*NSYNC Reunite For the First Time in 10 Years at the MTV VMAs
Image Source: Getty / Jeff Kravitz For MTV
*NSYNC are in the building. For the first time in 10 years, all five members of the band – Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick, and JC Chasez – reunited at the MTV VMAs in Newark, NJ, on Sept. 12. Nearly 16 years since they officially disbanded in 2007, *NSYNC surprised fans by presenting the first award of the night: best pop, which was awarded to Taylor Swift for “Anti-Hero.”
After being introduced by Nicki Minaj, the band walked out to the tune of “Bye Bye Bye.” Fans greeted the pop superstars with an uproar of cheers and applause, which later increased when Swift took the stage to accept her award. “I’m not doing well pivoting from this to this,” Swift said in her speech, referring to her win and the opportunity to meet the band.
As she accepted her award, Bass also stepped forward to gift Swift a set of friendship bracelets. “I had your dolls,” she said. “Are you doing something? What’s gonna happen now? They’re gonna do something, and I need to know what it is.” Swift added, “You guys are pop personified, so to receive this from your golden pop hands – it’s too much. Thank you for the friendship bracelets.”
Shortly before they stepped on stage, Timberlake shared a video of himself and his fellow *NSYNC members in the elevator gearing up for their presentation. “So five guys walk into an elevator . . . ,” he captioned the Twitter video.
For those who have been following the beloved boy band since the late ’90s and early 2000s, *NSYNC’s reunion comes as a long-awaited surprise. Though it’s been nearly two decades since their breakup, the fan base hasn’t wavered, keeping up with each band member’s solo projects musically and otherwise. Most notably, Timberlake has carved out a successful acting career for himself and raked in 10 Grammy Awards. Since their “Bye Bye Bye” days, the band members have also gotten married and started families.
From the release of their debut album, “‘N Sync,” in 1997 to “No Strings Attached” in 2000, *NSYNC have had an undeniable influence on pop culture and the modern zeitgeist. Ahead, we’ve provided a refresher on the boy band’s history, rise to fame, and breakup and a few details on their rumored tour in 2024.
How Did *NYSNC Start?
*NSYNC were first founded in 1995 with the help of notorious fraudster and talent manager Lou Pearlman. The band’s name was inspired by a comment Timberlake’s mother made about how “in sync” all of the band members’ voices were, per a 2001 interview on “Larry King Live.” In December 1997, the group released their debut American single, “I Want You Back,” which reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. *NSYNC continued to rise in popularity as they released singles like “Tearin’ Up My Heart” and “Bye Bye Bye,” as well as their first two studio albums, “N’ Sync” and “Home For Christmas.”
In 1999, *NSYNC entered a highly publicized legal battle with Pearlman, due to claims that the producer was dealing in illicit business practices, per USA Today. The band sued Pearlman for defrauding them of more than 50 percent of their earnings and threatened to leave his record company, Trans Continental. In response, Pearlman filed a $150 million suit to prevent the band from switching production companies and to stop them from performing under the name *NSYNC, per Rolling Stone. In December 1999, *NSYNC and Pearlman reached an undisclosed settlement out of court, allowing the band to continue releasing music under their new production company, Jive Records, according to MTV News.
Following the legal proceedings, *NSYNC released their third and fourth studio albums, “No Strings Attached” and “Celebrity,” respectively.
Why Did *NYSNC Break Up?
In 2002, the band promoted their fourth studio album with the “Celebrity” Tour. After the tour, the group took a hiatus to allow the members to rest and to give Timberlake time to work on his first solo album. Though the hiatus was meant to be temporary, *NSYNC have not toured or recorded together since.
“It started as a fun snowball fight that was becoming an avalanche,” Timberlake told The Hollywood Reporter of his decision to leave the band in 2017. “And, also, I was growing out of it. I felt like I cared more about the music than some of the other people in the group. And I felt like I had other music I wanted to make and that I needed to follow my heart.”
Timberlake’s fellow bandmates, however, were under the impression that the hiatus would be brief. It was only after the success of Timberlake’s “Justified” album and subsequent tour that the other band members expressed their frustration over the lack of communication about the band’s future.
“Me and the guys were never . . . on bad terms at all, it’s just life goes on and you have more interests; you have to focus on your career and it’s great,” Bass said in a 2020 interview on “Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum.” “The thing I was most disappointed in was not just Justin leaving the band, it’s that our whole team – our record label, our management, everything like that – they all knew. They all knew it was over for three years before they told me. And so for three years I’m sitting there getting ready for a new album as everyone else knows we’re moving on.” Bass went on to say that he turned down opportunities to act and expand his résumé under the impression that *NSYNC would be reuniting again soon.
In a 2019 interview on “The Jenny McCarthy Show,” Fatone echoed Bass’s sentiments. “I said, ‘Listen, I’m all good with everybody doing their own sh*t,” Fatone told McCarthy. “‘I’m totally fine with it, just let us know next time.’ Meaning: I could’ve done a lot more sh*t than sit around waiting for your dumb ass while you’re going out on tour.”
Following their unintentional breakup, the band made sporadic appearances together. Notable appearances include the 2003 Grammy Awards, where they performed a tribute medley to the Bee Gees; a one-off performance at the 2013 MTV VMAs; and a 2018 reunion to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2019, Fatone, Bass, Chasez, and Kirkpatrick also reunited to perform at Coachella with Ariana Grande.
What Are the Members of *NSYNC Doing Now?
*NSYNC last performed together at the 2013 MTV VMAs in celebration of Timberlake’s Video Vanguard Award. Since the release of their last album, “Celebrity,” in 2001, the band have also dropped three compilation albums; the most recent album, “The Essential *NSYNC,” made its debut in 2014. Following their disbandment, the members have found success in multiple pursuits.
Timberlake, the most decorated of the group, has won 10 Grammy Awards since beginning his solo career. He has also won seven American Music Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, and 11 MTV Video Music Awards. In addition to his musical successes, Timberlake, who is currently working on his sixth studio album, has made a name for himself in the acting world. Most notably, he’s starred in films such as “The Social Network” (2010), “Bad Teacher” (2011), “Friends With Benefits” (2011), and “Reptile” (2023), Grant Singer’s upcoming crime thriller. Timberlake and his wife, Jessica Biel, whom he married in 2012, also share two sons, Silas and Phineas.
Meanwhile, Bass has carved out his own acting career with films like “Zoolander” (2001), “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” (2007), and “Tropic Thunder” (2008). He also had a six-month run in the Broadway musical “Hairspray” and finished third on “Dancing With the Stars” season seven in 2008. In 2006, the singer also came out as gay and later married his husband, actor Michael Turchin, in 2014. The couple welcomed twins Violet and Alexander via surrogate in 2021.
Fatone has also been busy appearing on Broadway in musicals like “Rent” and “Little Shop of Horrors” and in films including “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” In addition to his work on stage and screen, Fatone has taken on several hosting gigs for shows like “The Singing Bee” and “Celebrity Circus” and as an announcer for Steve Harvey on “Family Feud.” Fatone also earned second place on season four of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2007, and he is father to daughters Briahna and Kloey, whom he shares with his ex-wife, Kelly Baldwin.
Since his *NSYNC days, Chasez has had a successful career as a producer and songwriter, writing songs for artists such as the Backstreet Boys. Chasez also judged seven seasons of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.” Though he makes a point of keeping his personal life private, it seems the producer is in a relationship with Jennifer HuYoung.
Kirkpatrick has also been busy appearing on shows like the reality show “Mission Man Band” and the CMT reality show “Gone Country.” Kirkpatrick and his longtime girlfriend, Karly Skladany, share one son named Nash.
Even with so much evidence pointing to a reunion, some fans still think the rumors are too good to be true. In a January 2021 interview with Radio Times, however, Timberlake said he would “never say never” to reuniting with his bandmates, leaving the door open for future collaborations.
Are *NSYNC Going on Tour?
Rumblings of a potential *NSYNC reunion tour have been circulating recently, prompting several fans to share their excitement on social media. “If NSYNC goes on a reunion tour, I will never shut up! NEVER!” one fan tweeted. Another fan on Twitter added, “So do we start making our Nsync friendship bracelets now or later?” The popularity of the band’s 2000 hit “It’s Gonna Be Me” and the subsequent memes have also inspired fans to manifest a May 2024 start date for the tour.
In August, posters featuring the band’s logo began popping up in New York City to promote “Trolls Band Together,” which is scheduled to make its debut on Nov. 17. A QR code on the posters linked to a website teasing what appears to be an upcoming *NSYNC song made specifically for the film. If the five trolls on the website are any indication, the song, titled “Take You to a Better Place,” will mark the first time the entire band have recorded a song together since 2001.
Though these rumors remain unsubstantiated, the band’s reunion at the MTV VMAs gives us hope that they have more exciting announcements up their sleeves.