It’s the end — for now? AJ McLean and his wife, Rochelle McLean (née Karadis), confirmed they are going through a rough patch after 11 years of marriage.
“Marriage is hard, but worth it. We have mutually decided to separate temporarily to work on ourselves, and on our marriage with the hope of building a stronger future,” the estranged couple told Us Weekly in a statement on Monday, March 27.
The pair explained that the decision to separate will hopefully not last forever. “The plan is to come back together and continue to nurture our love for one another, and our family,” AJ, 45, and Rochelle, 41, continued. “We ask for respect and privacy at this time. Separation is hard enough without the commentary, please be kind and remember there are children involved.”
The Dancing with the Stars alum started dating Rochelle in March 2009. After 10 months of dating, the singer proposed during a trip to Las Vegas. The pair were married in a goth-themed ceremony in Beverly Hills in December 2011.
While participating on the ABC dance competition, McLean opened up about his relationship with his then-wife in a blog for Us, calling her his “rock.”
“As I said, on the show, she’s my superhero,” the BSB crooner said at the time. “She has been through hell and back with me. If there was an award for everything that she does on the daily, she deserves them all. The greatest reward that I get from her on the daily is just a constant affirmation of love. She’s always there for me, it doesn’t matter what it is. She’s very supportive. She’s a great listener. We have amazing conversations — sometimes until the wee hours of the morning.”
In his blog, the “I Want It That Way” performer called Rochelle “breathtaking inside and out,” noting that she’s an amazing wife and mother. “My wife means everything to me as does the fact that she’s been here still, to this day, with me after all the bad things I’ve done in my life that have hurt people — especially her,” he continued.
The “No Place” singer explained how Rochelle has seen “the good in me and seen past … the bad stuff” he did prior to getting sober. He explained at the time, “Things are the best they’ve ever been today, and I couldn’t ask for anything else.”
While competing on DWTS, the “Pretty Messed Up” podcast host gushed about fatherhood and scoring “cool points” as a dad when his boy band reunited on the dance competition.
“We’ll see what happens when they are teenagers,” he exclusively told Us in October 2020. “And they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, your dad’s a Backstreet Boy. Isn’t he old?’ You know? I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. Right now, Dad is cool. I’ll try to hold onto that.”
The singer revealed at the time that his daughters are little performers in the making, just like their proud papa. “Every night, it’s a dance party or it’s a monologue or my oldest daughter wants to be a filmmaker and she makes up her own news channels,” he said. “Both my girls love to be on camera. They love to be on stage. They live to dance and sing. My oldest daughter is already writing music, so they’ve got the bug!”