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Backstreet Boys AJ McLean is learning how to separate his onstage persona from his real life.

In a new interview with E! News, the singer says that as one component of his wellness journey he practices “turning off AJ and letting him live in the world of Backstreet.”

As part of that separation, AJ — which stands for Alexander James — refers to his off-stage self as Alex. “The biggest thing for me is knowing that AJ is a persona,” he says. “AJ is my job, but Alex is who I am.”

“When AJ’s done doing work, I’m Alex,” he adds. “I’m a husband, I’m a father, I’m a friend.”

He says that since implementing those boundaries he’s “much happier than I’d ever been.”

AJ is dad to daughters Elliott, 10, and Lyric, 6, with wife Rochelle. Back in March, the two announced they were temporarily separating to work on themselves.

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