In the beginning, Justin says fame made him feel like an outsider. "I would film [The New Mickey Mouse Club] six months out of the year, and then go back to a small town in Tennessee," he says. "In that small town, yeah, I was a big deal, you know? But it was kind of interesting…I kind of became an outcast in school because I wasn't normal."
When Justin left Tennessee and began touring with *NSYNC, his career took off. He credits his mom, Lynn, and stepfather for keeping him grounded all these years. "I just remember my mom always instilling those thoughts in me that at the end of the day or at the beginning of the day, we all put our pants on the same way," he says.
It's not Justin's chart-topping hits or his dance moves that make his mom proud. Lynn says she's most proud of how her son handles superstardom. "[I'm proud] that he is so well-grounded—that he's a good person," she says. "It's like they say, 'Don't believe the hype.' You have to be able to separate who you are and what you do."