AJ McLean is celebrating one year of sobriety.
The former Backstreet Boys member, 42, has been open about his battle with substance abuse in the past, and has said he feels “much better” in himself after spending the past 12 months completely sober.
Speaking on his ‘Pretty Messed Up’ podcast earlier this week, he said: “I’m gonna be one year sober tomorrow, which is insane. As long as I’m keeping my side of the street clean, I can’t worry about keeping your side of the street clean. And everything actually worked itself out. I feel much better.”
AJ then took a moment to praise his friend René Elizondo Jr. for helping him through his addiction battle, especially as he hid it from his wife Rochelle.
He added: “I was hiding it from my wife, or at least trying to, my bandmates and everybody else. But there was a certain comfort level with René, where he didn’t have to pull it out of me like everyone else did.
“I thought the boys were gonna be disappointed, or I thought my wife was gonna leave me. I could be completely vulnerable with René … I felt safe, I felt not judged. Not saying I felt judged by my wife, because she doesn’t judge me at all. But I always had this inkling of fear … like, ‘Oh, my God. She’s going to leave me.’”
The ‘I Want It That Way’ singer has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction since he was 22, and has been to rehab multiple times.
And in October, AJ confessed his “turning point” came after a crucial moment with his family last year, after his daughters - Ava, eight, and Lyric, three - were able to smell alcohol on his breath following a trip to Las Vegas.
He explained at the time: “So literally 10 months ago, I went to go see my girl Shania Twain in Vegas. Before I even got on the plane, I had already mapped out the whole night. I knew where I was going to go get my drugs. I knew where I was going to go get drunk.
“I knew all of it and I figured, 'Okay, it's one night. As long as I don't go past a certain time and I don't smell like it, I can go have a nice last hurrah and then come back home. My wife won't know; everything's going to be great.’
“It never, ever works out that way. I never slept. I missed my first two flights back home and reeked of alcohol when I got home. My wife and I had always had this agreement, which was, if I smelled like alcohol, I wasn't allowed to play with my kids - I couldn't be around my kids.
“But what really hit me was the moment, my youngest daughter Lyric said to me that night, 'You don't smell like my daddy.' And when she said that to me, that was it. Enough said. I felt disgusting.”