N’Sync then and now: what the boyband did after 2002 split

(from centre) Joey Fatone, Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake of N’Sync present an award to Taylor Swift at the VMAs  (Charles Sykes/AP/PA)
(from centre) Joey Fatone, Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake of N’Sync present an award to Taylor Swift at the VMAs (Charles Sykes/AP/PA)

Taylor Swift was the big winner at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards but even she found herself usurped by the headline of the event: the return of N’Sync.

The boyband made a surprise appearance, presenting Swift with one of her four VMAs and performing hits at the ceremony, in their first performance since 2013 when they sang at the same event together.

It has been more than 20 years since N’Sync went their separate ways and their last material was released in 2002 before singer Justin Timberlake broke out with his solo career.

However, the band have remained a talking point – and were even referenced in the film Barbie this summer. Timberlake, who had caused the hiatus with his solo career, was on stage at the VMAs and was joined by all his ex-bandmates, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and Lance Bass.

And it has been confirmed the five-piece have recorded their first music in more than 20 years with song Take You to a Better Place set to feature on the soundtrack of the upcoming film Trolls Band Together, which is due out in November.

Over a short period they released albums ‘N Sync (1997), Home for Christmas (1998), No Strings Attached (2000) and Celebrity (2001). They performed their hits Bye Bye Bye and Girlfriend at the VMAs.

This is what they have all been up to since we last heard from them.

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel (PA Archive)
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel (PA Archive)

Justin Timberlake

Timberlake had been the first to leave N’Sync, saying: “I felt like I cared more about the music than some of the other people in the group” - and his departure in 2002 led to the breaking up of the band.

The success of Timberlake’s debut album, Justified, and subsequent tour meant that any possible reforming of N’Sync was unlikely. Timberlake went on to greater heights with second album FutureSex/LoveSounds before releasing music more sporadically and turning his attention to acting in the late 2000s.

JC Chasez

Chasez, along with Timberlake and Kirkpatrick, was one of the first to sign up for the boyband and has worked as a songwriter and in production in the years since.

His 2004 solo album Schizophrenic was met with poor sales due to a marketing process that was disrupted with the NFL deeming his singles  Some Girls (Dance With Women) and All Day Long I Dream About Sex too sexual for the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Joey Fatone

Added to the line-up which required a baritone vocal, Fatone has gone on to appear on stage and in shows with occasional acting roles – such as playing Cousin Angelo in My Fat Greek Wedding.

Fatone has also tried his hand at presenting and been a recurring face on the US television celebrity circuit with appearances on Dancing With the Stars and The Masked Singer to name but two. More recently, in 2019 he joined all bandmates bar Timberlake to perform with Ariana Grande on stage at Coachella.

Chris Kirkpatrick

The oldest of the group, Kirkpatrick was the first to be discovered and helped put the group together alongside Timberlake and Chasez. But after N’Sync, Kirkpatrick took the Charlie Simpson route of joining an alternative rock band Nigel’s 11 with some limited success.

Kirkpatrick had more success as a producer and music manager with other business ventures in fashion as well as a non-profit organisation. Like the others, he has also acted on stage and on television.

Lance Bass

Bass by nature, Lance had the deepest voice in N’Sync but has had the most unusual life after the hiatus of the group. After the completion of the final tour, he moved to Star City in Russia to become a cosmonaut and had been approved for a space tourism outing to the International Space Station but had to cancel when his sponsors backed out.

After initially feeling “heartbroken” at Timberlake’s decision to go solo, Bass said he is now good friends with Justin. Since N’Sync wound down, he has performed on stage and in television roles. He came out as gay in 2006 and has campaigned for LGBT issues, and this year he launched his own podcast, Frosted Tips.