Lance Bass Reveals the Gift Sir Elton John Sent Him After Coming Out in 2006

"I'm like: 'I'm in!'"

Lance Bass Reveals the Gift Sir Elton John Sent Him After Coming Out
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Lance Bass looks back at the moments before, during and after he came out in 2006, he can vividly recall a special gift that made him feel loved and supported.

In a new interview with People in celebration of the publication's 50th anniversary, Bass says that the one and only Sir Elton John gave Bass a special gift after he told the world he was gay.

“The most fun thing I got after I came out was a nice gift basket—I think on my front step—and it was from Elton John basically saying, ‘Welcome to the club,’” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I got a welcome basket from the king of the gay mafia!' I'm like, ‘I'm in!’ I thought that was the most fun, welcoming basket you could ever get.”

Bass also recalled feeling "nervous, then relieved" when he came out publicly in a 2006 issue of People.

Lance Bass attends the 22nd Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California.

Lance Bass attends the 22nd Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“Of course there were rumors, but that was also at a time where social media wasn't so much of a thing and you could actually have more of a private life,” Bass said. “No one was taking pictures everywhere you went. So it was kind of easy for me to live this kind of private life.

“I had a boyfriend, my circle of friends knew about me, and I just didn't think (my sexuality) was such a big deal,” the *NSYNC member added.

While on vacation in Provincetown, Massachusetts, a well-known gay-friendly town, a stranger asked Bass if he was gay. Bass said yes—the first time he had revealed his sexuality to a stranger—and the encounter made its way into the tabloids.

“I knew I had to say something. And at that point, I was so scared about what would happen in my life personally. I didn't want my family to get hurt by this,” Bass said, adding that he was also afraid of the "complete death of my career."

"That's always what I was told," he explained. "If you come out, you're done."

Lance Bass attends the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on April 01, 2024.

Lance Bass attends the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on April 01, 2024.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After coming out publicly on the cover of People, Bass said "so many emotions were going through me at that moment."

"I remember I went to Catalina Island with my boyfriend at the time," he recalled. "I said, 'I can't watch this go down.'"

When the magazine hit stands in 2006, Bass said "everything in my life changed."

"I didn't expect how positive the rest of the world would treat it," Bass continued, while noting that there were some negative reactions, including the loss of his sitcom deal.

“The industry said, 'oh, well, we can't use you now.' But the public—they made it such a positive thing," he continued. “Once I was able to see that reaction, it made me feel so good that I wasn't going to be hated."

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality and mental health, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find both her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.