Backstreet Boy AJ McLean’s Brother-in-Law Broke Into His House to Share Heartbreaking News

AJ McLean might be one of the Backstreet Boys, but he is also a family man, fierce advocator for the LGBTQ community, Dancing With the Stars Season 29 competitor, and host of the Pretty Messed Up podcast. Recently, the Backstreet Boy opened up about a tragic family death — his stepdad died suddenly in June 2021. But the way McLean found out about his stepfather’s death was interesting. It involved his brother-in-law breaking into his home. 

Backstreet Boy AJ McLean attends an iHeart Radio event
AJ McLean | Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

AJ McLean’s wife, kids, and parents 

McLean was born on Jan. 9, 1978 in West Palm Beach, Florida to Denise and Bob McLean. An only child, McLean was primarily raised by his grandparents after his parent’s divorce when he was 2-years-old. 

For a while, McLean was estranged from his parents. As highlighted in The Backstreet Boys: Official Biography, McLean rarely saw his biological father. The two didn’t have a relationship until they reunited in 1997 after a 17-year estrangement. 

Later, McLean married his wife Rochelle in 2011. Today, they have two daughters: Ava and Lyric. McLean appeared on Dancing With the Stars in season 29 to show his children anything is possible. 

Backstreet Boys AJ McLean found out about his stepdad dying in the middle of the night 

Sometime after her divorce, McLean’s mother remarried. Since much of her life is kept private, details of her second husband are hard to find. But McLean spoke fondly of his stepfather during an episode of the Pretty Messed Up podcast

Sadly, McLean and his family are dealing with the heartbreaking death of his stepfather. But the way McLean found out about his stepfather’s death was unique because no one could reach him at the time.

McLean was awoken in the middle of the night by his brother-in-law, who entered his home after repeatedly trying to reach him on his cell. Both McLean and his wife’s phones were on vibrate. Apparently, McLean’s mother tried to call him, too, but could only get a hold of his brother-in-law.

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“I see this black silhouette at the bottom of my stairs, and I’m freaking out…” McLean recalls on the podcast. “[My brother-in-law] looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘Your stepdad passed away.'” 

How did AJ McLean’s stepdad die? 

As McLean explains on the podcast, his stepdad had a massive heart attack. “He had been struggling for quite some time,” McLean explains.

“He had at least four strokes in the past two years and [had been] dealing with different types of cancerous things, which he overcame,” the Backstreet Boy continues. “But he was always on medication for something.” Showbiz Cheat Sheet extends their condolences to McLean and his family. 

Cheryl Burke from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and AJ McLean talk grief on their podcast 

After McLean opens up about the death of his stepdad, he welcomes world-renowned grief expert David Kessler. Together, they discuss the stages of grieving. 

With the help of Kessler, the hosts of the Pretty Messed Up podcast work through their grief. All of the hosts have experienced death in some capacity. Rene Elizondo’s two brothers have died, as has DWTS star Cheryl Burke‘s father, who died in March 2018. Tune in to the episode to hear Kessler talk more about grieving healthily and effectively.