Jonathan Knight: Get to Know the Former NKOTB Member & HGTV Host

Jonathan Knight: Get to Know the Former NKOTB Member & HGTV Host
Jonathan Knight: Get to Know the Former NKOTB Member & HGTV Host

Today’s Pop and R&B fans may not recognize the name Jonathan Knight, but back in the mid-80s to mid-90s, he was part of the hottest boy bands, New Kids on the Block (NKOTB). Decades after success as a musician, Jonathan Knight has captured a new, much older audience with his renovation show on HGTV. As co-host of HGTV’s Farmhouse Fixer, audiences have fallen in love with Knight’s and Kristina Crestin’s creative farmhouse designs and renovations.

With an astonishing 15 million viewers tuning in to watch Farmhouse Fixer season 2, season 3 was renewed and will air in 2024. Jonathan Knight has long proven that restoring historic New England farmhouses to their former glory is much more than a hobby. It is the obsession and passion for which Knight and Crestin approach each project that has warmed the hearts of HGTV audiences. Beyond the smiles and charms of the creative genius, here are 8 things you probably didn’t know about HGTV host Jonathan Knight.

Jonathan Knight Holds Dual Citizenship

Jonathan Knight

Jonathan Knight was born Jonathan Rashleigh Knight in Worcester, Massachusetts, on November 29, 1968. By his birth in the United States, Knight is an American citizen. However, his parents, Marlene Putnam and Allan Knight, are Canadians. His mother is from Dunnville, Ontario, while his father is from Meaford, Ontario. With Knight’s father being an Episcopal priest, Knight and siblings were part of the choir. It was Jonathan Knight’s earliest exposure to singing and making music. However, his parents would later divorce.

He Was Raised In A Large Family

Jordan and Jonathan Knight with their father

Jonathan Knight grew up in a family of eight. As the second youngest child (fifth child), Knight had five siblings – two sisters and three brothers. His oldest siblings are his sisters, Allison Knight and Sharon Knight. His two older brothers are David Knight and Christopher Knight. Jonathan Knight has a famous younger brother, Jordan Knight, who is also a member of NKOTB. Jonathan and Jordan have always shared a close connection and friendship, besides being brothers.

His Younger Brother Brought Him Into The Boy Band

Jonathan Knight in NKOTB

The 80s and 90s were filled with boy bands. When record producer Maurice Starr (who discovered New Edition) was looking for the next big boy band, he wanted it to be a white counterpart act to New Edition. 15-year-old singer and actor Donnie Wahlberg was the first person to join the group. Wahlberg invited and recruited three of his school mates, Jamie Kelly, Jordan Knight, and Danny Wood to be part of the group. Although actor Mark Wahlberg initially followed his older brother Donnie to join the group, he left after a few months. Jonathan Knight’s younger brother, Jordan, who was already part of the group, recruited him to join the boy band. Although they initially went by the name Nynuk, it was ultimately changed to New Kids on the Block.

Jonathan Knight Was The First Member To Leave NKOTB

Jonathan Knight New Kids on the Block

NKOTB sold more than 80 million records worldwide during the decade they dominated the Pop/R&B genre. By the time NKOTB released their fifth studio album, Face the Music (1994), the group had split from Maurice Starr the previous year. The album also also didn’t live up to commercial expectations. Behind the scenes, Jonathan Knight was struggling with anxiety and panic attacks. Overwhelmed with the success and world tours he had experience for almost a decade, Knight wanted out of fame. His exit from the group ultimately led to NKOTB’s official disbandment.

A Former Security Detail Introduced Jonathan Knight To Real Estate

Jonathan Knight in Farmhouse Fixer

Success had come early for Jonathan Knight; joining NKOTB at 16 and leaving at 26. While this may be the dream of many today, in the mid-90s, life would be difficult without a former education or skill. Knight stayed home for about a year, slipping in and out of depression. His popstar bubble had burst and left him hung and dry. However, he found a new passion when a former security detail of NKOTB, a Boston cop, called and asked if he would be interested in partnering with him to flip houses. As exciting as it was, Knight had no idea what “house flipping” was all about.

From that time to sometime in the late 2000s, Jonathan Knight and his new partner reportedly flipped over a hundred houses. It wasn’t all about the money for Knight as he soon discovered a new passion in construction. Initially, to cut down on cost, Knight and his partner would do much of the the construction work. However, as the business began to expand, they began hiring subcontractors. They kept at it until the real estate crash in 2008. Luckily for Knight, NKOTB reunited that same year.

His Sexuality Was Outed By An Ex in 2009

Jonathan Knight at his home farm

The National Enquirer first broke the news that Jonathan Knight was gay. In 2009, with the band reuniting a year earlier, it was a major headline. An ex of his, a former boyfriend, had shared pictures of him and Knight kissing. The pictures were on the front page of the National Enquirer. Although the world just found out, it wasn’t something Knight intentional hid. However, at the peak of NKOTB’s success, a younger knight was advised to keep his sexuality to himself. His manager had cautioned it could affect his career and lose the record company an enormous amount of money.

The singer and real estate expert had long kept his personal life private. His manager and band mates were aware, as well as his family. However, unlike today that the industry is quite accepting about such revelation, Knight states it was “horrible” be outed the way he was. Two years later, American singer Tiffany, whom he dated briefly, also admitted Knight was gay in a 2011 episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. Although Tiffany later apologized publicly, Knight had long moved on from the drama.

Jonathan Knight Married His Longtime Boyfriend In 2015

Jonathan Knight and husband Harley Rodriguez

Jonathan Knight began dating actor Harley Rodriguez in 2008. The two were dating when Knight was outed by an ex. Jonathan Knight and Harley Rodriguez married on June 26, 2015. The couple have stayed together and remained supportive of each other’s careers. Rodriguez is known for his acting roles in Sweet Valley High (1994), V.I.P. (1998), and Price of Glory (2000).

He Contested On The Amazing Race With His Spouse

Jonathan and Harley in The Amazing Race

Few months before Jonathan Knight and Harley Rodriguez tied the knot, the couple participated in the famous reality competition show The Amazing Race. The couple were part of the 11 teams that competed in season 26. The season originally aired on CBS from February 25 to May 15, 2015, with the contestants racing 35,000 miles around the world for a chance to win $1,000,000. Knight and Rodriguez, who were 46 and 41 years old at the time, were called Team New Kid. However, their time on the show was short-lived, as they were the third team to be eliminated. The couple were eliminated in Bangkok, Thailand in episode 4 (“The Great Amazing Nasty Race”). If you love Jonathan Knight’s renovation show on HGTV, read about 8 things you need to know about Ben Napier.

Watch Jonathan Knight on Farmhouse Fixer on HGTV

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