Backstreet Boy AJ McLean Wants to Be Called a Different Name – Find Out What It Is

The singer, who is currently on tour with *NSYNC's Joey Fatone, says the decision came after a "little self journey"

AJ McLean
AJ McLean

AJ McLean is starting a new chapter.

The Backstreet Boys singer, 46, has made the decision to step away from his “persona” as “one-fifth of the Backstreet Boys” and lean into his full name of “Alexander James.”

While appearing on an episode of fellow boybander Lance Bass’ podcast Frosted Tips with Lance Bass, Bass kicked off their conversation — which also featured actor Brian Austin Green — by sharing, “I hear you want to start going by Alex more than AJ.”

“AJ, I’ve now kind of learned is a persona, is a character if you will,” McLean explained before calling himself “one-fifth of the Backstreet Boys.”

Related: AJ McLean Celebrates Daughter Elliott's Elementary School Graduation: 'Tears of Joy'

<p>Tim Roney/Getty Images</p> The Backstreet Boys, Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough and Kevin Richardson in 1995

Tim Roney/Getty Images

The Backstreet Boys, Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough and Kevin Richardson in 1995

He went on to say that last summer he spent 10 weeks at an intensive outpatient program called The Meadows for “this little self journey.”

“Not so much for my sobriety,” McLean, who has been open about his addiction and sobriety in the past, shared. “But really to kind of get to the roots and clean out the pipes and, you know, deal with some past traumas and whatnot.”

He said during the experience he “learned two very key words”: “boundaries” and “authenticity.”

Related: Meet the Real-Life Loves of the Backstreet Boys

Though he’s yet to meet her, McLean credited author Brené Brown for “inspiring the sh–- out of me” and said he has her mantra, “braving,” tattooed on his arm.

“Which stands for boundaries, reliability, accountability, fault, integrity, non-judgment and gratitude,” he explained. “So Alexander James is me being my true, authentic self.”

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<p>Jeremychanphotography/Getty</p> AJ McLean and Joey Fatone on tour


AJ McLean and Joey Fatone on tour

Last year, McLean shared that his daughter had changed her name from Ava to Elliott.

"When my daughter asked to change her name to Elliott, initially, I didn't know if it was a transgender thing, which it is not, but it is a personal choice," McLean told PEOPLE at the time. "And it is her body, it's her name, it's her everything. And she's still Ava. She'll always be Ava to me."

"But at the same time, whatever reasoning it is, that's hers, and I'm going to support it a million percent, my wife will [too]," he added of the now 10-year-old.

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McLean is currently on a co-headlining tour with former *NSYNCer Joey Fatone. When announcing the tour, Fatone said the show would take fans “on a journey through the magic of *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and everything-in-between.”

"I’ve known AJ as long as I’ve known my own band members. We’ve worked together in the past on one-off projects here and there but never had the opportunity to create something together,” Fatone said elsewhere in the press release. “This tour gives us the chance to combine the best of both musical worlds.”

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