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Kevin Richardson: Sexiest Pop Star

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IT’S TIME TO SEPARATE THE MAN from the boys—Kevin Richardson from worldwide pop phenoms the Backstreet Boys, that is. Sure, bandmates Nick Carter, A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough and Brian Littrell each have their cadre of screaming teenage girls. Those fans scooped up all the tickets to the Boys’ current 39-city tour in one day and made their latest multiplatinum album, Millennium, the fastest-selling record of all time. But with his laser-bright green eyes and chiseled chin, Richardson, 28—deemed the group’s “most likely future male model” by The New York Times—is the one providing a guilty pleasure for Mom too. “He has a very strong presence; his whole aura is sexy,” says the quintet’s fashion stylist Rachel Rosenzweig. Yet the 6’1″ former captain of Lexington, Kentucky’s Estill County High School football team calls himself “pretty quiet. I guess I’m more the ‘internal’ type than the other guys.” And, according to Dorough, “the most humble and modest guy I know.” Still, immodest fans lob lingerie during concerts, not caring that Richardson found his own sweetie (a dancer he declines to name) seven years ago at Disneyland, where he began his showbiz career as a Ninja Turtle. “She walked into the cafeteria, and it was like someone turned a light on,” he says. As to his own incandescence, Richardson demurs. “Sexiness isn’t something that’s put on,” he says. “It just naturally comes out of you.” And it’s just as natural to notice.