As part of blockbuster-selling R&B quartet Boyz II Men, Michael McCary was part of some of the biggest hits of the 1990s. And then… well, after he split from the group in 2003 due to unspecified health issues, he went quiet for a while. Now, the 44-year-old singer, known to his fans as Mike Bass, is opening up about the medical condition that sidelined him — and the deep depression he fell into after leaving the group.
“When I first saw of the ailments start to happen, it was like little back spasms at first, and it would get stronger and stronger,” McCary tells Iyanla Vanzant in an upcoming episode of her OWN series Iyanla: Fix My Life. “Once I was about 22, it started going full scale.” The issue turned out to be multiple sclerosis — an unpredictable, debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system. In a preview of the episode, McCary explains that the diagnosis sent him into a tailspin.
“They were saying that I have a nerve around the sciatica that was locked in place, that could sever if I stepped wrong,” he says. “It’s a possibility that you could be paralyzed.” He decided to keep his condition a secret from the group (and, until now, the public) and then he quit, though he now harbors a deep resentment over how things ended. Asked to sum up what he took away from his time with his brothers in Boyz II Men, McCary says “betrayal,” noting they never speak anymore.
McCary is not mentioned on the group’s bio page, where they refer to their two decades of accomplishments and iconic hits like “I’ll Make Love to You” and “End of the Road.” A spokesperson for Boyz II Men had no comment on McCary’s claims at press time. Fix My Life airs on the OWN network at 9 p.m. ET on Nov. 5.