Tragic Details About Aaron Carter

This article includes discussions of mental health, depression, suicide, and addiction.

In November 2022, pop star Aaron Carter passed away unexpectedly at the age of 34. Carter was a child star who achieved incredible success before he even turned 18. He released five studio albums and numerous singles and EPs, and he won a Teen Choice award in 2001 for choice male artist. He appeared in many TV series as a guest star and dated such sought-after stars as Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan.

But once Carter outgrew his pop persona, his life took a turn for the difficult. The singer experienced much turmoil and tragedy throughout his life, from mental health issues to struggles with addiction. It seemed at times that Carter was invincible, that he would always bounce back from whatever had taken him down, but ultimately, he could not outrun his life. 

He leaves behind a young son, Prince; his siblings, including a twin sister, Angel, and his older brother Nick Carter of The Backstreet Boys; and many friends and fans.

Aaron Carter's parents mismanaged his money

Aaron Carter was a child star, having released his first single, "Crush on You" at just nine years old. He performed often, opening up for his older brother Nick's wildly popular boy band The Backstreet Boys as early as 1997. By 2004, Carter had released four studio albums and guest-starred in shows like "Lizzie McGuire," "7th Heaven," and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." He even appeared on Broadway in 2001's "Seussical" (per Billboard). Carter's parents acted as his managers from the beginning of his career. 

In 2003, at 16 years old, Carter claimed his mother had taken over $100,000 from his bank account, and he publicly severed his professional ties with her. "I feel betrayed by my own mother," he said in a statement (via the Herald-Tribune). 

Carter claimed in an episode of "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" that he'd earned $200 million before age 18. "There was a lot of neglect on my parents' part," he said, explaining, "They were supposed to be putting fifteen percent of my money into my Coogan account." Carter alleged that he received only $2 million of his earnings by his 18th birthday. "I should have had like at least $20 million in my account. I had $2 million and a $4 million tax lien." Carter was embarrassed to file for bankruptcy in 2013 and said he was spending his adult life trying to resolve his money issues. His tax debt was settled in 2014, per TMZ.

A complicated relationship with his siblings

Aaron Carter had seven siblings, four of which he starred alongside in the 2006 reality show "House of Carters." Older brother Nick, twin sister Angel, and sisters Leslie and Bobbie Jean were open about the drama in their lives and within their family.

Aaron and Nick Carter were clearly close at one point, but the reality show featured the brothers in an ugly fight. In later years they grew even further apart, and things took a nasty turn in 2019 when Nick and Angel filed a restraining order against their brother. Nick tweeted the news, which included the disturbing allegation that Aaron had threatened Nick's wife and their unborn child. Aaron fired back with a tweet that read, "I'll be just fine without them. They need to leave me alone. Michael Jackson told me this was gonna happen and he was right."

Aaron and his sister Leslie also seemed to have a friendly relationship at times, but amid his 2019 feud with Nick, Aaron came forward with some upsetting allegations against his late sister in a series of tweets. Aaron claimed that Leslie, who suffered from bipolar disorder, sexually abused him as a result of her condition. The singer stated plainly, "My sister raped me from the age of 10 to 13 years old when she wasn't on her medications and I was absused [sic] not only sexually by her but by my first two back up dancers when I was 8 years old. And my brother absused [sic] me my whole life."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

His parents' divorce sent him into a depression

Although the Carter family had its fair share of troubles, it seems as though they were at one point a happy unit. At least that's what Aaron Carter said while tracing the onset of his mental health issues back to his parents' marital troubles. During an episode of "Oprah: Where Are They Now?," Carter shared, "The depression was brought on because I love my family being together. I did not want to see them divorce."

Carter explained in the interview that the timing of his parents' divorce announcement was particularly unfortunate. The pop star was about to film an episode of MTV's "Cribs," showing off his family's large Florida Keys estate, when his parents pulled him aside and told him the news. "...They're like, we're divorcing. It's official. You need to pick which parent you want to go with." Carter was devastated but continued to film the episode. "So, I had to go and I had to show all the cameras my life that I was losing," he said.

When teenage Aaron Carter was asked about the price of fame in his family, he shared on ABC News' "20/20" in 2005, "Self-destructing. Like a tornado just came through our house and family got tossed everywhere." Aaron said he was involved in a physical altercation between his estranged parents when his mother discovered his father in bed with another woman. His mom, Jane Carter, became violent with her son, leading him to call the cops.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

He thought Dancing with the Stars would restart his music career

In 2009, Aaron Carter appeared as a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars." The opportunity couldn't have come at a better time for the singer, and he got on the show in a rather strange way. During a lull in his career, Carter opened a Twitter account and tweeted his phone number so fans could call him directly. But it wasn't only fans blowing up his cell. "...[the] 'Dancing with the Stars' people hit me up...and then I was like, 'Ah! Yay, I don't have to be broke,'" he recalled in an interview on "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" The star trained hard for "DWTS" and even got to showcase some of his signature '90s moves.

Although Carter did well in the competition, it did not have the desired effect on his career. He'd hoped his appearance on the show would help reignite interest in his music, and he went about hiring a manager who in turn brought in producers and record label execs. "And they were just not interested in me," Carter explained on "Oprah." "The guys didn't even damn near want to look at me," he added.

His struggle with addiction

Aaron Carter struggled with addiction for years. During an episode of "Oprah: Where Are They Now?," Carter discussed how he dealt with his parents' divorce by self-medicating. "I kind of had to just block it out," he said. "I started partying, getting into a lot of trouble." After the disappointment that followed his "Dancing with the Stars" stint, Carter said he started drinking heavily and found himself in a dark place. He reached out to his mother and his brother, and entered rehab in 2011.

After a DUI arrest in 2017, Carter appeared on "The Doctors," claiming he hadn't been drinking, and that his gaunt appearance was due not to substance use, but to acid reflux. He ended up back in rehab following a welfare check due to concerns of friends and family (per TMZ). Carter entered the facility in September 2017, left in October, and then reentered one week later. Once he completed his treatment, Carter told Us Weekly, "I was detoxing from basically weed, stuff like that, Xanax and stuff like that."

In 2019, Carter returned to "The Doctors" and made a surprising confession. He told the audience he'd lied about why he'd gone to rehab in the first place. "It's something I've kept secret from the whole world until now. ... Huffing was what I was doing." Carter revealed that he'd started huffing when he was 16 and began doing it regularly after "Dancing with the Stars." The singer relapsed in the time that he was away from rehab. "I was huffing because I'm a drug addict," Carter stated plainly.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Aaron Carter's sister died of a drug overdose

Aaron Carter was not the only member of his family to deal with substance issues. His brother, Nick, has been vocal about his own drug and alcohol use, and his sister Leslie succumbed to her addiction in 2012 at just 25 years old. Police reports revealed that Leslie died of an overdose of prescription medications. She left behind a daughter who was just 10 months old at the time, per E! News.

The news hit Aaron Carter hard, especially since he'd recently reached out to Leslie to try and get her some help. "I got $10,000 the week before Leslie died. And I actually had reached out to her two weeks before that. And I said, 'I'm going to get you the money to go to rehab,'" Carter said on "Oprah: Where Are They Now?"

In March 2022, Carter took to Instagram to show off his latest tattoo. He'd gotten a large blue butterfly above his right eye in honor of his late sister. As part of a lengthy post, he wrote, "I always wanted to make her proud. Leslie I know your [sic] in paradise. I do feel you inside. The things you taught me and your favorite color being blue you were a Gemini and you were fearless."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The Carters lost their father in 2017

In May 2017, Aaron Carter's father, Robert, died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 65, per the Daily Mail. The news shocked Aaron and Nick, and both brothers expressed their grief on social media. Aaron posted a pic of him and his dad on Instagram with the heartfelt caption, "My heart is broken, We are so hurt we lost you poppa way too soon. You were never human to me, you were always my real life super hero."

In 2019, Carter appeared on VH1's "Marriage Bootcamp: Family Edition" to work on his relationship with his mother. In one emotional episode, he broke down in tears of guilt. "I felt like I'd been responsible for the death of my sister, for the death of my dad, for my family falling apart," Carter said. His mother, Jane, claimed in a confessional, " his heart he feels like he could have done something more."

Aaron Carter had some legal troubles

Aaron Carter's adult life was marred not only by tragedy and addiction, but also by several brushes with the law. In 2008, at the age of 20, Carter was pulled over for speeding while driving his Escalade in Texas. He was subsequently arrested for investigation of marijuana possession. Regarding the incident, Carter's father, Robert, told People, "Aaron has always thought he was invincible. Sometimes it takes a knock in the head to get people back on track. I hope that's what happens here."

Unfortunately, it would not be the last arrest for Carter. In 2017, he was arrested again and charged with marijuana possession and driving under the influence in Georgia. As part of a plea deal in 2021, the singer pleaded no contest to a reckless driving charge in relation to the case and did not serve any jail time (per TMZ). Carter was put on probation and ordered to complete DUI risk reduction classes, as well as 40 community service hours.

Just days before his death in November 2022, Carter narrowly avoided yet another DUI arrest. According to a report from TMZ, he was driving erratically but passed field sobriety tests.

A serious mental health diagnosis

Aaron Carter was open about experiencing depression following his parents' divorce, but in a 2019 episode of "The Doctors," Carter revealed he'd been diagnosed with a host of mental health disorders. "The official diagnosis is that I suffer from multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety, I'm manic depressive," he said. He went on to list the many medications he'd been given: "I'm prescribed Xanax, Seroquel, Gabapentin, Hydroxyzine, Trazedone, Omeprazen..."

Carter explained that during the few times he'd gone off his medications, he became severely depressed, and was plagued by suicidal thoughts. "I don't want to take 16 pills a day," Carter said, "but I have to." The star expressed his desire for help, saying his older brother Nick publicly pledged support but had not been there for him.

In 2017, Carter told Us Weekly he thought he'd be dead by age 30. Speaking about everything he'd been through in his life at that point, he said, "My goal is to be the phoenix that rises from the ashes. Because I've been burnt... I have been ashes before. So I want to make sure that I rise..." Tragically, Carter's initial prediction was chillingly close to accurate.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

He was trying to get his life together before his passing

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of Aaron Carter's passing is that he seemed to hope for a better life. In June 2020, Carter was engaged to on-and-off again girlfriend Melanie Martin. In November 2021, the couple welcomed Carter's only child, a son named Prince. "It's new being a parent but it's actually become really fun and exciting and given me a new chapter of my life. It's been amazing," Carter told The Sun.

He also shared his excitement with People a few years before becoming a dad, saying, "I'm going to be a good father. I know it. I want lots of kids, lots of stability, lots of happiness and laughter and learning and having fun. It's going to be good." The artist was honest about the difficulties he was experiencing, though he added, "But then I think about all the good things that I have in my life." 

Carter checked into rehab once again in September 2022, in order to regain custody of his young child. The artist's last Instagram post was from a music video he made with rapper Checkthestar. In another post, pinned to Carter's profile, he is playing music and laughing with friends. The video is short but features a moment in time where the singer seems at peace, doing what he loved and having a good time. Hopefully his fans will remember Aaron Carter this way.