AJ McLean and wife Rochelle Deanna McLean announced this week that they had decided to temporarily separate in order to ‘work on ourselves and on our marriage’, with the hope that they could reconcile in the future.
And in a sign of his commitment to his family, the Backstreet Boys star took the estranged couple’s two daughters – Elliott, 10, and Lyric, six, to The Super Mario Bros. film premiere in Los Angeles on Saturday, just five days later.
While making the rounds and posing for photos on the red carpet, McLean could be seen still wearing his wedding ring.
The singer and dancer, 45, looked in good spirits, with his arms wrapped around his girls who stood in front of him, while flashing big beaming smiles.
Always one to put thought into his fashion choices, the West Palm Beach, Florida native stepped out in faded blue jeans and a black shirt that he left unbuttoned to show off his classic white t-shirt underneath.
Proud papa: AJ McLean could be seen wearing his wedding ring when he took his two daughters to The Super Mario Bros. film premiere in Los Angeles on Saturday, five days after going public with his split from his wife
Rounding out his look, McLean also donned black sneakers, sunglasses with light brown lenses, and a black baseball cap over his short cropped hair that matched his well-manicured beard and mustache combo.
Elliott showed off her funky style in a green and white-pattered sweater over a red and white striped shirt, faded blue jeans and blue and black sneakers.
She also pulled her long tresses back into a ponytail, and had the front couple of inches dyed pink, along with a center part.
Her younger sister looked adorable in blue jeans with a purple and black-checkered shirt that she left unbuttoned to reveal her pinkish t-shirt underneath.
She wore her blonde locks long and straight past her shoulders with a part in the middle.
‘Super Mario Bros. premiere with my babies, the proud father shared on Instagram. ‘This is Lyrics first ever red carpet and as expected she killed it. Obviously Elliott killed it as well. Almost movie time. Let’s go!! #SuperMarioMovie.’
Directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic from a screenplay by Matthew Fogel, the computer-animated adventure film is based on Nintendo’s Mario video game franchise.
The film ‘invites audiences into a vibrant, thrilling new universe unlike any created before in an action-packed, exuberant cinematic comedy event,’ it reads on the film’s website. With help from Princess Peach, Mario gets ready to square off against the all-powerful Bowser to stop his plans from conquering the world.
Cool cats: McLean, 45, and his girls – Elliott, 10, and Lyric, six – showed off their funky fashion sense on the red carpet
Eager: The trio all beamed with excitement as the screening of the film fast approached
Red carpet spotlight: The Backstreet Boys star revealed this was his youngest daughter’s first red carpet experience in an Instagram post
The ensemble voice cast includes Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy,, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen, Sebastian Maniscalco, Charles Martinet and Kevin Michael Richardson.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is scheduled for release in the U.S. on April 5, 2023, and in Japan on April 28, 2023.
It will also be available to stream on Peacock 45 days afterwards and on Netflix in late 2023.
The McLeans, who went public with the news of their separation through TMZ, made a point of clarifying that they have no intention of divorcing and that the split was decided in order to give each of them space to work on themselves.
‘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,’ he told the outlet.
‘The plan is to come back together and continue to nurture our love for one another, and our family. 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 statement concluded.
AJ and Rochelle, a makeup artist and hairstylist, met in October 2001, and eventually tied-the-knot on December 17, 2011 at the Beverly Hills Hotel after six-years of dating.
Marriage break: McLean and his wife Rochelle DeAnna McLean revealed they are temporarily separating in order to work on themselves, with hopes of reuniting in the future
Family matters: The couple married in 2011 after dating for six years
In October 2020, after returning from a trip to Las Vegas, the singer spoke out about his sobriety journey after a 20 year addiction to drugs and alcohol.
‘I was never sober. Not for a second. And the turning point for me was when I came back home, my wife could smell it on my breath and my youngest of two daughters would not sit with me,’ he told Good Morning America.
Following that moment, Mclean has maintained his sobriety and works with a program and sponsor.
‘There’s too much to live for today – my beautiful children, my amazing wife, my career, my brothers. I’ve never felt more grounded than I do today,’ he added.
During the same interview, the boy band star revealed some of the details behind his drug addiction, and when it all started.
‘The first time I tried drugs was literally an hour before my call time to The Call video shoot,’ he recalled. ‘I was off the walls’ during the video shoot.’
His drug addiction remained a secret for a while until his Backstreet Boys band mates Nick Carter, Brian Littrell, Kevin Richardson and Howie Dorough started to see the signs.
‘When the boys kind of caught on, I missed out on rehearsal. They basically broke into my house, and they dumped ice water on me while I was passed out in my bed,’ he said, adding, ‘Everybody started to catch on. I wasn’t me anymore, you know, I was just living a lie.’
Boy band star: AJ and Rochelle announced the news of their split on TMZ, clarifying that they are not divorcing, but temporarily separating
Bittersweet: Rochelle commemorated their 11th anniversary in December 2022 with a throwback snap of them, adding lyrics from a Guns N’ Roses song called November Rain
The Dancing With The stars alum first went to rehab in July 2001, and would end up going two more times, with last being in 2011.
By September 2022, McLean revealed he was in the best shape of his life, and that he had been one year sober during an interview with Today.
The star revealed he lost 32 pounds since starting his lifestyle change in February 2022, in part through quitting alcohol and fast food and hiring a personal trainer.
McLean now considers his clean and sober birthday to be September 27, 2022.