A curious thing happened during Fall Out Boy's rise from anonymous Illinois pop-punks to internationally successful arena rockers. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the superstar to emerge from the band's ranks wasn't the lead singer, the lead guitarist or even the hard-partying drummer.

A curious thing happened during Fall Out Boy's rise from anonymous Illinois pop-punks to internationally successful arena rockers. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the superstar to emerge from the band's ranks wasn't the lead singer, the lead guitarist or even the hard-partying drummer.

No, Fall Out Boy's breakout star was its bass player.

Pete Wentz isn't your stereotypical bassist, the retiring background character who rarely steps into the spotlight. He has been Fall Out Boy's eyeliner-caked public face since day one, quickly climbing to MTV pinup status and tabloid ubiquity as his band became a dominant force in pop music.

As the spokesman and lyrical engine for his band, Wentz has become the voice of his people, an ambassador bringing emo ideals to the world at large. He's the kind of rocker even your mom knows from the pages of People.

How did this happen? Let's track Wentz's ascent.

The Overdose: In February 2005, just months before Fall Out Boy's breakthrough album From Under the Cork Tree made the band instant rock stars, Wentz was feeling stressed out and increasingly isolated. He attempted suicide by overdosing on anxiety medication Ativan but survived and spent a week in the hospital recovering. The incident was memorialized in the song "7 Minutes in Heaven (Atavan Halen)."

The Breakthrough: Fall Out Boy hit it big in summer 2005, scoring a top-10 hit with "Sugar, We're Goin' Down." Another top-10 hit, "Dance, Dance," followed that fall.

The Naked Photos: In March 2006, naked photos of Wentz were leaked to the internet. Wentz said the images had been stolen from his cell phone.

The Next Step: Fall Out Boy's second major-label release, Infinity on High, dropped in 2007. The record, which found the band expanding its sonic palette, was an even bigger smash than Cork Tree, debuting at No. 1 and spawning the hits "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" and "Thnks fr th Mmrs."

The First TV Show: Fall Out Boy was the focus of a story arc on The CW's teen drama One Tree Hill in 2007. Wentz was the romantic interest of a character named Peyton Sawyer.

The Romance: Wentz was photographed with Ashlee Simpson at the opening of his bar Angels & Kings in 2007. By 2008, the couple married and had their first child, Bronx Mowgli Wentz.

The Sexuality: Wentz went on record with several publications in 2007 that he was attracted to men, telling Blender that "anybody above the waist is totally fair game." He appeared on the cover of Out with the headline, "Yeah, I am a fag," claiming he was looking to get a rise out of people.

The Second TV Show: In June 2008, MTV launched FNMTV, a Friday night program hosted by Wentz. The show combined throwback elements - music videos at full length! - with newfangled tropes like instant viewer feedback. The show was well received by critics, who saw it as a fitting successor for the recently retired Total Request Live.

The Side Projects: Besides the bar and the TV gigs, Wentz has been extremely active on the side, writing a graphic novel and launching a fashion line, a record label and a film production company.

The Staying Power: Wentz has probably reached the point where he would be in the media even if his band ceased making hits. But Fall Out Boy's latest, Folie a Deux, is the band's best yet, yielding solid pop-rock singles "I Don't Care," "America's Suitehearts" and "She's My Winona."