Though he came clean to his bandmates right after, AJ kept his substance abuse a secret until they started to recognize signs of drug use. AJ McLean’s addiction was so bad that his bandmates started to notice that he was skipping rehearsals and that his behavior began to change. AJ McLean’s drug use started because he “thought it would make those feelings of insecurity go away.”
In July of that year, McLean was confronted by the group and they encouraged him to seek treatment for substance abuse. He remembers Kevin Richardson telling him, “If you continue using, I will never trust you again. You’re dead to me.” Though he received treatment for addiction, AJ McLean’s substance abuse continued for 20 years, up until the end of 2019.