Ahead of their 20th anniversary, the Backstreet Boys decided to let the cameras roll as they regrouped as a band for their eighth studio album, "In a World Like This."

Free of their previous label, but not entirely away from their past drama, Kevin, Howie, Nick, A.J. and Brian abandoned the machine that made them famous for an intimate look at their roots. What resulted is a documentary -- available on VOD and now in theaters -- that focuses on individual growth and unpacks the question if it's possible to be a grown man in a boy band.

amNewYork spoke with A.J. McLean about growing within the confines of a boy band.


Did you have any reservations about the documentary?

When we decided to make this documentary about the last 20 years of our lives, we all went into this with open minds and open hearts. We had to make this as real as possible and really show the good, the bad and the ugly, because there is a lot of that in our career.


Was talking about your substance abuse to the camera a cathartic experience?

It was something that I wanted to reiterate. I'm sober now. I've been sober for quite some time, and have been to rehab three times now. For me, especially my story with addiction, if I can help one person that's going through something then I'm doing my job. I didn't want to harp on it in the film because people already know about it, but I did want to bring it up because it is a part of our story.


Being prepackaged in a boy band, there's a sense of uniformity within the marketing. As a grown man now, how do you keep your own identity?

I think everyone has grown into their own skin. The Backstreet Boys is our life but it doesn't make us who we are. What makes me the man I am today is my wife and my daughter. Being a husband and father is what completes me. I know now that when I go to work, I love what I do, but when I come home I can separate that now. The biggest problem for me with my addiction is that I couldn't separate work from real life, and now I can totally separate.