Sometimes even famous people need to take a break.
That is the case of Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean, who is currently spending time at a rehab clinic to fight depression and alcohol problems.
But the root to the 23-year-old’s emotional despair goes back to the death of his grandmother and the absence of a father figure during his childhood.
“I think when [A.J.’s grandmother] passed away, that just sent it over the edge,” fellow Backstreet member Kevin Richardson told MTV News on Monday. “But…he has internal demons he has to deal with that happened before this.”
As a child, McLean shared the house with his grandparents and his mother after his parents divorced when he was four. Last year, the singer told MTV News that when his father showed up after years of separation, it was difficult to accept him.
“My father was never really talked about a lot growing up,” he said. “[When he returned], it was kind of awkward, but he kind of expected me to jump back into it and just become [his] son all over again. I couldn’t do that.”
As for the rest of the group, they believe that his tattooed, bad boy image hid his inner demons.
“I think A.J. through all this was looking for support and trying to find himself,” Howie Dorough said.
According to Richardson, the group had a “big powwow” during tour rehearsals in June, where they approached McLean and urged him to get some help.
But ultimately, McLean had a tearful meaning with his fellow group members on Sunday and told them he was admitting himself into a rehab center.
“He cried to us. He said he was scared about all this but that he knew it was the right thing to do and he didn’t want to let us down,” Dorough said.
With McLean in rehab, and Nick Carter healing from a broken hand, the rest of the Backstreet Boys are postponing their Black and Blue tour for 30 days, picking it up in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Aug. 7.
McLean’s mother told the Orlando, Fla., television station WKMG on Wednesday that she is glad that her son is seeking treatment.
“I was very proud of him for realizing he had a problem and doing something about it on his own,” Denise McLean said.