A.J. McLean needs a little more time to deal with his depression and alcohol problems.
The dark-haired, sideburn-sporting Backstreet Boy entered a rehabilitation center for 30 days of treatment in July. He has now decided to remain at the undisclosed location for two more weeks, causing schedulers to shuffle 10 of the group's concerts, which had been expected to resume Aug. 7.
"A.J.'s initial treatment is going very well," said group member Kevin Richardson in a statement on the group's Web site. "His doctors have suggested it would be in A.J.'s best interest to take an additional two weeks in transitional care."
All five members of the boy band are now expected to resume their Black & Blue tour Aug. 24 in Milwaukee. The statement thanks fans for their support and promise their delayed tour dates will be worth the wait.
"We've spent some time with A.J. recently," said Brian Littrell. "He, along with the rest of us, is excited to return to our tour on Aug. 24."
Coping With Pressures of Success
The singing heartthrobs, known for their choreographed videos and romantic ballads, decided not to hide McLean's problem from the young fans who snap up their recordings.
The singers broke the news on MTV's Total Request Live, the video countdown show where they typically introduce new songs and have earned devoted admirers. A statement on the band's Web site explained McLean's condition was partly generated by the loss of his grandmother, and he has experienced anxiety attacks and consumed an excessive amount of alcohol.
The Backstreet Boys have been scoring hits since the late 1990s, when they began to find an audience well beyond their Florida origins. Their current album, Black & Blue, has sold 8 million copies since its release in November.
McLean was the first to sign on for the group, says producer Lou Pearlman, who helped the five entertainers become known as the Backstreet Boys.
"He's the original guy who started with the group," Pearlman told ABC Radio. He no longer works with the band but maintains a friendship with his former musical protégés.
"[McLean's] just a great guy, he's a loving guy, very caring person," said Pearlman. "I think that finally he decided to do what he felt he needed to do and that's great. I admire him and I think that that's fantastic that he's finally taking care of a situation he felt he needed to deal with."