Angel says he faced "absolutely vicious attacks" from one former bandmate — but adds it's "all water under the bridge for me."
Ashley Parker Angel reunited with three of the guys from O-Town for the first time in ages at Ryan Cabrera’s recent wedding — and while he says he doesn’t like “holding on to grudges or band drama,” there’s clearly still a little beef with at least one of her former bandmates.
Angel, Erik Michael Estrada, Trevor Penick, Jacob Underwood, and Ikaika Kahoano were thrown together on the MTV reality show “Making the Band” back in 2000, before Kahoano left and was replaced by Dan Miller. After a couple of hits — including “Liquid Dreams” and “All or Nothing” — the guys disbanded in 2003 and pursued solo careers. MTV wanted to keep working with Angel, however, and gave him his own follow-up reality series, “There and Back.”
Appearing on Hollywood Raw Podcast with Dax Holt and Adam Glyn this week, Ashley opened up about what it was like behind the scenes when they went their separate ways — and was asked whether he thought there was any jealousy from the other guys when he landed his own show.
“Anybody that’s ever been on a team or a band, or a group of some kind and you share these incredible experiences, there’s this close-knit brotherhood that occurs. When O-Town broke up, we were all on the same page that it was probably time to try something new because our record label dropped us when MTV didn’t pick up a fourth season of the show,” he explained. “And at the same time, music styles were changing. The boy band bubble was kind of bursting and we were the last to kind of make it in there. I remember us all being very excited to pursue separate endeavors.”
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“To answer your question, it’s interesting because if you watch, if you watch ‘There and Back,’ there was one guy in particular in the band that did not show up … and it was the closest friend I had in the band,” said Angel, who didn’t name names. Looking at the episode breakdowns on Wikipedia, it seems Jacob, Trevor and Dan all made cameos — while Erik’s name does appear on the show’s IMDB page for one episode as well.
“All of the other guys showed up to support me and were really cool about it. And there was one member in the band that was very not cool about it, to be honest,” Angel continued. “I never, never wanted that. Especially when it’s a close, best friend. I love all the guys in the group, but this was like my best, my BFF in the band.”
Though he said most of the guys were “really supportive” of his own series, Angel also said there did end up “being a real disconnection between me and what was formerly my best friend in the band, to be completely honest.” He added, “And that always sucks because for me, I never wanted that to be the case.”
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In 2014, the band reunited with Trevor, Jacob, Dan and Erik, while Ashley decided against it to pursue a career on Broadway in “Wicked.” They’ve been performing as a quartet since.
“At the time, I booked my second lead role in Broadway and the timing was so awkward because I didn’t know what they wanted to do with it, or if they were gonna do just one show, a couple, a tour and it was gonna be over whatever and I had this contract to do a Broadway show, which was also a dream of mine,” Angel recalled. “So, I always try to keep it open and fun, open ended.”
He said that while he would always promote their new music while doing interviews for “Wicked,” he saw that when the other guys would do interviews — “especially with one member” — he realized “there was just a lot of slights, a lot of backhanded comments, a lot of unsupportive comments and that sucks, because I never really wanted that.”
“There have been some absolutely vicious attacks publicly against my character as a person, with this one member of the band who has not taken it well and has decided to also be pretty nasty at times,” he said, adding, “I never went there.”
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Angel ended up having a random reunion with three of the guys — including the mystery former BFF in question, he confirmed — at Ryan Cabrera’s wedding earlier this month. While Dan was out of the country, Jacob, Trevor and Erik were all there and the foursome appeared to have a great time catching up.
“It was the first time we’d all been together like that … it was the first time four of us, including me, had been together in that kind of, you know, at that kind of situation,” he said. “It was actually really awesome. I feel like in some ways you pick up right where are you left off.”
“Even though we don’t hang out all the time anymore, our lives have gone in different directions, that thread is still there,” he continued. “So it was like, for me personally, really awesome to hang out and connect on that level where everybody could relax and enjoy themselves at a party. It was an awesome fun weekend. And it sort of felt like the walls came down a little bit and I was even able to, you know, I was able to reconnect with all of them, which was really interesting.”
He added that he and his former best friend talked and “it was good.”
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“A lot of even what I’m talking about is like, it’s water under the bridge for me. I want to forgive and forget and move on. I don’t like holding on to grudges or band drama,” he went on. “I’ve always wanted things to feel really good. I hope they felt the same way. Because hanging out at the hanging out at Cabrera’s wedding, it was a first time it felt like we had a chance to just have fun together again, as guys that used to be in the band.”
Angel also didn’t totally rule out reuniting the guys at some point down the line and said he plans to support the group at a gig they’re doing in a couple weeks.
“I mean, as of right now, I’ll be honest, there’s a bit of bad blood between … we would need to clean that up,” he added, before (seemingly) joking, “Because I’m almost a little nervous that if I got on stage, he would try to trip me or push me off stage, maybe it would be a setup.”
In addition to posting thirst traps on Instagram, Angel is also a fitness coach these days and recently launched his own fitness app.
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