Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean is putting himself first

PHOTO: Facebook / AJMcLean

AJ McLean is learning to put himself first.

The Backstreet Boys singer has said he's learning how to juggle his own health alongside his life as a father to two daughters - Ava, six, and Lyric, 23 months - and his career, after having battled addiction for many years and entering rehab several times, including a relapse as recently as 2018.

He said: "[Addiction] has made me have to look inward, which I think is what a lot of people who haven't fully matured are lacking. That's something I've struggled with for years. I put my family first, then I put my job, then somewhere down the line is me.

"I'm slowing learning, at 41, that it's okay to put me before all of it because if I'm not happy and healthy, how could I be the father and husband that I truly know I am and want to become even better at? If I'm not happy or healthy, all the other stuff is eventually going to go bye-bye."

AJ - who has his daughters with his wife Rochelle - admits it is a "constant struggle" to keep himself away from drink, but says he is determined to work hard because he doesn't want to "lose" everything he's built up over the years.

He added to 'Entertainment Tonight': "I don't want to lose what I've spent 26 years building with my boys, I don't want to lose my beautiful family and I don't want to lose my life and everything I've worked so hard for, for something as trivial as picking up a drink.

"It's a constant struggle, of course. It's up, it's down."

The 'Boy and a Man' singer's comments come after he revealed in November that he had relapsed in 2018, as at the time he was struggling to come to terms with putting his own needs first.

He said: "You know, it's interesting about sobriety with family and with kids - you still have to put yourself first, and that's been a real big struggle for me.

"Look, I have no shame in saying, I've relapsed over the past year. It's no secret that this is a disease, and that it's a daily struggle.

"Are my kids and my wife a huge support, and a huge inspiration? Yes, a hundred per cent. But, at the same time the biggest problem I deal with, with them, is putting myself first, and not my family first.

"Because in my mind, that's what you should do, you should put family first. You should put your kids first.

"But because I'm still very codependent, I'm Mr. People Pleaser - and I think a lot of that comes from being a performer, and wanting to see the crowd happy, and seeing everybody around you, and loving the attention - I want to make sure everyone's cool."