A.J. McLean: My Daughter Ava Is My ‘Number One Fan’

09/22/2014 at 09:30 AM ET

A.J. McLean Lucky for Lupus
Tiffany Rose/Getty

After 20-plus years as a Backstreet Boy, it’s safe to say that A.J. McLean knows a thing or two about adoring fans.

The days of women tossing their undergarments onto the stage may have passed, but McLean, 36, is far happier with a girl who is more likely to playfully hurl food from her high chair: his daughter, 22-month-old Ava Jaymes.

“She is my number one fan!” he told PEOPLE Thursday while attending the Get Lucky for Lupus 6th Annual Poker Tournament, benefitting Lupus L.A., at the Avalon in Hollywood.

“When my wife turns on ‘In a World Like This,’ she is like, ‘Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!'”

He continues, “She’s definitely a daddy’s girl, she lights up, she’s laughing.”

And while there’s no doubt that Ava loves listening to her dad’s music, McLean admits he has yet to figure out how she became such a fan.

“She has never seen me perform it live, so I have no idea how she knows it’s my voice,” he explains. “But she’s super smart, and she is the raddest kid in the world.”

For the singer, parenthood seemingly brings a new revelation each day, but none more astounding than his daughter’s capacity to not only take in, but process the world around her.

“The most surprising thing would have to be just how much she picks up on every little thing, and retains it,” he says. “It’s this little person that can barely talk, but she knows how to communicate, knows what she wants, knows how to dictate it, and if she does’t get what she wants she is actually okay with it.”

With Ava rapidly approaching her second birthday, McLean happily admits that his daughter still holds the crown of the most level-headed member of the family.

“Most kids freak the hell out, but she’s okay if she doesn’t get what she wants,” he says with a laugh. “We’ll see how long that lasts, but for now she is the perfect kid.”

After almost three decades in the entertainment industry, McLean admits it all pales in comparison to having a child.

“It’s crazy! It’s the best thing in the world,” he says. “There is no more rewarding job — and I’ve been doing this, performing, for over 30 years — and this is the best job in the world, to be a father and have a little girl that admires me, loves me, unconditionally.”

— Reagan Alexander

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FILED UNDER: A.J. McLean , News , Parenting

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Showing 10 comments

bb on

As a long-time fan, I have to say, it’s so nice to see AJ settled and happy. You can just tell that his wife and daughter are his world, and now that all the group is married its just a different dynamic than the early days, but its a good one. I guess we’ve all grown up after 20 years 🙂 But as long as they keep making music, I’m going to be there, spending way too much money at their concerts! It’s a lot of fun.

D K on

Aww! Little girls love their daddies famous or not. So glad AJ and all the boys are settled and having somewhat normal lives even with all the hype that surrounds them. Keep up the good work.

Carrie on

Love BSB. So happy to see AJ doing so well.

Tif. on

He wasn’t in the group for 20+ Years… He was in his early twenties when the group formed. By this article’s calculations, he was less than 16 y/o. If you’re going to report on something, please fact-check.

Juli on

I’m so proud to say I’m a Backstreet Boys fan. They all had their ups and downs, and still came out of them okay. I’ve been a fan for nearly 15 years now and I’ll still be a fan 15 years from now. Congratulations to AJ and Rochelle on their obviously adorable and adored little girl.

mag on

Tif. the backstreet boys have been together since 1993 that’s 21 yrs.

Anonymous on

Can’t believe the Backstreet Boys have been a group for more than 20 years. Happy to see him doing good.

Dana on

His number one fan? More like his only fan.

Dara on

Hey Tif…if you are going to call people out on fact checking, I suggest you actually take the time to do so. BSB did not form when A.J. was in his 20’s, he was 15. They were formed in 1993. So yes, he has been with the group for over twenty years.

Mag on

Good for A.J. to have his only number one fan.