Brian Littrell

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Brian Littrell
Littrell in June 2011
Brian Thomas Littrell

(1975-02-20) February 20, 1975 (age 48)
Alma materTates Creek High School
Years active1993–present
Leighanne Littrell
(m. 2000)
ChildrenBaylee Littrell (b. 2002)
Musical career
Member ofBackstreet Boys

Brian Thomas Littrell (/ˈlɪtrəl/; born February 20, 1975)[1] is an American singer and a member of the Backstreet Boys. He is also a contemporary Christian music artist, and released the solo album Welcome Home in 2006. He is the father of country singer Baylee Littrell.[2]

In 2015, Littrell was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame along with his cousin and bandmate Kevin Richardson.[3]

Early life[edit]

Littrell was born in Lexington, Kentucky, to Jacqueline "Jackie" R. (née Fox), a dentist's secretary, and Harold Baker Littrell Jr, an IBM employee.[4][5] He has an older brother Harold III, an actor and singer, and is the cousin of fellow Backstreet Boys member Kevin Richardson; his father, Harold, and Richardson's mother, Ann, are siblings.[6][7]

Littrell was skilled at sports, and played in both Little League and the Babe Ruth League.[8] Growing up in a religious Baptist family, he sang his first solo in Porter Memorial Baptist Church at age 7, and was voted President of the Youth Chorus by his peers one year. At 16, he began performing at weddings after Barry Turner, his choir teacher at Tates Creek High School, suggested he could make money singing at social events.[9][10] Littrell also performed in school plays including a production of Grease,[11][12][13][14] and worked at fast food chain Long John Silver's.[15]

At 15, Littrell had aspirations to become a basketball player, but at 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm) he struggled with his height, and was seldom selected for high school tournaments.[16][17][18] He aspired to become a music minister,[5] but in April 1993 during a history class at Tates Creek, Littrell's cousin and future bandmate Kevin Richardson called him out of an American History class and informed him of an audition for a fifth member of the Backstreet Boys after a member spot opened up when Burk Parsons resigned his place in the group due to his desire to become a Christian minister.[19][20] Littrell flew to Orlando the next day and finished high school via correspondence, graduating in 1994.[16]


Backstreet Boys[edit]

Littrell (left) with the Backstreet Boys in 2008

In 1997, Littrell was instrumental in bringing a lawsuit against the group's creator Lou Pearlman, claiming Pearlman had concealed information regarding the group's earnings. Bandmates AJ McLean, Richardson and Howie Dorough joined the lawsuit which eventually resulted in a number of settlements, details of which were not disclosed.[21][22] In 2000, he was among Teen People's 25 Hottest People Under 25, tying with Justin Timberlake of rival band *NSYNC.[23]

Christian music[edit]

Littrell performing in 2005

Littrell longed to record Christian music, a genre he described as "pop positive".[24] In 2004, Littrell signed a solo deal with Reunion Records and released the solo album Welcome Home in 2005. Littrell co-wrote six of the songs on the album, which sold over 100,000 copies in the US and reached No. 74 on the Billboard 200 charts. On the Christian album charts, Welcome Home debuted at No. 3.[25] Four singles were released from the album – "In Christ Alone", "Wish", "Over My Head" and Welcome Home (You)", with the latter reaching No. 2 on the US Christian AC Charts. It was also No. 1 on Reach FM's Top 40 chart and on the US R&R Christian Inspirational charts for 3 weeks. In the summer of 2005, his solo single, "In Christ Alone", went to No. 1 on the Christian charts. Despite this change in his career, he remains a member of the Backstreet Boys.

Littrell won a Dove Award for Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year ("In Christ Alone") in 2006 along with songwriters Don Koch and Shawn Craig, and another in 2008 for "By His Wounds" with Glory Revealed. He also won Special Event Album of the Year in 2008 for Glory Revealed which was a compilation album with many other Christian artists; and in 2010, Special Event Album of the Year for Glory Revealed II.[26]

Littrell released two Christmas collections featuring his wife Leighanne and son Baylee, Brian Littrell's Family Christmas, released on December 6, 2010, and Christmas with the Littrells, released on December 6, 2011.

TV and film appearances[edit]

Littrell made appearances with the Backstreet Boys on Arthur, Sesame Street, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and he and bandmate McLean had cameos in Olive Juice, a film starring Littrell's wife Leighanne.[27] Littrell also performed with The Backstreet Boys on Saturday Night Live, in 1998 and 1999. In 2013, Littrell made an appearance in the film This Is the End with his bandmates.

Other ventures[edit]

During the band's hiatus, Littrell became committed to a number of other show business activities, most of them for charity. He has joined other celebrities in yearly NBA tours where he played basketball in every NBA city before a game, and has also played charity baseball games.

Personal life[edit]


In June 1997, following the breakup of his relationship with girlfriend Samantha Stonebraker, Littrell met Leighanne Reena Wallace, an actress and model, on the "As Long as You Love Me" video set in which she was an extra.[28] Littrell stated in J-14 magazine about this relationship that he had been out of the dating game for a while and meeting Leighanne opened a whole new chapter for him. "I had just gotten out of a relationship with a high school sweetheart that didn't work out. I didn't really have my eyes or mind set on anybody. It was something that just happened. If I was looking, I wouldn't have been able to find her."[29] They dated for two years, and Littrell proposed on Christmas 1999; their engagement, along with the engagement of cousin and bandmate Kevin Richardson to Kristin Willits, was announced on MTV on February 15, 2000.[30] the couple married in September 2000 at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta.[31][32][33] On November 26, 2002, they had their son Baylee Thomas Wylee Littrell, who is now pursuing a similar path as his father's in the entertainment industry.

As of 2020, the family lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, near Atlanta, having been there since 2000 soon after Littrell and his wife got engaged.[34]

Littrell stated during a show in Georgia on the DNA World Tour that his wife lost her mother from a heart condition in June 2022 and was a matriarch to him and the family.[35][36][37]

Health issues[edit]

Littrell was born with a congenital heart condition, making him susceptible to infections. He was diagnosed with a heart murmur at 6 weeks old. At 5 years old, he was hospitalized for two months due to a bacterial infection. Due to his hospitalization, Littrell was held back in school and had to repeat the first grade. In November 1997, doctors found his heart condition had caused his heart to enlarge considerably. Still, he underwent open-heart surgery on May 8, 1998 (which would be referenced by his scenes in the band's music video for "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely"). He later established the Brian Littrell Healthy Heart Club, a non-profit organization assisting children with heart conditions through medical, financial, and practical help.[38][39]

In October 2009, Littrell became infected with swine flu, causing the cancellation of the Backstreet Boys This Is Us promotional tour.[40]

In the 2015 documentary film, Littrell revealed his 2011 diagnosis of vocal tension dysphonia and dystonia. He continues to work with a therapist to help improve his condition.[41]

Religious beliefs[edit]

A devout Christian, Littrell has stated he believes it is the duty of Christians to be open about their faith, saying, "I think as Christians we need to join hands and mount up together and lift God up and talk about our faith publicly and talk about all of the things God has done for us in our life to touch other people."[42] Littrell, who has been born again since the age of 8,[43] has said that he attributes his success in life to God, and that his faith has always been "the utmost important thing" in his life.[44]


In 2019, a DNA heritage test revealed Littrell's ancestry to be 90.1% British Isles (20.7% English and 70.1% Irish/Scottish/Welsh), plus 7.1% Finnish and 2.1% Scandinavian.[45]


TV series & Movies
Year Film Role Notes
2000 Olive Juice Carriage Driver
1998 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Himself Episode: "Battle of the bands"
1998–1999 Saturday Night Live Himself and Musical guest "Julianne Moore/Backstreet Boys" (Season 23: episode 16)
"Sarah Michelle Gellar/Backstreet Boys" (Season 24: episode 19)
2002 Arthur Himself Episode: "Arthur, It's Only Rock and Roll" Guest Voice
2002 Sesame Street Himself
2005 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Himself Musical Guest With The Backstreet Boys
2009 El Hormiguero Himself Musical Guest With The Backstreet Boys
2012 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Himself Musical Guest with Backstreet Boys
2013 This Is the End Himself With the Backstreet Boys, performing "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"
2013 El Hormiguero Musical Guest With The Backstreet Boys
2014 I Heart Nick Carter Himself minor
2021 Dynasty Himself Everybody Loves The Carringtons (Season 4,Episode 4) performing "I Want It That Way (Solo Acoustic)"
2006 700 Club Himself [46]



Year Album details Peak positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
2006 Welcome Home
  • Released: May 2, 2006
  • Label: Reunion
74 3 US sales: 100,000[25]
2010 Brian Littrell's Family Christmas
  • Released: December 6, 2010
  • Label: Reunion
2011 Christmas with the Littrells
  • Released: December 6, 2011
  • Label: Reunion


Year Single Peak Album
2005 "In Christ Alone" 1 Welcome Home
2006 "Welcome Home (You)" 2
"Wish" 20
2007 "Over My Head" 17
"By His Wounds" (with Mac Powell, Mark Hall and Steven Curtis Chapman) 8 Glory Revealed

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Netter, Matt (January 1999). Backstreet Boys * Aaron Carter. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 43–44. ISBN 0-671-03539-8.
  2. ^ Baylee Follows In Father's Footsteps
  3. ^ Papadatos, Markos (April 12, 2015). "Backstreet Boys members inducted into Kentucky Music Hall of Fame". Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  4. ^ Rifkin, Sherri (December 29, 2010). Givin' It Their All: The Backstreet Boys' Rise to the Top. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-77568-9. Retrieved July 20, 2016 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ a b "Brian Littrell". Archived from the original on July 6, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  6. ^ "5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Backstreet Boys". MN2S. November 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Helligar, Jeremy (September 14, 1998). "Where the Boys Are". People. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "Backstreet Boys Special". Tiger Beat. May 1998.
  9. ^ "Music Stars Sing Praise to Their Music Teachers – National Association for Music Education (NAfME)". National Association for Music Education (NAfME). August 26, 2010.
  10. ^ Svokos, Heather. "Local Voices Chime In On Singer's Latest Song". Lexington Herald-Leader.
  11. ^ "Backstreet Boys Go Home". People. April 14, 1999. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  12. ^ "Brian Littrell comes home". Copious Notes. November 29, 2007. Archived from the original on September 13, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  13. ^ Golden, Anna Louise (June 15, 1998). Backstreet Boys: They've Got It Goin' On!. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-96853-3.
  14. ^ Nichols, Angie (1998). Backstreet Boys Confidential.
  15. ^ "Star Woes". Teen People. November 1998.
  16. ^ a b Stonebraker, Samantha (February 9, 2016). What You Wanna Know: Backstreet Boys' Secrets Only a Girlfriend Can Tell. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-1-250-11292-7.
  17. ^ "Backstreet Boys: Before they were Stars". BB. May 1998.
  18. ^ Dunn, Jancee (May 27, 1999). "The Backstreet Boys' Year in Hell". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  19. ^ "To Backstreet (And Back) - an Interview with Burk Parsons | Tim Challies". August 9, 2009.
  20. ^ "The Burk Parsons Story: Former Backstreet Boy Who Rejected Fame and Fortune for Christ | Anchored in Christ". September 8, 2015.
  21. ^ Burrough, Bryan (November 2007). "Mad About the Boys". Vanity Fair. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  22. ^ "Backstreet Boys Sue Pearlman, Trans Continental". Billboard. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  23. ^ "25 Hottest Stars Under 25". Teen People. June 2000.
  24. ^ Ross, Dena. "Give Glory Where Glory is Due". Beliefnet, Inc. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  25. ^ a b "Brian Littrell Looks To Reconnect As Dove Co-Host". April 25, 2007. Archived from the original on April 29, 2007. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  26. ^ "Past Winners – The 47th Annual GMA Dove Awards". Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  27. ^ Backstreet Boys Contributes Solo Song to Project
  28. ^ "Brian and Leighanne Littrell on Get Married Part 1". YouTube.
  29. ^ "How to Win the Love of a Backstreet Boy". J-14. September 2000.
  30. ^ "2000-02-15 - MTV News, Kevin and Brian announce their engagement". YouTube.
  31. ^ "Another Backstreet Wedding". Peoplemag.
  32. ^ "Backstreet Boy Gets Married". ABC News. September 3, 2000. Retrieved July 20, 2016..
  33. ^ "Backstreet Weddings". People. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  34. ^ Chiu, Melody (October 19, 2020). "Inside Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell 'Magnificent' Atlanta Chateau". People. 94 (16): 71–75. Retrieved October 23, 2022.
  35. ^ "Backstreet Boys - DNA World Tour -Brian Talking - Atlanta - 6.28.22". YouTube.
  36. ^ Palsa, Nicole (July 12, 2022). "Baylee Littrell Shares How His New Song "Change Your Mind" Was Influenced By Morgan Wallen". Music Mayhem Magazine.
  37. ^ ""Brian Littrell on Instagram: Yesterday our family and the world lost a wonderful Gem of a Lady. My mother-in-law Shirley. She was the kindest most loving genuine soul..."".
  38. ^ "Backstreet Boys Have Got News!". All-Stars. June 2000.
  39. ^ "Celebrities with Heart Disease Picture | Celebs With Heart Problems". ABC News. August 6, 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  40. ^ Kaufman, Gil. "Backstreet Boys' Brian Littrell Diagnosed With Swine Flu". MTV News.
  41. ^ "Brian Littrell Reveals That He Suffers From Muscle Tension Dysphonia In New Backstreet Boys Documentary". Clizbeats. January 31, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  42. ^ Ross, Dena. (October 23, 2006). "Give Glory Where Glory Is Due". Retrieved November 22, 2007.
  43. ^ "Christianity Today – Brian Littrell". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on October 10, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2007.
  44. ^ Millar, Sarah. "Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell Goes Solo". Archived from the original on March 22, 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2007.
  45. ^ "Which Backstreet Boy is Jewish? - World News – Jerusalem Post".
  46. ^ "Brian Littrell".

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