Backstreet Boys’ success wasn’t always a foregone conclusion. The iconic boy band stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday and revealed that Ryan Gosling didn’t always believe the band would work out.
“Long story short, we used to live in the same apartment complex when he was doing The Mickey Mouse Club. Him, Justin [Timberlake], Christina [Aguilera], Britney [Spears], all of them,” AJ McLean said. “We were playing basketball almost every other day. The group had started. I kept telling him how big this was gonna be. And he’s like, ‘Dude. New Kids [on the Block] already did it. This is never gonna work. Just shoot the ball.'”
“Cut to he was wrong and it did work,” McLean quipped.
“It worked out for him too,” Nick Carter added.
The boy band — which also includes Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough — also appeared on Tuesday’s episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen and dispelled rumors that Gosling was in talks to join the band.
“He was never gonna audition,” McLean said.
During their late-night rounds, the guys also opened up about their so-called rivalry with *NSYNC, a fellow boy band that came up at the same time as BSB.
“I gotta be honest. I know you’re friends with Justin. It’s worse than it’s ever been before. We can’t even be in the same room with these guys,” Carter jokingly told Fallon, Timberlake’s pal, on The Tonight Show. He then assured fans, “No, I’m totally playing.”
“We love them. They’re great guys,” he said. “The only time I can really remember that there was a rivalry, maybe like late ’90s early 2000s.”
Amid that time period, Carter said, Backstreet Boys had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem or perform during the halftime show at the Super Bowl. After BSB opted for the anthem, *NSYNC locked down the halftime performance.
“I look back at it and it’s kinda one of those bucket list things,” Carter said. “You kinda regret it a little bit. Maybe wish we could still do a Super Bowl halftime.”
As for why they didn’t jump on the halftime opportunity, Richardson said he just “didn’t want to stress out.”
“I wanted to do the anthem, watch the game and have that be it,” he said.
Those rivalry rumors, Richardson added, never had “any truth,” though. “Those were guys following their dreams. We were following our dreams,” he said.
Back on WWHL, Carter even floated the idea that the boy bands could team up in the future.
“After we’re done with our world tour maybe we could do a tour with Backstreet and the four of them,” he said of NSYNC members Joey Fatone, JC Chasez, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick, excluding Justin Timberlake, who many assume wouldn’t participate in a reunion tour.
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