GAY FANS THINK JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE IS THE COOLEST!

Published on: December 31, 2002

Pop star Justin Timberlake is "in sync" with gay fans -- he's been voted one of the "Coolest Straight People of 2002" by the gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate.

The *NSYNC heartthrob and former boyfriend of Britney Spears was picked as the publication's December cover boy.

The magazine singled out the boy-band member largely for his open acceptance of his many gay fans and the fact that he ignores gay rumors -- unlike Tom Cruise.

"It's funny to be talking about gay people being into me and *NSYNC right now," he told the magazine.

"The least of my concerns is whether or not people think my music is 'too gay.'"

And he said: "If I was gay, that wouldn't be a big deal, so why would I hide it?"

The 21-year-old singer says the only real role models in the world that matter are parents. "I actually asked my mother once how she would feel if I came to her and told her that I was gay . . . and she said, 'I would be completely accepting.'"

Scott Seomin, spokesperson for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, told The ENQUIRER:

"I applaud him for sitting for an interview and photo shoot with The Advocate. In the early 1990s the New Kids On The Block would never have done this because of a fear of being thought of as gay themselves."

Others stars named "Coolest Straight People of 2002" were George Clooney, Diane Sawyer and Johnny Knoxville, star of the hit film "Jackass: The Movie."