimen he underwent in Russia for his ultimately abortive attempt to go into space.

"People thought it was a joke or a stunt - that if you want to go into space, you just pay $20 million, hop in a rocket, and off you go. In reality, it's a very, very hard process and I wanted to show people what astronauts and cosmonauts go through," he explains.

Readers hoping for dirt on the other *NSYNC boys will be disappointed: The memoirist remains a near-perfect gentleman. However, Bass does vent his frustration regarding Justin Timberlake, whose ambitions led to *NSYNC's dissolution.

"There was a lot of talk around already before I even went to P-town. I'd heard all the rumors, and by that point, I just didn't care."

He also anticipated that Timberlake would eventually dump Britney Spears.

"She showed no signs of the turmoil she would eventually encounter, maybe because she thought it was going to last forever. I knew it wouldn't," Bass writes. "Justin already had a great love in his life - his career."

In "Out of Sync," Bass doesn't shy away from discussing *NSYNC creator Lou Pearlman's financial predations. In 1999, the band managed to escape "the worst contract in music history" through a loophole.

Bass says he's read "Mad About the Boys" - Bryan Burrough's recent Vanity Fair expos? on Pearlman - which details allegations of pedophilia and the embezzlement of $300 million

"It doesn't surprise me at all. I never saw anything bad like that," Bass remembers. "We were just so busy doing our thing. But after we left, I'm pretty sure Lou had some good bragging rights [which he probably used] to bring in other bands and probably promised them the world like he did to us ..."

Bass already has projects lined up, once his "Hairspray" gig ends in January 2008.

"I really wasn't focused on music at all until this year. And now that I'm back in it, I'd forgotten how much I love it," he says.

Does that mean we should expect a solo career?

"I don't know," he says. "I never through of myself as a solo singer, because I was always the bass singer. But now that I've done Broadway, I'd love to get back in the studio."

Many closeted celebrities say they feared that coming out would destroy their careers. Bass says coming out was a relief.

"I expected it to be really nasty for a while - I didn't even know what my friends and family would think," he says. "But the media had fun with it instead of tearing me down. I was very impressed with how everyone handled it. This is the happiest I've ever been, mainly because I get to be myself."

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