Jonathan Knight is best known for singing in the boy band New Kids on the Block in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Jonathan Rashleigh Knight was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on November 29, 1968. Along with his brother Jordan, he achieved celebrity status in the late 1980s as part of the boy band New Kids on the Block. In 1994, when the group split up, Knight sought a low-profile life working in real estate. In 2008, he resurfaced in the spotlight when NKOTB reunited and in 2011 when he came out as gay to the public.
The Quiet Kid
Jonathan Rashleigh Knight was one of six children born to Allan Knight, a carpenter turned Episcopal priest, and Marlene Putnam, a social worker. (His parents, who were Canadian, split during Knight's childhood years.) Although a shy kid, Knight was a standout singer in his church choir.
New Kids on the Block
His introverted demeanor didn't deter Knight from joining the boy band New Kids on the Block in 1984 with his little brother Jordan. Neighborhood friend and band member Donnie Wahlberg recruited the siblings. The trio, along with Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood, completed NKOTB. Maurice Starr, the man behind the boy band New Edition, produced their sound.
NKOTB's 1986 debut album didn't set the charts ablaze, but the 1988 follow-up, Hangin' Tough, did, with hits like "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)." The boys' slick dance moves and good looks made them wildly popular, especially with teenage girls. They sold a whopping 80 million records.
Quitting the Band
In 1994, NKOTB called it a day, with Knight leading the charge. Panic attacks from performing and facing the constant barrage of fans made him want out. While other members went on to do solo albums, films or reality TV, Knight found fulfillment buying, selling and renovating properties as a real estate developer.
New Kids On The Block Reunion
In 2008, the band reunited, took to the stage and released a single "Summertime" and an album entitled The Block, which shot to the top of the Billboard charts. Since then, the group has continued to perform together and tour, including sold out "cruise" tours in 2010 and 2011. The NKOTB cruises have since become an annual event. The band released the album 10 in 2013.
In 2011, NKOTB reunited and released new tunes. But Knight found himself in a media frenzy for other reasons when a previous love interest, singer Tiffany, accidentally revealed that he was gay on Bravo's Watch What Happens: Live television show. He confirmed the rumors, explaining that he never hid his sexuality or felt the need to discuss it publicly, either.
The media buzz passed, but Knight made headlines again in April 2013—just days after the release of NKOTB's album, 10, on April 2, 2013—when he left the stage in the middle of the band's performance at New York City's iHeartRadio Theater. According to ABC News, prior to his abrupt exit, the singer "reportedly looked uncomfortable and was texting on his phone while the rest of the band danced." Knight returned to the stage after two songs, but left again after three more.
NKOTB, with Knight, went on to perform "We Own Tonight" on the Today show embarking on the 2013 Package Tour—also featuring Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees—to support their new album. A European tour followed in 2014 and their Main Event tour kicked off in 2015.
Since 2008 Knight has been in a relationship with fitness coach Harley Rodriguez. The two were contestants on CBS's 26th season of The Amazing Race, which aired in early 2015. The couple placed 9th overall.