updated 10/27/2007 AT 2:25 PM ET
•originally published 10/28/2007 AT 11:15 AM ET
Chris Kirkpatrick doesn’t mind that fellow ‘N Sync star Lance Bass thought he was gay when they were younger.
“I think it’s awesome that Lance thought I was gay while we were in the band together,” Kirkpatrick told PEOPLE Friday in Chicago at Underground for a party to raise money for the charity After School Matters. “He’s been going through a lot after coming out, and we respect that and give him his space.”
In the November issue of GQ magazine, Bass said, “We thought Justin [Timberlake] was gay because he told us he wanted to do a gay part in a movie .We thought Chris [Kirkpatrick] was gay because he used to hang out with a choreographer.”
Kirkpatrick, 36, said that he is still close to all his former bandmates. “The last one I saw two weeks ago was Joey [Fatone], and he’s doing great with his TV show. The guys and I all keep in touch. In fact, my birthday was last week, and they all called me to wish me a happy birthday.”
Looking back on the years with the band, Kirkpatrick said, “I was very blessed with ‘N Sync. It was a big success and it was a lot of fun.”
But he doesn’t miss all that touring. “Now I can just sit back and do what I love, fool around and make some great stuff and experiment musically, which has been a lot of fun.”