20 years inside the Hollywood scene haven't put a dent in Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson's strong-held midwestern values.
The Backstreet Boys have had a huge 2019, hitting the Grammys this week as nominees and starring in one of the Super Bowl's most talked-about commercials, a Doritos spot with Chance the Rapper. But despite endless opportunities to embrace a hard-partying lifestyle, Littrell and Richardson have stuck to their roots -- and as parents, that choice has proven pivotal.
"I always say it starts at home," Littrell told AOL. "Kevin and I both had very strong home-valued lives with Mom and Dad at the house, being there for you through thick and thin, through anything in life. It was just what we knew, and now as dads, I find that it's easy to instill those rules or way of life because it's instilled in us already."
Littrell, 43, and Richardson, 47, who are cousins, grew up in Kentucky and were already in their early 20s when the Backstreet Boys became a household name. Both got engaged just a few years into their superstardom; Littrell to Leighanne Wallace, who he met at a music video shoot, and Richardson to Kristin Kay Willits, a Disney World co-worker he met when they were both park entertainers.
"I was the first Backstreet Boy [to become a] dad," Littrell said. (His 16-year-old son, Baylee, is launching his own music career.) "Kevin and I grew up in church. It's a blessing to be in the situation we are today, to be parents and well-rounded people, now just artists. We're dads. It's taught us a lot about life. We have a reason to work hard every day to provide for our families and teach our kids true values."
That all said, boyband heartthrob status can never truly be escaped -- especially when other parents and teachers grew up with Backstreet Boys posters on their walls.
"When you drop the kids off at carpool, you get some looks," Richardson admitted. "It's been real chill and relaxed and nothing crazy, but yeah, we get recognized. My littlest is like, 'Dad, why does that woman want to hug you?'"
Today, all five of the Backstreet Boys are fathers, which makes it more difficult for them to get on the road for their upcoming DNA World Tour -- but their kids have quickly managed to find the bright side.
"My five-year-old is a kid in a candy store," Richardson said. "Every time he sees us perform he wants to get up onstage and dance. It's a blessing."