Following the unexpected news Tuesday that One Direction‘s Louis Tomlinson will be a new father, we look back at the past 15 years of boy bands breaking their cookie cutter images — for better or worse.
These controversies range from the now innocuous news *NSYNC‘s Lance Bass is gay to more lighthearted fare like Japanese pop star Tsuyoshi Kusanagi of SMAP‘s drunken nudity to serious claims of molestation that have surrounded several former managers in the biz.
At the very least, it all puts Louis’ baby in perspective.
March 2015 – Zayn Malik leaves One Direction one week after he made headlines for exiting the band’s current tour due to “stress,” while the group continues on as a four piece. “I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart,” Malik says. Online pandemonium erupts from disappointed fans and even his former bandmates.
September 2014 – 5 Seconds of Summer has its first major scandal when 18-year-old bass player Calum Hood sends a video of his penis to a fan via social media app Snapchat, which was then leaked online. Hood took it all in stride, though, tweeting, “Least ya know what it looks like now… I’m still just a teenage kid learning from mistakes :)”
Least ya know what it looks like now
— Calum Hood (@Calum5SOS) August 29, 2014
I’m still just a teenage kid learning from mistakes 🙂
— Calum Hood (@Calum5SOS) August 29, 2014
June 2014 – One Direction gets some unintended attention as video surfaces showing Louis Tomlinson smoking marijuana with then-bandmate Zayn Malik. That’s followed the band since, as the Philippines imposed “weed bonds” worth nearly $5,000 each before the group performed in the country earlier this year.
January 2011 – Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block is “outed” by former teen pop singer Tiffany, whom he had dated in the early 1990s. Knight responded by confirming the news, saying, “I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay.”
April 2009 – Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, a member of hugely popular Japanese boy band SMAP, is arrested for public indecency after being found drunk and naked at a Tokyo park. When police tried to arrest him, he responded, “What’s wrong with being naked?” In Japan, public indecency carries a penalty of up to six months in prison or a fine of up to 300,000 yen, though Kusanagi was given no jail time.
December 2007 – Former B2K member Raz-B makes very public allegations against the band’s former manager Chris Stokes, saying he molested group members and made them perform sexual acts on one another while he was in the room. Stokes and other members of the band have denied Raz-B’s claims.
July 2006 – Lance Bass of *NSYNC reveals that he is gay in a People magazine cover story. This announcement followed considerable media speculation about his sexual orientation due to paparazzi photos of him at gay bars and nightclubs.
July 2001 – Backstreet Boys member A. J. McLean enters rehab to battle alcoholism and depression after bandmate Kevin Richardson led an intervention for him in a Boston hotel. The rest of the band, without McLean, announced the news publicly to fans on MTV’s TRL. McLean was in and out of rehab over the next decade.
July 1998 – Backstreet Boys members bring a lawsuit against manager and producer Lou Pearlman and his Trans Continental record label claiming illicit business practices that defrauded the group of its rightful earnings. The following year, *NSYNC entered a similar legal battle with Pearlman. Nearly all the artists Pearlman has worked with have sued him since. Pearlman was arrested in 2007 for perpetrating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of more than $300 million and allegations arose that he had acted inappropriately with some young male musicians, molesting them or seeking to exchange sex for help with their careers.
November 1990 – Two 18- and 16-year-old members of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo are arrested at Miami International Airport for carrying small amounts of marijuana. The following year, former band members publicly accused the group’s creator Edgardo Díaz was publicly of sexual abuse.