Soon, Mr. Knight found himself pulling junk out of a trashy yard in West Roxbury and painting a banister at 3 a.m. ahead of the next day’s open house. Through the ’90s and into the 2000s, he estimates he bought, renovated and flipped a hundred or more houses, at first doing the construction work with his policeman partner and, as the business grew, with hired subcontractors.
When the pair started doing new construction — “cookie-cutter boxes,” Mr. Knight called them — it was less appealing to him. And then the 2008 housing crash hit. “We’d just finished a nine-unit condo complex in Boston,” Mr. Knight recalled. “It was a lot of money lost in 2008. That’s actually when New Kids started up again. The timing was just perfect.”
‘A Stress-Free Life’
The band reunited in 2008 on the “Today” show, released a new album and went on a 150-date world tour. In the way of boy bands, Mr. Knight was the “shy one” in the group and his personal life largely remained a mystery to fans. He wasn’t closeted, but he also never declared on the cover of People, “I’m gay!” Rather, he was accidentally outed by fellow ’80s pop star Tiffany when she appeared on a 2011 episode of “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” and told the host they’d dated, and that “he became gay later. I didn’t do it! But he’s fabulous.” She publicly apologized to Mr. Knight. He thought the whole episode was funny.
Until the HGTV series, few knew about his history with a hammer, either. “I was doing New Kids, I’d come home, renovate houses,” he said. “On tour, so many fans would ask, What do you do? Even the New Kids, they never really knew what I did.”