Kevin Scott Richardson (born October 3, 1971) is an American singer, model, actor, and composer, best known as a member of the Backstreet Boys. Richardson was inducted into Kentucky Music Hall of Fame along with his cousin and bandmate Brian Littrell on April 10, 2015.
Kevin Scott Richardson was born in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Ann (Littrell) and Jerald Wayne Richardson, Sr. He is the youngest of three brothers, and is a first cousin of fellow Backstreet Boys member Brian Littrell. He has been singing in church choir since he was a child and he started acting in high school.
As a youth, he was a chess club member and acted in school plays such as "Bye, Bye Birdie" at his school in Kentucky, Estill County High School. He was also a football captain.
In Florida, he worked as a cast member in Walt Disney World. He was a backstage tour guide and costume characters, most notably as Aladdin and one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There he also met his future wife Kristin Willits, who was playing the character of Belle from "Beauty and the Beast." He worked at Walt Disney World until he joined the Backstreet Boys in 1993.
In 1993, Richardson joined a new group called Backstreet Boys. After he joined, the group was still looking for one more member so Richardson called Brian Littrell, who was Richardson's maternal first cousin, to ask him to audition for the group. Littrell was immediately accepted, and the next day he joined the group. After Littrell joined, the quintet took shape.
Richardson was part of the group until 2006, when he announced his departure to pursue other interests and "move on with the next chapter of his life." He recorded five albums with the group in the span of 13 years. On June 23, 2006 he issued the following statement on the band's website:
After 13 years of what can only be described as a dream come true, I have decided that it is time to leave the Backstreet Boys. It was a very tough decision for me but one that was necessary in order to move on with the next chapter of my life. Howard, Brian, Alex and Nick will always be my little brothers and have my utmost love and support. I would like to thank the Backstreet fans for all the beautiful memories we have shared together and look forward to including you in the next phase of my life. I wish my brothers continued success and look forward to their new album.
On November 23, 2008, for the first time after he left, Richardson rejoined his former bandmates on stage in Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles. He performed the encore, "Shape of My Heart" with the group.
The Backstreet Boys, including Richardson, appeared on the November 4, 2010, episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Richardson first appeared in a pre-taped segment in which they surprised a fan who thought she was merely being flown in to participate in a "Backstreet Boys' Biggest Fan" contest. Moments later, Richardson joined the group in the show's studio and performed "I Want It That Way" live with them.
On July 1, 2011, Richardson again joined the Backstreet Boys on stage at Staples Center, Los Angeles, as part of the NKOTBSB Tour. He sang "I Want It That Way" with the group and the mash up at the end of the show along with NKOTB members.
Being back with my brothers again feels great. I love these guys. We have gone through so much together. We just have a chemistry... a bond that will always be.
--Kevin Richardson, Rolling Stone
On the October 25, 2011, episode of On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Richardson stated that he was going to be at a Backstreet Boys beach party in Nassau, Bahamas, on December 3, 2011. The party is part of the group's second annual cruise. In addition to being in the party, Richardson performed several songs with the group on the boat in the evening. In the announcement, he also stated that he would love to perform with the group again on a more regular basis.
On April 29, 2012, during a live show in London, Backstreet Boys confirmed that Richardson was back permanently with the group and would be recording a new album with them in July 2012. Richardson also appeared along with the group on Good Morning America on July 17, 2012, announcing his return, their new album, and their first performance as a five-piece group since 2006 at the morning show's Summer Concert Series on August 31, 2012. It was also his first TV appearance with the group since he returned. Regarding his return, Richardson gave the following statement: "Being back with my brothers again feels great. I love these guys. We have gone through so much together. We just have a chemistry... a bond that will always be."
In an interview with On Air with Ryan Seacrest on July 24, 2012, Richardson explained that he came back to the group because he realized how much joy singing and music gives him. He mentioned that the Christmas concert he did in December 2011 helped him rediscover his love of music and how much he missed it.
In 2003, Richardson composed the soundtrack of an animated movie, The Spirit Bear, which was due out in 2010.
On December 18, 2011, he headlined a Christmas concert titled "Home for the Holidays" with Rob Gonzalez. The concert was hosted by Montage Beverly Hills luxury hotel and it benefited the Angeles Clinic Foundation of Los Angeles.
In 2012, Richardson began working on his first solo album. The album will include songs that have influenced him over the years. The album was supposed to be released in 2012 but delayed as he returned as an active member of the Backstreet Boys the same year.
He has been a model for Versace. He also modeled for Vogue and is a brand ambassador for TAG Heuer.
Along with the rest of the Backstreet Boys, Richardson has made appearances on Arthur, Sesame Street, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and This Is the End.
In 2003, during Backstreet Boys' hiatus, Richardson played the role of Billy Flynn in the Broadway production of Chicago. and in 2003, he made an appearance on Punk'd where he got punk'd by Ashton Kutcher.
On November 14, 2006, several months after he left the Backstreet Boys, he returned to New York City with many Chicago alumni for the 10th anniversary of the show. From late November to December 3, 2006 Richardson played the role of Billy Flynn in Toronto, and from February 4 to March 4, 2007, he played the role in Japan. He also returned to Japan to play the role in late September and early October 2009.
Richardson starred in his first TV movie in the 2009 Christian drama Love Takes Wing, based on a book by Janette Oke. He played the role of Cyrus.
In 2010, Richardson starred in The Bloody Indulgent, a vampire themed musical film. In the same year he also starred opposite Susan Traylor, Daniela Sea, Pleasant Gehman, Garrett Swann and Michael Maize in Steve Balderson's feature film drama The Casserole Club. Richardson received an Independent Vision Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Casserole Club at Vision Fest in New York City in 2011.
Also in 2011, he starred in a short film, Unwound. It is an entry for Producers Guild of America premiere Weekend Shorts Event contest to benefit the Debra Hill Foundation. The film only took 51 hours from script to final cut.
In 2013, Richardson and the other Backstreet Boys appeared as fictional version of themselves in the comedy film This Is The End.
Richardson has been married to Kristin Kay Willits since 2000. Their engagement was announced on MTV in February 2000, and the couple married on June 17, 2000, at Lee County's Cathedral Domain in rural eastern Kentucky. Together they have two sons: Mason Frey was born in 2007 and Maxwell Haze in 2013.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license