The singer says his manager told him, “anybody finds out, your career is over. The New Kids’ career is over. My career is over.”
Jonathan Knight may be happily married and openly able to live and love, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, he said he was told coming out as gay was not an option during his heyday.
The New Kids on the Block member opened up about being forced to keep his sexuality in the closet during his boy band days on the latest episode of “Frosted Tips with Lance Bass.”
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For Knight, It wasn’t a matter of coming to understand his sexuality later in life. In fact, he said that his manager knew he was gay long before the world did. But it was also his manager who told him not to say anything.
“He pulled me aside and was like, ‘If anybody finds out, your career is over. The New Kids’ career is over. My career is over,'” Knight said, per ET.
“That was a lot of pressure to put on somebody who’s just trying to figure out the world themselves,” he added, talking about how he could feel stress rising as time passed. That stress grew into anxiety until he felt like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
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And yet, when Knight was finally out as a gay man, it still wasn’t by his choice. “It was a boyfriend of mine who sold pictures of us to the ‘National Enquirer,'” the singer said of the 2009 story.
Had it been up to him, Knight still wouldn’t have said anything publicly, even after the pictures hit the tabloids and it became a big story across media. As far as he was concerned, he was already living his authentic life, so why the need to make a big deal about it.
Once again, he was encouraged by his team to make a statement, “and that whole process was horrible.”
Posting to the NKOTB official blog at the time, Knight wrote, “I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay … Apparently the prerequisite to being a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption ‘I am gay’. I apologize for not doing so if this is what was expected!”
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He shared now that he’s so grateful to see how much more accepting people have become about sexuality, noting how much simpler it is to come out nowadays. There’s no need for statements or big interviews about it anymore as most people just take the info and move on.
In August 2022, Knight confirmed to ET that he had longtime love Harley Rodriguez had quietly gotten hitched as the premiere for his HGTV series “Farmhous Fixer.” The couple first met in 2008 and got engaged in 2016.
When asked about the ring he was wearing on that finger, Knight said that they had officially gotten married, “but everybody just assumed we’re married, so, I never say yes or no ’cause I don’t wanna lie.”
Aside from fixing up houses on television, Knight continues to tour with New Kids on the Block.