New Kids on the Block’s Jonathan Knight told ‘your career’s over’ if he came out as gay: ‘It was just so much pressure’
New Kids on the Block singer Jonathan Knight has recalled how he was told not to come out as gay as it would destroy his career.
The popstar, 54, shot to fame in the 1980s as one-fifth of the popular boy band alongside bandmates Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre, and his own brother Jordan Knight.
However, it was a time when musicians were being branded as heartthrobs to a heterosexual female audience and some industry bigwigs had the attitude that a famous male singer being gay would damage the brand.
Jonathan didn’t get the chance to reveal the truth about his sexuality in his own time as he was outed by a US-based magazine in 2009.
He now recalls how a former manager of NKOTB warned him not to come out for fear his career would be ruined.
Speaking on the podcast Frosted Tips with Lance Bass, Jonathan revealed: ‘He pulled me aside and was like, “If anybody finds out, your career is over. The New Kids’ career is over. My career’s over. Sony’s going to, like, lose money”.
‘It was just so much pressure. Looking back, that’s a lot of pressure to put on somebody who is just trying to figure out the world themselves.’
Jonathan quit NKOTB in 1994 and explained that the main reason was that he was ‘frustrated’ with being forced to conceal his sexuality ‘being a young gay kid’, and simply wanted to be able to ‘get on’ with his life.
The rest of NKOTB eventually split but reunited in 2008 and have been going strong ever since.
Jonathan recalled: ‘Even when we got back together I still wasn’t out publicly…’
‘Even the way people come out now has changed. People will be doing an award show and just be like ‘I’d like to thank my husband blah blah blah…’ and nobody flinches,’ he added.
The singer is now happily settled down with husband Harley Rodriguez, who he married during the pandemic after 13 years together.
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