Backstreet Boys star AJ McLean and wife Rochelle announce they have separated 'temporarily'

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Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean and his wife, Rochelle McLean, have announced they are "temporarily" separating.

“Marriage is hard, but worth it. We have mutually decided to separate temporarily to work on ourselves, and on our marriage with the hope of building a stronger future,” the couple confirms to in a joint statement. “The plan is to come back together and continue to nurture our love for one another, and our family. We ask for respect and privacy at this time.”

They added, “Separation is hard enough without the commentary, please be kind and remember there are children involved.”

AJ McLean and his wife, Rochelle (Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic)
AJ McLean and his wife, Rochelle (Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic)

The couple tied the knot in December 2011 after they began dating in 2009. The pair share daughters Elliott, 10, and Lyric, 6.

In October 2020, AJ McLean credited his wife and children with helping him to get sober after a more-than-two-decade struggle with substance abuse issues.

The boy bander told People that his drug and alcohol problems escalated months earlier during a trip to Las Vegas.

"Before I even got on the plane, I had already mapped out the whole night,” McLean explained. “I knew where I was going to go get my drugs. I knew where I was going to go get drunk. I knew all of it and I figured, 'OK, it’s one night. As long as I don’t go past a certain time and I don’t smell like it, I can have a nice last hurrah and then come home.'"

Instead, McLean never went to sleep that night and ended up missing two flights back to California, where his family was waiting for him at home.

When the singer arrived home, he reeked of booze, he recalled.

"My wife and I had always had this agreement which was, if I smelled like alcohol, I wasn’t allowed to play with my kids — I couldn’t be around my kids,” McLean said. “But what really hit me was the moment my youngest daughter Lyric said to me that night, ‘You don’t smell like my daddy.’ And when she said that to me, that was it. Enough said. I felt disgusting.”

“That was it for me,” he said. “As we say in the sober world, that was my moment of surrender.”

Soon after, McLean began attending 12-step meetings and found a sponsor.

“This is the clearest I’ve ever been,” he told People. “I’m floating high, naturally. My family has saved my life, God has saved my life, and my recovery has saved my life. Without those three things, I wouldn’t be here.”

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