Backstreet Boys say Ryan Gosling told them their band was 'never gonna work'

Backstreet Boys' success wasn't always a foregone conclusion. The iconic boy band stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday and revealed that Ryan Gosling didn't always believe the band would work out.

"Long story short, we used to live in the same apartment complex when he was doing The Mickey Mouse Club. Him, Justin [Timberlake], Christina [Aguilera], Britney [Spears], all of them," AJ McLean said. "We were playing basketball almost every other day. The group had started. I kept telling him how big this was gonna be. And he's like, 'Dude. New Kids [on the Block] already did it. This is never gonna work. Just shoot the ball.'"

"Cut to he was wrong and it did work," McLean quipped.

"It worked out for him too," Nick Carter added.

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Backstreet Boys over the years
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Backstreet Boys over the years
Backstreet Boys on 10/15/98 in Chicago, Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 01: Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys poses during a photoshoot circa 1995 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/WireImage)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 01: Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys poses during a photoshoot circa 1995 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/WireImage)
American boy band Backstreet Boys, circa 1995. (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 01: Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys poses during a photoshoot circa 1995 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/WireImage)
American boyband The Backstreet Boys, circa 1995. They are Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, A. J. McLean, Howie Dorough and Kevin Richardson (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - APRIL 1997:Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys poses for an April 1997 portrait in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Bob Berg/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - APRIL 1997:Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys poses for an April 1997 portrait in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Bob Berg/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 19: Photo of Backstreet Boys (Photo by Sue Schneider/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Backstreet Boys (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
Backstreet Boys during 1998 MTV Video Music Awards at Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California, United States. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell of Backstreet Boys (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
NEW YORK CITY - MAY 17: Pop group Backstreet Boys: Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson, Nick Carter, A.J. McLean and Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys and Sears Director of Event Marketing John Lebbad attend the Press Conference to Promote the Backstreet Boys New Album 'Millennium' on May 17, 1999 at Studio 54 in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 23: American pop star Brian Littrell of the pop group 'Backstreet Boys' and girlfriend arrive at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on February 23, 2000 in Los Angeles, United States. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Kevin, Nick, and Howie of the Backstreet Boys rehearsal for 2000 Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles, CA on February 24, 2000 Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images
SWEDEN - NOVEMBER 17: Backstreet Boys attending the Europe MTV Video Music Awards in Stockholm 11/17/00 (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images)
Backstreet Boys during Super Bowl XXXV - Backstreet Boys Press Conference at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Backstreet Boys during 102.7 KIIS-FM's 2001 Wango Tango at Dodger Stadium in Los Angleles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - AUGUST 12: Singer Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys and brother singer Aaron Carter attend the Third Annual Teen Choice Awards on August 12, 2001 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 20: American pop group 'Backstreet Boys' perform on stage at the concert for New York City to benefit the victims of the World Trade Center disaster at Madison Square Gardens on October 20, 2001 in New York. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Kristin Willits & Kevin Richardson of Backstreet Boys (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
A. J. McLean (Backstreet Boys) arriving at the premiere of 'Daredevil.' (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - MAY 15: The Backstreet Boys reunite at KIIS FM's radio concert, 'Wango Tango' at the Rose Bowl May 15, 2004 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys (Photo by Ron Wolfson/WireImage)
Backstreet Boys during Backstreet Boys Perform on the 2005 NBC's The Today Show Summer Concert Series at NBC Studios Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Howie Dorough of Backstreet Boys during Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough and Elf Cosmetics Benefit Bowling for the Dorough Lupus Foundation at AMF Chelsea Piers Lanes in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Carvalho/FilmMagic)
The Backstreet Boys during Backstreet Boys at Teen People Magazine's Listening Lounge at Canal Room in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by L. Busacca/WireImage for Jive Records)
The Backstreet Boys (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 16: Singer Nick Carter, actress Shirly Brener and singer Aaron Carter at the Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys and Promoter Dave Ockun Birthday Celebration party in aid of the Lupas Foundation at LAX nightclub, on August 16,2006 in Hollywood, California (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 30: MTV VJ Damien Fahey and Musicians Brian Littrell, A.J. McClean, Nick Carter, and Howie Dorough of Backstreet Boys Visit MTV's TRL in Times Square on October 30, 2007, in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Musical groups Backstreet Boys and New Kids On The Block perform onstage during the 2010 American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/AMA2010/Getty Images for DCP)
BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 26: Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough, Alexander James McLean, Brian Littrell and Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys perform on stage at LG Arena on March 26, 2014 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Steve Thorne/Redferns via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, A. J. McLean and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys attend the 106.1 KISS FM's Jingle Ball 2016 Presented by Capital One at American Airlines Center on November 29, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/FilmMagic)
(From L)Members of US band Backstreet Boys AJ McLean, Kevin Richardson, Nick Carter, Howie D and Brian Littrell pose as they arrive for the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards on April 2, 2017, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. / AFP PHOTO / Tommaso Boddi (Photo credit should read TOMMASO BODDI/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 02: (L-R) Kevin Richardson, Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, and Brian Littrell of music group Backstreet Boys arrive for iHeartRadio's KIIS FM Wango Tango By AT&T at Banc of California Stadium on June 2, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: (L-R) Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, AJ McLean and Brian Littrell of musical group Backstreet Boys attend the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: The Backstreet Boys performs onstage at the 2018 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 15: (L-R) Nick Carter, Brian Littrell, Kevin Richardson, AJ McLean and Howie Dorough of The Backstreet Boys Visit Music Choice at Music Choice on June 15, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
WANTAGH, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Brian Littrell, Aj McLean, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Howie D. of the Backstreet Boys attend 103.5 KTU's KTUphoria on June 16, 2018 in Wantagh City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for 103.5 KTU)
WANTAGH, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson, Nick Carter, AJ McLean and Brian Littrell of The Backstreet Boys perform at 103.5 KTU's KTUphoria on June 16, 2018 in Wantagh City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for 103.5 KTU)
WANTAGH, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Brian Littrell and AJ McLean of The Backstreet Boys perform at 103.5 KTU's KTUphoria on June 16, 2018 in Wantagh City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for 103.5 KTU)
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The boy band -- which also includes Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough -- also appeared on Tuesday's episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen and dispelled rumors that Gosling was in talks to join the band. 

"He was never gonna audition," McLean said.

During their late-night rounds, the guys also opened up about their so-called rivalry with *NSYNC, a fellow boy band that came up at the same time as BSB.

"I gotta be honest. I know you're friends with Justin. It's worse than it's ever been before. We can't even be in the same room with these guys," Carter jokingly told Fallon, Timberlake's pal, on The Tonight Show. He then assured fans, "No, I'm totally playing."

"We love them. They're great guys," he said. "The only time I can really remember that there was a rivalry, maybe like late '90s early 2000s."

Amid that time period, Carter said, Backstreet Boys had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem or perform during the halftime show at the Super Bowl. After BSB opted for the anthem, *NSYNC locked down the halftime performance.

"I look back at it and it's kinda one of those bucket list things," Carter said. "You kinda regret it a little bit. Maybe wish we could still do a Super Bowl halftime."

As for why they didn't jump on the halftime opportunity, Richardson said he just "didn't want to stress out."

"I wanted to do the anthem, watch the game and have that be it," he said.

Those rivalry rumors, Richardson added, never had "any truth," though. "Those were guys following their dreams. We were following our dreams," he said.

Back on WWHL, Carter even floated the idea that the boy bands could team up in the future.

"After we're done with our world tour maybe we could do a tour with Backstreet and the four of them," he said of NSYNC members Joey Fatone, JC Chasez, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick, excluding Justin Timberlake, who many assume wouldn't participate in a reunion tour. 

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