Jonathan Knight biography
Jonathan Rashleigh Knight was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on November 29, 1968. Along with his brother Jordan, he achieved celebrity status in the late 1980s as part of the boy band New Kids on the Block. In 1994, when the group split up, Knight sought a low-profile life working in real estate. In 2011, he resurfaced in the spotlight when NKOTB reunited and he came out publicly as gay.
The Quiet Kid
Jonathan Rashleigh Knight was one of six children born to Allan Knight, a carpenter turned Episcopal priest, and Marlene Putnam, a social worker. (His parents, who were Canadian, split during Knight's childhood years.) Although a shy kid, Knight was a standout singer in his church choir.
New Kids on the Block
His introverted demeanor didn't deter Knight from joining the boy band New Kids on the Block in 1984 with his little brother Jordan. Neighborhood friend and band member Donnie Wahlberg recruited the siblings. The trio, along with Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood, completed NKOTB. Maurice Starr, the man behind the boy band New Edition, produced their sound.
NKOTB's 1986 debut album didn't set the charts ablaze, but the 1988 follow-up, Hangin' Tough, did, with hits like "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)." The guys' slick dance moves and good looks made them wildly popular, especially with teenage girls. They sold a whopping 80 million records.
Quitting the Band
In 1994, NKOTB called it a day, with Knight leading the charge. Panic attacks from performing and facing the constant barrage of fans made him want out. While other members went on to do solo albums, films or reality TV, Knight found fulfillment buying, selling and renovating properties as a real estate developer.
In 2011, NKOTB reunited and released new tunes. But Knight found himself in a media frenzy for other reasons when a previous love interest, singer Tiffany, accidentally revealed that he was gay on Bravo's Watch What Happens: Live television show. He confirmed the rumors, explaining that he never hid his sexuality or felt the need to discuss it publicly either.
The media buzz passed, but Knight made headlines again in April 2013—just days after the release of NKOTB's new album, 10, on April 2, 2013—when he left the stage in the middle of the band's performance at New York City's iHeartRadio Theater. According to ABC News, prior to his abrupt exit, the singer "reportedly looked uncomfortable and was texting on his phone while the rest of the band danced." Knight returned to the stage after two songs, but left again after three more.