March 09, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

Last week millions of teenage hearts shattered when rumors surfaced that ‘N Sync singer Joey Fatone and his unnamed longtime girlfriend will become parents early this summer. Though Fatone, 24, reportedly has no plans to shimmy down the aisle, sources say he’s ready and willing to be a devoted dad. But will his plan to croon lullabies make teen fans say bye, bye, bye? EW.com took a look at Fatone and some other rapidly maturing heartthrobs to discover whether their adult lifestyles will make their fans switch allegiance to up and comers O-Town.

NAME Joey Fatone of ‘N Sync
WHAT Can you say ”da da”?
WHAT HE SAYS”[The problem is] you want to try and become serious [about a relationship],” Fatone told People in 1999, ”then you’re like, ‘I’ll see you in a couple of months. I gotta go off to work.” Doesn’t sound like he’ll be Mr. Mom.
WHAT THE PROS SAY ”There will be a few fans who look down on him, but not all teens subscribe to the same values,” says Laura Morgan, music editor of Seventeen. But fans under 14 may feel betrayed. ”I think young girls, especially in the Midwest, may be disappointed in him, thinking, ‘If you love her enough to get her pregnant, marry her,”’ says Cathee Sandstrom, former editor of BOP magazine. ”And when these guys start being thought of as men, it distances them from their fans, since they’re almost in the same category as their dads.” Ewww!
OUR VERDICT No big deal. It’s not like Joey was the cute one. But J.C. and Justin? They’d better take the necessary precautions.

NAME Justin Timberlake of ‘N Sync
WHAT He and Britney Spears, who met as 12 year olds working on the Mickey Mouse Club, began their romance in 1998.
WHAT HE SAYS ”Every relationship I’ve been in,” Timberlake told CosmoGirl, ”I’ve eventually overwhelmed the girl because they just can’t handle all the love.” Isn’t that, um, stalking?
WHAT THE PROS SAY ”These two were huge pop stars in their own right before anyone knew they were dating, so being united just makes them more of a force,” says Morgan. But Sandstrom, who chose not to break the story of the budding relationship for fear of alienating BOP readers, believes young admirers may sour on Spears. ”When Britney went public with the relationship, her teen girl fans stopped looking at her as a sweet ally, and starting looking at her as an enemy.” Ouch.
OUR VERDICT They’d better beware of cheesy matching denim outfits like what we saw at the American Music Awards, or they’d both better start looking for desk jobs.

NAME Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys
WHAT”The cute one,” 21, briefly shacked up with his now ex, 20 year old Atlantic Records artist Willa Ford.
WHAT HE SAYS”What guy couldn’t say that he likes women being after him?” he told People. ”I’m not going to lie. It’s great!”
WHAT THE PROS SAYBSB fans have forgiven Carter for dating the sultry blond, but Ford’s career may be permanently off track. ”There were about 40 anti- Willa sites on Yahoo alone when they were dating,” says Lori Majewski, entertainment editor of Teen People. Angry Carter fans started a letter campaign to block Ford from getting media coverage for her as yet unreleased album.
OUR VERDICT Golden boy Carter hasn’t lost any luster — but if he even thinks about a duet with Ford when her debut album is released, he’s toast.

NAME Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys
WHATIn September, Littrell, 26, married his girlfriend of three years, actress Leighanne Wallace, 31 (”Wild America”); she helped nurse him through a 1998 heart surgery.
WHAT HE SAYS ”She knocked me off my feet the first time I saw her,” he gushed to In Style. ”I’ve always wanted what my parents have — a wonderful marriage.”
WHAT THE PROS SAY ”The band is trying to outgrow their boy band tag, so their lives and their music are maturing,” says Majewski. ”We didn’t see a lot of letters from girls who were upset about [the wedding].” But, as usual, the woman gets the heat from those fans who are peeved: ”They’re bummed he’s been taken away by a hottie starlet,” explains Sandstrom.
OUR VERDICT If his fan base ever falters, a little more heart surgery will give his sympathy factor a healthy boost.

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