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Howie Dorough

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Howie Dorough
Dorough at a NKOTBSB show in Newcastle Arena, 2012
Howard Dwaine Dorough

(1973-08-22) August 22, 1973 (age 50)
Other names
  • "Howie D"
  • "Tony Donetti"
Alma materValencia College
  • Singer
  • actor
Years active1990–present
Leigh Boniello
(m. 2007)
Musical career
GenresR&B, pop rock, dance
  • Vocals
Member ofBackstreet Boys
Formerly ofNKOTBSB

Howard Dwaine Dorough (born August 22, 1973),[1] also known as Howie D, is an American singer. He is a member of the pop vocal group Backstreet Boys.

Early life[edit]

Dorough was born August 22, 1973, in Orlando, Florida,[1] where he met his friend and bandmate AJ McLean through a mutual vocal coach at the Latin carnival in 1989.[2][3] His mother Paula Flores-Dorough, a school worker, is Puerto Rican, and his father, Hoke Dwaine Dorough, a police officer, former army soldier, real estate developer[4] and bank security,[5] was Irish American.[6] He is the youngest by 10 years of five siblings. His sister, Pollyanna, is also a singer.[7] Another sister, Caroline, died of lupus in September 1998.[7]


Early career[edit]

Dorough's love and passion for entertainment started when he was three years old, singing "Babyface" with his little guitar.[8] He started performing around age six or seven, thanks to his sister Polyanna, singing during mass in the church choir and having his first role in the musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz as a singer and actor.[9] Throughout elementary school, his mother enrolled him in children's community theaters and performed in many community theater productions of top musicals, among them "Sound Of Music," "Showboat" and "Camelot"[10] and got him in singing/voice and acting lessons by putting him in a performing arts academy where he also took dance lessons in classical ballet, tap, and jazz. He even was in an all-boy ballet troupe. He did Little League once before switching to the arts. During junior high to high school, Dorough sang in the choir, even qualified for All-State Chorus and talent shows, and joined the drama club, acting in school productions and a school TV show called "Macho & Camacho." He got discovered by an acting agent when he was 14 and also managed to land roles in movies, such as Parenthood starring comedian Steve Martin at 15 and Cop and a Half starring Burt Reynolds, Nickelodeon TV production pilot "Welcome Freshman" and star in a commercial for Disney World under the stage name, Tony Donetti.[11] He didn't particularly like this, but his agent thought he was Italian and believed it would help him to get discovered.[12] Although he enjoyed it his entire life, like his bandmates AJ and Nick, he too was a victim of bullying as a child for his lack of Spanish language, his falsetto vocal range when he was 12 and his weight.[13][14][15][16]

His choir teacher asked Dorough to perform the National Anthem at his high school basketball game. He agreed but forgot the words when it was time to sing.[17] Despite the extreme embarrassment, he got right back on his horse and began performing again when he sang 'Unchained Melody' at his school talent show, and got a standing ovation.[18] He also auditioned for a Latin boy band Menudo, but he did not make it.[19] He was also involved in a peer counseling group called Friends, where he talked to other kids about living "a clean life, having fun, going to school, avoiding drugs."[20][21] When he's not working in the spotlight, he works as a tour guide in Universal Orlando[22] and worked with his sister at Zarro's Bread Basket one summer in New York when he was 14.[23]

He was selected 'Most Talented' and graduated from Edgewater High School in 1991, the Top 10 of his class.[24] After high school, Dorough auditioned for Backstreet Boys under his stage name, but they lost his headshot and contact info; however, after six months, they were able to track him down, thanks to AJ, and was already in the group.[25] He got a scholarship, and attended both University of Central Florida and Valencia College with an Associate of Arts Degree with *NSYNC member, Chris Kirkpatrick.[26]

Backstreet Boys[edit]

Dorough (left) and Nick Carter with the Backstreet Boys, 2005

Lou Pearlman created the Backstreet Boys in 1993, selecting Howie Dorough along with AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, and Kevin Richardson. They were then booked to perform at many venues, such as high schools and shopping malls, and eventually signed a contract with Jive Records in 1994. They slowly became popular in European countries, starting with Germany, and embarked on a tour supporting their debut album. The album slowly climbed to the top ten slots in most countries and was on its way to selling more than 8 million copies.

While their second album, Backstreet's Back, was being released in Europe, they released their first album in the United States, a compilation of both their international debut and Backstreet's Back. The album climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 14 million copies. Meanwhile, Backstreet's Back became an even more significant success than their debut album, opening at the number-one spot in many countries.

Dorough is most known for his infamous fart, which was recorded and used as a part of the beat for the song "The Call" from the Backstreet Boys' fourth album, Black And Blue.[Billboard 1]

They started recording Millennium in 1998 and released it in May 1999. It became one of the biggest-selling albums ever, taking number one in many countries. Their first single from Millennium's follow-up album, Black & Blue, Shape Of My Heart was released to radio on October 3. Black and Blue recorded first-week sales of 1.59 million copies in the US, making the Backstreet Boys the first artists to back-to-back million album sales.

After releasing their greatest hits album, they went on hiatus and regrouped in 2003. They released their next album, Never Gone in 2005. While critics negatively reviewed it, it enjoyed a lot of commercial success. They released their next album, Unbreakable in 2007 and the follow-up This Is Us in 2009. Their eighth album In a World Like This was released on July 30, 2013. Their ninth album DNA was released on January 25, 2019, with a new headlining tour to follow in May of the same year. They have become one of the biggest-selling artists of all time, with record sales exceeding 135 million worldwide.

Solo projects[edit]

Dorough worked as a producer for singer/songwriter George Nozuka and Katelyn Tarver as part of his management partnership with former 3deep member CJ Huyer, called HC Entertainment, formed in 2004. Since 2010, he's also been managing a Canadian band Neverest, under Dorough's company, 3 Street Management.

In 2006, he started work on his first solo album. The album would include Spanish/Latin songs as well as American ones. But he eventually changed his mind on the style of the album. Noting that his Spanish was not the best and that he did not want to be something he was not. Around 2010, he started to work on an album that was more pop/r&b style. Dorough's first solo album, Back to Me, was eventually released on November 15, 2011. The album featured many songs that Dorough co-wrote himself. The album's first single, "100", was released in the summer of 2011 and received moderate airplay primarily in Canada.[27] Also in November 2011, Dorough joined Britney Spears for her Femme Fatale Tour in South America.[28]

In 2015, while Howie had not announced that he was working on a second solo album, some producers mentioned working with Howie on a new album that is said to be released the same year. On May 9, 2019, he announced on Twitter and Instagram that his new solo album, "Which One Am I," will be released on July 12, 2019.[29][30]

TV and film appearances[edit]

While in the Backstreet Boys, Dorough has done some acting over the years. Appearing in Roswell, ABC's television series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch in the episode "The Big Head" as an egotistic rock star named Strum, and voiced Santa Claus on the Nick Jr animated series Dora the Explorer in the Christmas episode "A Present for Santa" and did a skit on Saturday Night Live on May 15, 1999. In September 2002, Dorough and the rest of The Backstreet Boys made special guest appearances on the children's cartoon Arthur. In 2013, Dorough made his motion picture debut by appearing in the comedy This Is the End along with the rest of the Backstreet Boys. On February 5, 2021, Dorough appeared on Long Island Medium: There in Spirit to receive a psychic reading from Theresa Caputo about his father and sister.[31][32] On February 1, 2022, Dorough competed in a dance competition for Dirty Dancing on Fox.[33][34] On June 2017, dorough appeared on the USA network show Big Star Little Star with his then 7 year old son james.[35] On February 7 2024, Dorough appear on the show Name that Tune competing against 98 degrees Drew Lachey.[36][37][38]

Other ventures[edit]

Dorough also founded a company called Sweet D, Inc. with his older brother John.[39] The company specializes in real estate development and consulting. It has built numerous condominiums, hotels, and waterfront properties.[4] He's also founded and held the positions of CEO, chairman, and director in several other companies, most notably Dorough Lupus Foundation and Howiedoit Productions, Inc.[40][41]

Early in 2020, Dorough starred in a musical loosely based on his life called Howie D: Back in the Day at The Rose Theater in Omaha, Nebraska.[42] In the show, Dorough's sister, Pollyanna, was played by Natalie Hanson and his Mother was played by Christina Maria.

Personal life[edit]

In September 1998, Dorough's sister, Caroline Dorough-Cochran, died of lupus.[43] After her death, Dorough established the Dorough Lupus Foundation (DLF) in her honor to help raise money for lupus research. Howie has organized many charity events for the foundation, including concerts, auctions, and annual cruises. The foundation helps raise awareness about the disease, provides financial support for those who cannot afford treatment, and raises money for research.[44]

According to the band's YouTube page, he has Scandinavian, African, Iberian, Native American, Central and South American, Scottish, Welsh, Balkan, and Middle Eastern ancestry.[45][46]


Dorough has been private about his romantic connections. According to "Entertainment Tonight", he dated his singing partner Jennifer during his final year of high school, but they broke up due to his career in 1994, leaving him heartbroken.[47] While touring Europe in 1995 or 1996, he briefly dated a woman named Sabina[48] and then dated a Canadian model named Claudia Opdenkelder. He stated, "I had come out of a relationship, so I wasn't looking for anything serious."[49]

On December 6, 2000, Dorough met Leigh Anne Boniello, a film executive producer for Warner Brothers and DreamWorks, who was working as the webmaster for the official Backstreet Boys website at the time.[49] Howie and Leigh dated for six years, and in 2006, he proposed to her in front of her family on New Year's.[50] A year later, on December 8, 2007, they married in a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. James Cathedral, where he was baptized and sang choir at in Orlando, Florida.[51][52] They have two sons together.[53][54] Dorough and his wife help recently launch her first line of eco-friendly handbags called Eslla, a luxury company she designed and founded with her friend of more than a decade, Charlotte Wienckoski.[55]



Title Year Peak positions
Back to Me 56
Live from Toronto
  • Released: March 13, 2012
  • Format: Digital download
Which One Am I
  • Released: July 12, 2019
  • Label:
  • Formats: Digital Download, CD


Year Single Album
2011 100 Back to Me
Lie to Me
2012 Going Going Gone
2019 No Hablo Español Which One Am I
The Me I'm Meant to Be
Monsters In My Head


  • "Every Minute, Every Hour" (co-writer) (2gether)
  • "Show Me What You Got" (Bratz featuring BoA and Howie Dorough)
  • "I'll Be There" (Howie Dorough featuring Sarah Geronimo)
  • "It Still Matters ~愛は眠らない(Ai wa Nemuranai)~" (The Gospellers featuring Howie Dorough)
  • "I Like It" (co-writer) (So Real, Mandy Moore)
  • "If I Say" (Howie Dorough featuring U)
  • "Worth Fighting For" (Howie Dorough featuring U)
  • "New Tomorrow" (featuring Howie D) (A Friend in London feat Howie Dorough)


TV series & movies
Year Film Role Notes
1989 Parenthood Student in Class (uncredited)
1990 Welcome Freshmen Lead (Pilot)
1998 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Himself Episode: "Battle of the Bands"
1998–1999 Saturday Night Live Himself and Musical guest "Julianne Moore/Backstreet Boys" (Season 23: episode 16)
"Sarah Michelle Gellar/Backstreet Boys" (Season 24: episode 19)
2000 Roswell Alien (cameo) Season 1 episode 22 "Destiny"
2002 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Strum Season 7 episode 2 "The Big Head"
2002 Arthur Himself Episode: "Arthur, It's Only Rock and Roll" Guest Voice
2002 Sesame Street Himself
2005 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Himself Musical Guest with the Backstreet Boys
2009 El Hormiguero Himself Musical Guest With The Backstreet Boys
2012 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Himself Musical Guest with Backstreet Boys
2013 El Hormiguero Himself Musical Guest With The Backstreet Boys
2013 This Is the End himself With the Backstreet Boys, performing "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"
2014 I Heart Nick Carter Himself minor
2000-2014 Dora the Explorer Voice Acting Played Santa in A Present For Santa and the Singing Bridge in Dora's Pirate Adventure
2016 Dead 7 The Vaquero
2021 Long Island Medium: There in Spirit Himself Season 1 episode 6
2017 Big Star Little Star Himself with son James Dorough
2024 Name That Tune Himself

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mclean, AJ. "How Max Martin Turned a Fart Into the Epic Beat in Backstreet Boys' 'The Call': AJ McLean Tells All". Billboard. Retrieved January 27, 2019.


  1. ^ a b "Backstreet Bahama Boys". CBS News. May 16, 2000. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  2. ^ "Winners Make All". Rolling Stone. No. 832. January 20, 2000. p. 45.
  3. ^ McLean, Denise I. (June 22, 2009). Backstreet Mom: A Mother's Tale of Backstreet Boy AJ McLean's Rise to Fame, Struggle with Addiction, and Ultimate Tr. BenBella Books, Inc. ISBN 978-1-935251-43-9.
  4. ^ a b "Backstreet Boy "Howie D" and Brother John Talk On Their $60 Million Real Estate Projects". YouTube. October 7, 2020.
  5. ^ "Hoke Dwaine Dorough's Obituary on Orlando Sentinel". Orlando Sentinel.
  6. ^ McGibbon, Rob (1997). The Backstreet Boys : official biography. London: BoxTree/Macmillan Publishers. p. 22. ISBN 0-7522-2406-9.
  7. ^ a b "The Melody of Heartache: Howie Dorough". Celebrity Health Minute.[dead link]
  8. ^ McGibbon, Rob (1997). The Backstreet Boys: official biography. London: BoxTree/Macmillan Publishers. p. 22. ISBN 0-7522-2406-9.
  9. ^ Johns, Michael-Anne (1998). Hangin' With the Backstreet Boys. Scholastic, Incorporated. ISBN 9780590047111.
  10. ^ "WILLIAMS' DAUGHTER HAS MAGIC MOMENT". OrlandoSentinel.com. March 5, 2000.
  11. ^ "Howie Dorough - Actor, Singer - Biography". Biography. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  12. ^ McGibbon, Rob (1997). The Backstreet Boys : official biography. London: BoxTree/Macmillan Publishers. p. 21. ISBN 0-7522-2406-9.
  13. ^ "Backstreet Boys". Nickelodeon Magazine. September 1998.
  14. ^ "Backstreet Boys' Howie Dorough Releases Single Off Upcoming Family Album Based on His Childhood". PEOPLE.com.
  15. ^ "The Magic Box Interview: Howie D". YouTube. November 9, 2011. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021.
  16. ^ "Howie D from Backstreet Boys Interview: Howie Was A Fat Kid (2 of 2)". YouTube. December 23, 2011. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021.
  17. ^ McGibbon, Rob (1997). The Backstreet Boys: official biography. London: BoxTree/Macmillan Publishers. pp. 29–30. ISBN 0-7522-2406-9.
  18. ^ McGibbon, Rob (1997). The Backstreet Boys : official biography. BoxTree/Macmillan Publishers. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-0752224060.
  19. ^ Florino, Rick (September 3, 2013). "Howie D of Backstreet Boys and Pauly D Talk "In a World Like This Tour"". ARTISTdirect. Archived from the original on September 14, 2016.
  20. ^ Givin' it their all : the Backstreet Boys' rise to the top (1st ed.). Ballantine Books. June 1998. p. 89. ISBN 0-345-48288-3.
  21. ^ McGibbon, Rob (1997). The Backstreet Boys : official biography. BoxTree/Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0752224069.
  22. ^ "STILL ON TOP".
  23. ^ "The Official Backstreet Boys Summer Tour Mag". Tiger Beat. October 1998.
  24. ^ "Howard Dorough from Edgewater High School - Classmates". www.classmates.com.
  25. ^ McGahan, Michelle (January 30, 2015). "Howie D Reveals How His Stage Name Almost Kept Him From Being in BSB". PopCrush. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  26. ^ Helligar, Jeremy (February 8, 1999). "Boy Power". People. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  27. ^ "Howie D. for Sarah CD launch". Telebisyon.net. February 27, 2010. Archived from the original on April 7, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  28. ^ "Britney Spears Recruits A Backstreet Boy For Tour". MTV. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  29. ^ "Howie D on Instagram: "Surprise! My new solo album - Which One Am I? - comes out on July 12th but starting tomorrow you can pre-order it. Not only that but…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021.
  30. ^ D, Howie (May 9, 2019). "Surprise! My new solo album - Which One Am I? - comes out on July 12th but starting tomorrow you can pre-order it. Not only that, but you'll be able to get one of the new songs, "No Hablo Español", instantly when do you! Which One Am I? is an album made for families. #WOAIpic.twitter.com/DgulnPFrjX". @howied.
  31. ^ "Meghan Trainor and BSB's Howie Dorough get psychic readings from the Long Island Medium - Music News - ABC News Radio". abcnewsradioonline.com.
  32. ^ "'Long Island Medium: There in Spirit' Trailer (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight.
  33. ^ "Brie Bella, Tyler Cameron and More to Compete in 'Dirty Dancing' Special". Us Weekly. September 28, 2021.
  34. ^ Major, Michael. "Corbin Bleu & More Join FOX Celebrity Dancing Competition Series THE REAL DIRTY DANCING". BroadwayWorld.com.
  35. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Howie Dorough on Juggling Work With Fatherhood & How His Son 'Wants to Be the Next Backstreet Boy!' | Entertainment Tonight". www.etonline.com. May 31, 2017. Retrieved March 7, 2024.
  36. ^ Scoop, T. V. "Scoop: Coming Up on NAME THAT TUNE on FOX - Tuesday, February 6, 2024". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  37. ^ "Listings - NAME THAT TUNE on FOX | TheFutonCritic.com". www.thefutoncritic.com. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  38. ^ "Name That Tune - Divas vs Boybands - Howie D from Backstreet Boys vs Drew Lachey from 98 Degrees". YouTube. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  39. ^ "Sweet D, Inc. Corporate Details". Visulate. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  40. ^ "Dorough Lupus Foundation". Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  41. ^ "Howiedoit Productions, Inc. Corporate Details". Visulate. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  42. ^ "Howie D: Back In The Day". Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  43. ^ "Backstreet's Howie Addresses Loss Of His Sister". MTV.
  44. ^ "Aaron Carter, LFO To Join Backstreet Boy Howie D. At Lupus Benefit". MTV.
  45. ^ "Which Backstreet Boy is Jewish? - World News - Jerusalem Post". www.jpost.com. August 29, 2019.
  46. ^ September 1, Diane Jameson (August 28, 2019). "The Backstreet Boys' MyHeritage DNA Results Are Back!". MyHeritage Blog.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  47. ^ "Backstreet Boys Talk Heartbreak & First New Music in 5 Years (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight". www.etonline.com.
  48. ^ Stonebraker, Samantha (1999). Backstreet Boys: secrets only a girlfriend can tell (1st St. Martin's Griffin ed.). New York: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 12–13. ISBN 0-312-26114-4.
  49. ^ a b "Howie Dorough Dishes on His 'Bachelor'-Like Romance Ahead of 10th Wedding Anniversary (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight.
  50. ^ "Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough Gets Engaged". PEOPLE.com.
  51. ^ "OK! Exclusive: Howie Dorough Married!". OK! Magazine. December 8, 2007. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  52. ^ "Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough Gets Married". People. December 8, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  53. ^ "Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough Welcomes a Son". People. May 7, 2009. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  54. ^ "Howie Dorough, Backstreet Boy, Welcomes Son Holden John: Picture". US Weekly. February 19, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  55. ^ Neale, Rick. "Backstreet Boys' Howie D and his wife launch Eslla, an eco-friendly luxury handbag brand". Florida Today.
  56. ^ "Howie D – Oricon". Oricon. October 12, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2017.

External links[edit]