'I wanted to punch AJ's lights out': Chris Kirkpatrick reveals NSYNC and Backstreet Boys feud started after McLean started dating his ex-girlfriend

  • Chris, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, and Lance Bass reflected on the band's beginnings in honor of their debut album's 20th anniversary 
  • Chris, now 46, said AJ, 40, was 'talking smack' about him after he began dating Chris' ex
  • 'I confronted him on it and wanted to kick his a**,' he said, but they resolved it
  • The band also credits BSB for helping them find success and insisted most of the 'competition' aspect came from BSB, not NSYNC
  • Lance also revealed that all five NSYNC members are on a group text chain and talk almost daily 

The members of millennium megabands NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys have long insisted that there was never any bad blood between them — but one NSYNCer recently revealed that there was, in fact, a bid of a feud.

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of NSYNC's self-titled debut album, which was released in the US on March 24, 1998. In honor of occasion, Billboard sat down with four of the five band members to talk about NSYNC's early days.

While Justin Timberlake did not participate, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, and Chris Kirkpatrick all reminisced about recording the album, shooting to fame, and having a complicated relationship with rival boy band BSB.

Boy band drama: NSYNC star Chris Kirkpatrick has revealed that he once wanted to 'punch [Backstreet Boys star] AJ's lights out'

Boy band drama: NSYNC star Chris Kirkpatrick has revealed that he once wanted to 'punch [Backstreet Boys star] AJ's lights out'

Back story: Chris said that he broke up with a girl who began to date AJ (far left), and AJ 'talked smack' about Chris to her 

Back story: Chris said that he broke up with a girl who began to date AJ (far left), and AJ 'talked smack' about Chris to her 

The Backstreet Boys and NSYNC both rose to fame around the same time in the late '90s and followed similar trajectories, but the Backstreet Boys were technically on the scene first.

Their first single, We've Got It Goin' On, was released in August of 1995 in the US, while NSYNC's first single I Want You Back was released in January of 1998. 

'It created a friendly competition. There’s nothing wrong with friendly competition — even though we are, of course, better than any of those boy bands. Maybe not right now, a little rusty,' Joey joked.

Chris, meanwhile, insisted that the 'competition' aspect wasn't projected from their end — it was all BSB's doing. 

'To us, there wasn't a competition. We just thought we needed to be the best. To them, there was, because they came out and we came out, and they're like, "Man, we have to be better than them!"

See right through you: Chris said they later became friends after Chris said they should get a beer together (pictured in 2017)

See right through you: Chris said they later became friends after Chris said they should get a beer together (pictured in 2017)

Here we go: Chris also said that any 'competition' between the boy bands was perpetuated by the Backstreet Boys, not NSYNC

Here we go: Chris also said that any 'competition' between the boy bands was perpetuated by the Backstreet Boys, not NSYNC

The game is over: The NSYNC singers also credited BSB for helping to pave the way for them

The game is over: The NSYNC singers also credited BSB for helping to pave the way for them

The only place where that rivalry became less than friendly was between Chris of NSYNC and AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys — and it was all over a girl.

'Did anyone have any beef?' Joe said. 'AJ and Chris did, because they were dating the same girl, she broke up with one — I think AJ — and dated Chris. They didn't like each other for a little while.'

'I wanted to punch AJ's lights out for a little while,' Chris agreed. 'I was dating a girl, I broke up with her and he started dating her. And I guess he was talking smack to her about me, so I confronted him on it and wanted to kick his a**. 

'I don't know how it got resolved — I saw him out one night and said I wanted to kill him, but I said "Let's get a beer."

'I think boy band fights are in the same realm as hockey fights,' he went on. 'You fight when you're on TV, but then when you're not, you get a beer together. Now we're really good friends.'

It's gonna me me! JC Chasez also said that he and Justin had no competition when it came to singing lead on a track (pictured 1997)

It's gonna me me! JC Chasez also said that he and Justin had no competition when it came to singing lead on a track (pictured 1997)

Pop: Lance Bass revealed that all five members are on a group text chain and talk almost daily

Pop: Lance Bass revealed that all five members are on a group text chain and talk almost daily

In fact, the men from NSYNC also credit the Backstreet Boys for some of their success, saying the other band paved the way for them. BSB had drummed up excitement, but couldn't possibly keep up with everyone who wanted them — which meant opportunities for NSYNC. 

In the '90s, the Backstreet Boys had to drop out of doing the Disney Channel concert series called In Concert, so NSYNC filled in instead. According to Joey, the concert 'catapulted' their careers.

And JC insisted there was no competition among NSYNC's own members, either. Though some fans have speculated that he and Justin, the two lead singers, might have had some issues, JC said that this wasn't the case at all. He said they instead took on more of an 'us against the world' mentality. 

Joey agreed, saying there was never any 'animosity' or bickering about who sang lead on a song.

They're still close to this day, and Lance revealed they all talk almost every day in a group text chain.

Music of my heart: The band will reunite on April 30 to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 

Music of my heart: The band will reunite on April 30 to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 

'We pretty much talk daily, all five of us,' he said. 'We have a group text that we always do stupid things on.' 

They will also all get together — including Justin — at the end of April to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and plan to celebrate with a party afterward.

'We actually get together a lot more than people know. Birthdays, weddings, all that stuff,' said Chris. 'We've been together a bunch of times for different things. We just don't publicize it like we do for this, because this is an award for the group that's really cool.

The band also discussed recording the first album and what they thought of some of the tracks, with Lance admitting that the song Here We Go is 'the band of my existence.'

He admitted the song 'still haunts' him because it's so 'cheesy,' and he thinks of it every time is taking off in an airplane.

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Chris Kirkpatrick reveals NSYNC and Backstreet Boys feud

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