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Backstreet Boys talk falling apart and coming together in 'therapy session'

Health woes, a death in the family, rebellion and rehab took the band to all-time lows, but none of that divided them in the long run.
Backstreet Boys
The Backstreet Boys are back with their first new album in five years.AP
/ Source: TODAY

The Backstreet Boys remain the most enduring of all the acts that came together during the '90s boy band heyday, but staying together hasn't always been easy for Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough and AJ McLean.

In a new video the band filmed for Vevo, each member of the group opened up about the painful personal experiences that once threatened to tear them apart.

And they revealed that, somehow, those same experiences kept them side by side.

The clip, which Carter dubbed a "therapy session," kicked off with Richardson revealing that the problems began almost as soon as the hits did.

"All of our dreams were coming true and we were all kind of tripping out inside," he recalled. "Instead of us coming closer and closer and tighter together, we almost retreated from one another to get that space. Our bond wasn't as tight in those moments as it could've been."

And then, in 1998, just five years into their joint career, one of them suddenly faced something none of them had imagined. Littrell required open-heart surgery.

"I had, like, a 22 percent chance that I wouldn't wake up," he said. And though the surgery was a success, things changed for him. "I couldn't just walk back in and go, 'Hey guys! We're back together,' because it wasn't like that for me. It was, like, a complete disconnect between me and all four of you guys. I mean, I delayed my surgery twice, so we could have two different tours."

And while that was a huge sacrifice, and one that Richardson noted showed them all a "need for balance," Littrell wasn't the only member to make such a tremendous one for the band.

Backstreet Boys
The Backstreet Boys, left to right, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean and Kevin Richardson, perform in Charlotte, N.C., July 8, 1998.AP

That same year, one day after they accepted their first MTV Music Video Award, Dorough went home to face the sudden death of his sister.

"I just remember what it was like to go from an extreme high to, within 24 hours, an extreme low," he said.

However, he and his family were unable to take their time to deal with the tragedy. Instead, they "rushed everything" so he could make it to the band's next stop on time.

It proved to be a difficult and humbling time for him, but they now know they were all experiencing their own highs and lows.

For McLean, it was a rehab stint that changed his life — the first time.

"Having (daughter) Ava was the next most humbling moment," he added, because she raised the stakes on his sobriety. "I want to always hold my kid and be there and be a good father."

Carter's "grounding moment" came via what he now calls his "failed solo album attempt."

As the singer explained, trying to break away from the band was his way of "rebelling against the family I have that I didn't know was more of a family than my real family."

Now he knows that he belongs with his Backstreet brood, and next year they have new music and a world tour on the way.

"It's kind of crazy, because it feels like the stars are kind of aligning again for us in a way," Carter said. "Because if you think about where we came from and how we started, it was, like, a miracle that we would've met each other, that we would've bonded, that we would've connected the way we did."

And that they would still be going strong 25 years later.