Hard A “Dancing With the Stars” alum had an emotional reunion with his father.
A “Dancing With the Stars” alum shared new details about his emotional reunion with his biological father after not seeing him in more than four decades. In a November 2023 interview, Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean spoke about his emotional meeting with his father Bob McLean.
McLean competed on season 29 of DWTS in 2020 with pro partner Cheryl Burke. He revealed that reuniting with his father helped him deal with trauma from his past.
Here’s what you need to know:
AJ McLean visited his father after undergoing an intensive therapy program
McLean, 45, has been vocal about his struggles with addiction. He has been sober for two years. In November 2023, he told Page Six that he had reunited with his father after a 10-week outpatient therapy program. The “intensive program” took place because McLean wanted to “get to the root” of his mental health problems.
He added that therapy inspired him to see his father, whom he had not seen since his parents divorced when he was three years old. While the “I Want It That Way” singer noted that he had communicated with his father “via text message here and there,” he suggested the idea of meeting in person.
McLean said he said to his father, “Hey, why don’t we sit down for a bit?” I would like to pick your brain. My mother, my uncle and my other family told me one thing about how you are.”
McLean explained that he wanted to learn about his father “first hand” and “make his own decisions” about their relationship.
AJ McLean posed with his father in September 2023
In September 2023, McLean shared two photos of his reunion with his father. In a post shared to his Instagram page, the DWTS alum sat on a couch next to his father. The second photo showed them standing side by side, both wearing baseball caps. In the caption, McLean revealed that for decades he blamed himself for his parents’ divorce.
“I did not know my father in any way except what the rest of my family told me,” McLean wrote. “My dad would show up at the odd show, but I never wanted to see him or talk to him. Tonight was the first time in 42 years that my father and I sat together as two grown men and talked about life, my life, his life and life in general.”
McLean received new information about his father. He found out about his birthday and the fact that he was also a musician. He also now knows that his parents’ divorce wasn’t his fault.
“Today begins a new chapter in my life with my father once again standing one foot in front of the other,” he wrote. “Thank your father for taking the time to sit down with your son and see me for who I am.”
His relationship with his own father influenced his approach to fatherhood. For McLean, being a good father to his children Elliot, 10, and Lyric, 6, has always been a priority. “Even in my dark times, the one thing I was always good at was being a father,” he told Us Weekly in September 2023. “I never wanted to be a bad father.”
READ MORE: DWTS runner-up reveals how he would only return to the ballroom