Rochelle Deanna Karidis has been married to Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean for nearly a decade and they have two young daughters together.
Fans already know McLean can dance from his years touring with one of the most popular boy bands in the world. But how is he with a partner? Fans are about to find out. McLean is competing on the new season of Dancing with the Stars.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rochelle Karidis, a Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist, Preferred NSYNC Over the Backstreet Boys
Karidis was working as a hairstylist and makeup artist when she started dating McLean. According to her IMDB profile, she was credited for her work in the makeup department on a few video projects. In 2005, Karidis also worked in the wardrobe department on a documentary about the 2005 Playboy Playmate of the year.
Karidis first laid eyes on her future husband when she was still a high school student. She attended an “Into the Millenium” concert in 1999 in Las Vegas. The future couple officially met the following year at Choreographer’s Carnival, a monthly dance show that allows choreographers to showcase their work.
But Karidis would not have been all that impressed with McLean at the time. He explained in 2015 that Karidis eventually told him that she was a bigger fan of NSYNC because she thought the members were better dancers than the Backstreet Boys.
But McLean and Karidis reconnected several years later and started dating in March 2009. After about 10 months of dating, McLean popped the question during a trip to Las Vegas.
People reported the couple had been celebrating McLean’s birthday at the Hard Rock Hotel when, according to a witness, McLean jumped on the stage and had the DJ turn the music off. “He asked her to come up on stage and he got down on his knee and she squatted down with him. He asked her and she said yes and hugged him,” the witness told the magazine. “She seemed very surprised and didn’t seem to know why he was getting on stage,” the witness adds. “Even his friends were shocked. They all knew he was going to propose but didn’t think he would do it tonight.”
2. Karidis & McLean Had a Goth-Themed Wedding
Karidis and McLean planned an extravagant wedding celebration with their own unique twist. They put on a goth-themed wedding at the Beverly Hills Hotel on December 17, 2011.
The bride wore a black Vera Wang gown. The sleeveless dress allowed Karidis to display the rose tattoos decorating her arms. McLean wore a black suit and red bow tie.
The New York Daily News reported the ceremony took place outside in the hotel’s garden. The newspaper added that Karidis walked down the aisle to the song “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses. All of McLean’s Backstreet Boys band members were in attendance.
A few days after the nuptials, Karidis and McLean attended a Guns N’ Roses sporting their wedding bands. People reported Karidis’ ring is black with diamonds while McLean wears a red ring.
On their fifth wedding anniversary, Karidis shared a glammed-up photo of she and McLean posing with their wedding photographer, Tyler Shields. Karidis wrote in the caption, “Happy Anniversary my love! Five years and counting! Thank you for being my partner in crime in this crazy life we live. I couldn’t imagine taking this journey with anyone else. I love you more than words could ever describe! Cheers to many more ❤️ @skulleeroz @thetylershields thank you for making us official!”
3. Karidis Has Appeared In a Few of Her Husband’s Music Videos
Karidis can also add “music video performer” to her professional resume. She has appeared in at least three of her husband’s music videos. The first was for the song “God, Your Mama, And Me,” a Florida Georgia Line love song featuring the Backstreet Boys. The beginning of the video, which debuted in early 2017, showcases the members of both bands talking about how they planned to surprise their wives with romantic gestures. Their significant others had cameos throughout the video and McLean’s young daughter even made an appearance.
The Backstreet Boys followed up that song two years later with another tribute to their wives and children. The song “No Place” again features all of the men spending time with their families. In McLean’s sections, he is seen serenading Karidis at the breakfast table and playing with their two daughters.
But Karidis took center stage in the 2019 music video for McLean’s solo song called “Boy and a Man,” which premiered in March 2019. Karidis played the role of the bride, this time wearing a white dress. The shot then shifts to McLean dancing with Karidis in what appears to be a cabin. Framed photos of the couple together with their daughters decorate the mantle.
McLean told Entertainment Tonight Karidis was a bit nervous about being in front of the camera, but that she had a sense of humor about the experience as well. “I love her. She’s calling herself my personal video vixen,” McLean shared.”
Karidis also promoted the video on her Instagram account. She wrote in the caption, “Speaking of being uncomfortable and personal growth…. I have a short and sweet cameo in the hubby’s new video for Boy And A Man. Show him some love and check it out.”
4. Karidis & McLean Have Two Daughters, Ava & Lyric
Before the December 2011 wedding, McLean said he and Karidis planned to enjoy being married for a couple of years before expanding their family. But those plans changed fast. The couple revealed the happy news in April 2012 that they were expecting their first child together.
Their first daughter took her time before arriving. Karidis shared on Twitter that the original due date was November 21. She wrote on November 24, “Come on AVA!!!! It never takes mommy this long to get ready! Being punctual is a great quality to have!! Now, come out so we can see you!!”
Ava Jaymes was born three days later. Their second daughter, Lyric Dean, arrived in March 2017. McLean explained to Entertainment Tonight how he and Karidis selected their daughters’ names:
Rochelle got to name Ava after Ava Gardner because she loves old Hollywood, then she took my middle name, James, but spelled it differently. So, I got to pick this time. I mean, lyrics… Backstreet Boys… it’s pretty cool, right?
McLean added that Lyric’s middle name was inspired by Karidis’ middle name, which is Deanna.
In 2019, young Ava made headlines for the text message she asked her mother to send to McLean. The singer shared that Ava isn’t thrilled when he’s away from home touring and asked him, “Can you stop being a Backstreet Boy and just be my dad?” McLean said he assured his daughter that he’ll always return home .
5. McLean Credits His Wife In Helping Him Remain Sober
McLean has struggled with sobriety for many years and he has been open about it with his fans. He went to rehab in 2001, 2002 and again in 2011, for alcohol abuse and depression.
McLean credits his wife and family for helping him on his journey to maintain sobriety. He talked about his family’s support in a September 2018 interview with Entertainment Tonight:
Having a family and looking my two girls in the eye every single night and every single morning — they’re my lifeline. They’re my everything. Them and my wife. So, I would never in a million years want to let them see me drunk or high or dead or in jail. I want to walk both my girls down the aisle … when they’re 35! As long as I can hold off on boys, I’m going to hold off on boys!
In early 2019, McLean also admitted to People that he had relapsed over the past year. He explained that his wife and children are his top priority but that to adequately battle addiction, he needs to prioritize himself as well. “I’m still very codependent, I’m Mr. People Pleaser… I want to make sure everyone’s cool. If you do that too often, then you forget about taking care of yourself, and you do tend to get lost in the sauce.”
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