Lance Bass Is Gay -- So, Now What?

ByABC News
July 27, 2006, 3:53 PM

July 27, 2006 — -- After weeks of rumors and speculation in the press, prompted by his visit to a gay bar over the Fourth of July weekend, Lance Bass finally set the record straight -- he revealed to People magazine that he is, in fact, gay.

Speaking out publicly about his sexual orientation for the first time, the former *NSYNC pop star explained the timing behind his decision to open up. "The main reason I wanted to speak my mind was that [the rumors] really were starting to affect my daily life. Now it feels like it's on my own terms.

"I'm at peace with my family, my friends, myself and God so there's really nothing else that I worry about," Bass told the magazine.

So now what?

Bass certainly isn't the first person in Hollywood to open up about his sexuality. He follows in the footsteps of some of the most iconic gay celebrities: George Michael, Melissa Etheridge and Nathan Lane, to name a few.

"Look at Ellen DeGeneres. She developed some of her greatest popularity after coming out," said Ken Baker, US Weekly's West Coast executive editor, adding that Rosie O'Donnell is another great example of a celebrity whose fame continued to skyrocket after she revealed she was gay.

And what about any impact this may have on Bass' career?

"If someone's talented, they'll find success. They just may find a different audience," Baker explained.

Bruce Steele, editor in chief of the Advocate, a national gay and lesbian newsmagazine, agreed.

"When established performers come out, it doesn't really affect their careers one way or another," Steele said. He said that in the entertainment industry, careers are often affected by the projects people choose more than anything else.

Aside from his thwarted plan to travel to space in 2002, Bass largely disappeared after *NSYNC's 2000 blockbuster album, "No Strings Attached." Unlike bandmate Justin Timberlake, he wasn't able to parlay boy-band stardom into a solo recording career.

While another *NSYNC member, Joey Fatone, performed on Broadway and landed supporting parts in movies like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "The Cooler," Bass virtually disappeared.