The Real 5ive

Don't let the piercing fool you! He's the softest, most romantic guy in the group. Let's talk to J - the Hard Man of Pop (except he isn't).

Introduce yourself…
I'm J 5ive and I'm the old, frustrated, slightly temperamental but very caring member of the band.

Is there a gentle side under your tough exterior?
A very, very soft, gentle side. I'm not scared or embarrassed to show it. [Goes all shy and smiles] I don't know how to explain it. [Goes silent] Am I romantic? Extremely, I think everyone's got that side. If I'm with someone I really like, I'll be the softest person on earth - but never soft in the way that people can walk all over me.

Are you a love-'em-and-leave-'em kind of guy?
No, I've only ever had long relationships, and I don't mess about. People perceive me as the kind of bloke that has loads of one-night stands, but I've only ever had one and I bitterly regretted it.

Are you in a relationship at the moment?
No, and right now it's the silly things I miss, like lying there with someone and being pampered. Things I took for granted before, mean something to me now. I miss having that one person I can discuss everything with, who always knows how I'm feeling.

What do you love most about yourself?
The fact that I'm really, really honest and loyal. I'm also a strong person. It's caused problems in the past, but that's the way I am.

Were you ever bullied, or a bully at school?
No, cos I detest people who bully. It's a sad and pathetic thing to do. If anything, I got in trouble for trying to stop people bullying.

Why are you and Sean closer than the others?
It was an immediate thing. Sean and I aren't just group mates - he's like a younger brother. We're like the same person. When the group started, people always said Sean was copying things I did. But he reacts the same way as me, and we like the same things. [We suggest the two of them get married]. I know - we'd be perfect together!

What has 5ive given you that you wouldn't have had otherwise?
More of a business brain. I reckon I'll be a lot more knowledgeable by the time the group's finished, because we have to do so much for ourselves. It's also given me four really close friends who I wouldn't have had otherwise. And hopefully it'll make me loads of money - I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed!

What's been your most amazing life experience so far?
I really couldn't say. [Goes silent for ages] Maybe it was just being born!

How do you wish your life was different?
I wish I could see my family and friends more. One mate, I have only seen for half an hour since I've been in 5ive. I'd also change the amount of sleep I get. We're expected to be smiley all the time, but it's so difficult when you're working 16-hour days. [Thinks] Still, Rich smiles for all of us, doesn't he?

Are you bothered that Rich and Scott are more popular than you?
Not at all. It doesn't mean anything to me, whereas I think it means a lot to Scott, and if it does, I'm glad he's got it. If all the fans were 35-year-old women with nice cars, I might be a bit gutted, but…they're not.

Are you really the boss of the group?
When I joined 5ive I realized I was the oldest, but I made the mental decision not to assume the leadership role because it would distance me from the other guys.

What's the biggest sacrifice you've made for 5ive?
[Sadly] I think I'm making it at the moment by not seeing my family and friends. That's a massive sacrifice for me.

Do you like fame?
[Looks concerned] I don't know. If we've been to another country, it's when we're walking through the airport and everyone's nudging each other that we realize, "Yep, we're famous." We call it fully fledged and say to each other, "Oh, I forgot, we're fledged!" Anyone who says they don't like being recognized is lying, because it is pretty cool! But I hate being given special treatment, like if we go to a theme park and they barge everyone out of the way and let us go on rides first. Once that starts happening, people look at you and think 'look at that git thinking he's special.'

Tell us something about yourself no one would believe.
That I'm a virgin! [Raises his eyebrows and grins] Just joking! A lot of people don't believe that I'm mixed-race cos I didn't get any of the colour. When people see photos of my dad and I, they're like, "Who's that?" It's weird because Sean and I are both a quarter black - but Sean turned out a lot darker so he actually looks it. I have a go at my Dad and say that I got all the bad parts, like when my hair grows, it goes all big and curly, but I didn't get a nice dark shade of skin.

Are you afraid of death?
[Shakes his head] No, I'm not and I'm not being macho! We were on a plane recently when one of the engines failed, and I was saying to the lads, "Just chill out!" As long as you're not going to go through a painful death where you're lying there burning for 20 minutes or something, you shouldn't worry. If a plane goes down and you die, there's nothing you can do about it, is there? So what's the point in worrying? I think people get all mixed up with being afraid of death. I think they're just scared of not achieving everything they want to do before they die.

What's this life thing all about?
[Seriously] I'm not at all reliegious, so I don't have any religious theories about it. I think we're just here and that's it. People try to make up too many reasons and excuses about why we're here - like someone created us as an experiment or something. I don't think there's any big meaning to it…we just happened.

What's your philosophy on life?
I think you should enjoy it to the fullest, get what you can without hurting or stepping on anyone, and try to help other people enjoy it as well. Simple.