A Look Back At Danielle Fishel And NSYNC Icon Lance Bass' Former Relationship

Prior to coming out to the world in 2006, NSYNC superstar Lance Bass was in a relationship with Danielle Fishel, who played Topanga on the sitcom "Boy Meets World." They dated for approximately one year during Fishel's senior year of high school. Their relationship may not have ended the way Fishel hoped at the time, but it spawned a strong friendship that has persisted throughout the years.

In an episode of Fishel's podcast "Pod Meets World," which she co-hosts with fellow former "Boy Meets World" stars Rider Strong and Will Friedle, many details of her and Bass' romance were shared. The duo first met when Fishel hosted a live, televised event for the TGIF programming block in between TV episodes. When asked which boy band she thought should play, she chose NSYNC. Although Fishel didn't know it when they were younger, Bass admitted, "I was so nervous to meet this one right here, Danielle. 'Cause I had the biggest crush on her."

Bass got Fishel's phone number with the help of another NSYNC member

On "Pod Meets World," Lance Bass said his goal for the live event was to get Danielle Fishel's phone number. The feeling was mutual — as she talked with him and Justin Timberlake, she hoped Bass would ask for her number. Fishel even stayed a little later than she needed to, waving the NSYNC guys off on their bus while still waiting for Bass to ask for those digits.

However, it seemed that they were a missed connection. Fishel saw the bus begin to drive away, and she started to leave, but then she heard someone call for her. "And I stopped, and I turned around, and it was Justin," Fishel said. He asked for her number and said it was for Bass. "And sure enough, a couple days later," Fishel continued, "I had a missed call and a voicemail from Lance — and it was Lance but Justin also screaming in the background about how nervous Lance was to be calling me."

The couple started dating in 1999. Since Bass was touring with NSYNC, most of his relationship with Fishel was long-distance and happened over phone calls. She got to go to many NSYNC shows and tour with them briefly while "Boy Meets World" had weeks off, and she spent Christmas the year they dated with his family in Mississippi.

Bass was Fishel's senior prom date

Lance Bass visited the "Boy Meets World" set a couple times. He was on set for the wedding episode between Danielle Fishel's character and Ben Savage's character. On "Pod Meets World," she admitted to wondering what a wedding with Lance would be like then. "And then he went to my high school prom with me," Fishel said, "and then he broke up with me, and I was devastated."

Fishel's senior prom was in 2000, and she showed a photo of the two of them from that night. Bass recalled being thrilled to join Fishel at prom because he didn't go to his own. Fishel felt bad because many people were angling to see NSYNC's own Lance Bass at a party before the dance. She didn't realize his appearance would cause havoc. Bass said, "It was the perfect '90s Disney Channel movie." He still enjoyed himself, though his excitement was soured by anxiety about what might happen after because he and Fishel got a hotel room.

"And 'cause Lance and I had a very wonderful, very warm, loving relationship, but it was completely lacking of intimacy — intimacy in the romantic sense," Fishel said. She had some ideas of what she thought would happen on prom night, "And Lance was very nervous about what my vision for that night was going to be." Ultimately, going to prom together led to Bass ending the relationship, though he told Fishel distance was the reason.

They are still good friends

After Lance Bass broke up with Danielle Fishel, she was roommates with Chris Kirkpatrick's girlfriend and still surrounded by the world of NSYNC. Fishel said on "Pod Meets World" that she hoped she and Bass would get back together and live happily ever after. Will Friedle joked, "So just curiously, Lance, why did you break up with her?" The singer quipped, "Oh, she knows what she did," and everyone laughed. Fishel said, "It turns out I'm not Lance's type."

She recalled being blindsided by the breakup and "was in hysterics" when she called her mom to share the news. Fishel's mother asked if Bass might be gay, and Fishel shot that down at the time but wasn't totally sure. Bass later came out to her at a Halloween party sometime around 2000.

They still have a strong friendship. Fishel said, "The biggest and most amazing takeaway for me from our relationship is that Lance is still one of the greatest, is a great love of my life," just purely platonically. Bass felt the same. They remarked how it doesn't matter how long they go without seeing each other — they never miss a beat. As of 2024, both Bass and Fishel are happily married to other people. Michael Turchin is Bass' husband, and they have two children. Fishel also has two kids with her husband, Jensen Karp, who once had the whole internet after him after a surprising viral moment.

Bass and Fishel want to make a movie about their prom night

During the "Pod Meets World" episode on their relationship and friendship, Danielle Fishel and Lance Bass explained they're making a movie about going to the prom together. Comedians and actors Lauren Lapkus and Mary Holland are writing the script for the movie. Bass felt that his experience at prom with Fishel was relatable to others: "I think so many people can relate to that story, where I think so many people in the LGBTQ community, their prom night was the night they were like, 'Oh, wait a minute. This can't happen anymore ... I can't do this anymore.' So that ... was the catalyst for me that made me start to accept myself."

Bass discussed his friendship with Fishel with Out, explaining that they became closer friends as they got older. He called their prom night "an interesting night from being fun to scary" and expressed excitement at Holland and Lapkus's involvement in the movie project. In a podcast interview with Kyle Meredith on his eponymous show, Holland said, "It's a really heartwarming story about friendship and self-discovery."

In April 2023, Fishel told TV Insider that they had sold the movie, but the buyers had decided not to make it. However, she remains determined to find a way forward "because that is a project that Lance and I are both very passionate about, and we will get it made."