Bye, bye, bye, bland cereal! It’s been years since Joey Fatone’s dirrrty pop days, but the singer-turned-TV personality will forever have countless, titillating memories from his boy band past. The My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 actor recently opened up to Us Weekly about everything *N Sync — from the group’s tour bus rider and who’s the biggest flirt, to whether another reunion is in the works.
Fatone, 38, and his bandmates — Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, and Chris Kirkpatrick — catapulted into the music scene with their debut single “I Want You Back” in 1997. They sold out shows, dropped mega albums and such smash singles like “Bye, Bye, Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me,” and were swarmed by bawling fans — all while touring across the world.
“Back in the day it was really hard to all go out together at the same time,” Fatone tells Us. “Before the show sometimes we had time to go to a mall — [we] just wanted to be kids.” Unfortunately, the “chaos” forced the singers to weave in and out of stores separately. “I’m kind of glad it’s not that level anymore because before I couldn’t go anywhere,” he adds. “I want to be normal like everybody else.”
The band’s outings were nuts, but their tour bus rider was pretty tame. “It was funny because it was junk food. Grilled cheese, mac ‘n’ cheese, chicken fingers — we never ordered anything really specific,” Fatone says, laughing. “We were young, and our metabolisms were crazy, so we could kind of eat whatever the hell we wanted to at the time.”
That’s why the group never ate Shredded Wheat, which somehow always seemed to appear on their bus. “We were like, ‘Why is this here? Why? Who?’ And finally we found out it was our road manager that had Shredded Wheat,” he says. “It was hilarious.”
*N Sync eventually disbanded in 2002, but the group members have stayed close. They most recently performed together for Timberlake’s Video Vanguard Award medley at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. Fatone says that he’s tried to make plans to meet Timberlake’s 6-month-old son, Silas, but their hectic schedules are getting in the way. (Us broke the news that Timberlake and wife Jessica Biel welcomed their baby boy this past April.)
“When he first told me that Jessica was pregnant, I said, ‘Hey, just enjoy it because it’s going to go by real quick,'” he recalls. “‘Your kids grow up very, very quickly.’” (Fatone and his wife, Kelly Baldwin, are parents to daughter Briahna, 14, and Khloey, 5. Using his fame for good, the star recently teamed with Colgate Total and the American Diabetes Association for “30 Days of LOL” campaign to raise awareness of the link between oral health and diabetes.)
Find out what else Fatone told Us about *N Sync and his bandmates in the latest installment of our Now and Then series:
US WEEKLY: What’s your favorite and least favorite *N Sync song?
JOEY FATONE: “I Thought She Knew” (from 2000’s No Strings Attached) was my favorite song. It was our first styled a cappella song we ever did together. And “Riddle” is a song that came out on the European album (*N Sync/1998), which was dancing music. It was just horrible!
US: What was the most difficult music video to film?
JF: The most grueling video was “It’s Gonna Be Me” (2000) because of the makeup we were in….I had facial hair so they put a foam beard and hair [on me]. Not even joking, we were in it literally for 24 hours. We started at 7 a.m. and didn’t get done until 7 a.m. the next morning.
US: Do you have a favorite music video?
JF: “Bye, Bye, Bye” (2000) was fun. That was a good one.
US: Who was the biggest flirt?
JF: I would kind of say me I think. And JC was a bit of a flirt, but he was more stealth about it. He was very stealthy about when he would hang out and be flirtatious with somebody.
US: Who was the biggest troublemaker?
JF: Chris was a troublemaker.
US: Do you ever cringe hearing the Home for Christmas record from 1998 during the holidays?
JF: My wife listens to it, we listen to it. My parents listen to it! I mean I listen to it during the holidays. It happens, it’s a good album, it really is. You can’t get away from it.
US: Can fans expect another reunion any time soon?
JF: I would never say never. It’s never been approached….Everybody’s doing their own thing, so it’s a little difficult to try get all five guys to agree on [something].
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