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From The Amazing Race to 'NSYNC's Lance Bass

Reichen Lehmkuhl's meteoric rise to fame & his hot new relationship

Ross von Metzke | August 01, 2006

In just three short years, 32-year-old mega hunk Reichen Lehmkuhl has gone from sharing a million dollar prize with then partner Chip Arndt on TV�s The Amazing Race to being romantically linked with one of the hottest names in pop music, the newly out Lance Bass. So why all the fuss over this former Air Force pilot?

So just how does a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy ascend through the ranks to become one half of the most talked about gay couple in America?

Win a reality TV show, for starters.

When Reichen Lehmkuhl crossed the finish line to split a million dollar prize with then partner Chip Arndt after winning season four of The Amazing Race in 2003, he became an overnight star in the gay community.

With fashion model good looks and the honor of being the most recognizable gay face in a medium that had just hit its stride, Lehmkuhl and Arndt became the overnight poster children for what was possible if gay marriage was legalized in America.

They graced the cover of The Advocate, scored airtime of Good Morning America and went on a public speaking tour across the country.

But almost as soon as that check cleared the bank, things began to fall apart.

Now split for more than two years, Lehmkuhl blames the pressures of having to keep their win a secret from friends and family while CBS waited to air the season for beginning the erosion of their relationship. Intense media pressure to drive a wedge between the two was the final nail in the coffin he says.

And so the pair went their separate ways: Ardnt to Miami where he serves as president for the city�s Democratic Lesbian & Gay Caucus, and Lehmkuhl to Hollywood to pursue a career in front of the camera.

A successful calendar followed, whith a scandal in tow. Dressed in barely there clothing, a Los Angeles printer refused a press run of Reichen�s 2005 calendar, prompting the star to rally community support for a discrimination suit.

While fighting the injustices of America, Lehmkuhl pursued acting of the side, landing a bit role on TV�s Young and the Restless and in the cast of E!�s Kill Reality, a pairing of reality stars from all different shows for a sort of murder mystery/thriller.

The result was a bust, though faithful fans flocked to Scorned, the resulting DVD, for a brief but satisfying glimpse at the star�s buns.

And then came The Reichen Show, Lehmkuhl�s short lived but well received gab fest on the now defunct Q Television.

On the show, the reality star tackled everything from discrimination in the armed forces to body image to coming out in America. For a time, he continued hosting duties on his Web site, www.Reichen.com.

But the reality show star found himself the subject of a tabloid feeding frenzy when he started popping up earlier this year with former 'NSYNC star Lance Bass – first in big groups with two or more ladies, and then last month, just the two of them.

Bass had been the subject of a media inquiry for months, with the gay press clamoring for any opportunity to out the young star. When he started popping up in public with Lehmkuhl, quiet pondering became an all out war.

The pair�s relationship seemed to go public earlier this month when they were caught looking quite cozy over 4th of July weekend in Provincetown, one of the premiere gay destinations of the summer. The media latched on, refusing to let go, resulting in Bass coming forward this week to People Magazine with his now history making announcement.

"I�m gay.�

And in a stable relationship, don�t forget, with Reichen, confirming what many had suspected for months. The two are, indeed, a couple.

What lies ahead for the pair is hard to say. With the media watching as intently as they�re likely to be, they face an uphill battle.

But one thing�s for sure. No couple in the history of gay Hollywood (and we�re talking men here) has ever been more visible, or more historic, than the pairing of Lance Bass and Reichen Lehmkuhl. – Gay Link Content

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