Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough and his wife Leigh, a real estate broker, are expecting their first child in June, they tell PEOPLE exclusively.
“I know she’s going to be a great mother,” Howie said regarding his wife. “If she can take care of me, the biggest baby in the entire world, I think she’s going to be okay with the little one coming along.”
Adds Leigh: “I think he’s going to be more hands-on than anyone expects. He’s someone who will get up in the night and change diapers. He’s such a partner of mine.”
The couple married in October 2007, and traveled a bit before settling down to start a family.
“We’ve been together going on eight years, but we wanted to enjoy and adjust to living married life first,” Howie tells the magazine. “So for the first eight months we traveled all over the world on an extended honeymoon.”
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Sadly, Howie’s father Hoke was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer and passed away just three months later in June 2008.
“That kind of put things into perspective – passing on and bringing new life into the world,” says Howie. “At that point we started focusing in on having a child. The baby is due the same month that my dad passed away last year, so it’s almost like realizing life is a circle.”
Leigh, who is craving blueberry muffins, devised an ingenious plan to break the news to her husband.
“Leigh surprised me with breakfast in bed. [I knew] something was up,” Howie recalls. “I looked down and saw the pregnancy test strip [on the tray]. The look on my face was like something from America’s Funniest Home Videos. I thought, ‘Oh my god! Here we go! This is it!’ “
Says Leigh of conceiving so quickly: “We were really blessed and lucky.”
The couple don’t plan to learn the baby’s sex before it’s born, and are planning a gender-neutral nursery. “We have a home in L.A. that’s modern, a lot of wood,” says Howie. “We want to do earth tones [for the nursery]. We’ve been talking about a jungle or safari theme.”
Howie admits, though, that his side of the family is thinking blue, as Howie has only nieces.
“So I think everybody would love a boy,” he says. “We’re just hoping for a healthy baby.”
The new little one will join two other Backstreet babies, both boys – Brian Littrell’s 6-year-old son Baylee and Kevin Richardson’s 18-month-old son Mason. On how his bandmates reacted, Howie says they “surprised but very, very enthusiastic.” The group, minus Kevin, is recording in L.A. before they head to South America in February to complete their world tour.