Troubling Things We've Heard About Nick Carter

Nick Carter rose to international fame as part of the Backstreet Boys, alongside Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, and cousins Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson. The group's popularity soared with hit singles such as "Quit Playing Games With My Heart" and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," along with other unforgettable tunes like "I Want It That Way" and "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely." 

As the press and paparazzi snapped photos of the boy band at every opportunity, life behind the scenes wasn't always as bright as the flashing lights for Nick Carter. He carried the burden of financially supporting his family, and spoke about those pressures during an interview with Dr. Phil. His personal life was plummeting at the same rate that his career was rising. He was turning to alcohol and drugs, and leading a lifestyle that he admits was unhealthy and unsustainable. 

The star made headlines for his wild success as part of the band, but that was juxtaposed by negative publicity as his personal life began a downward spiral, including run-ins with the law and family issues. 

He's been accused of raping an autistic fan

A Backstreet Boys fan named Shannon Ruth came forward with rape allegations against Nick Carter in December 2022. Ruth is autistic and suffers from cerebral palsy. She accused Carter of sexual battery in an incident that dates back to 2001, according to TMZ. Ruth said she was in line for an autograph when she was invited on to Carter's tour bus. She said he spiked her drink and called it "VIP Juice." Ruth accused Carter of committing a series of sexual attacks on her in spite of reportedly asking him to stop.

Ruth's legal representatives held a press conference on December 8, 2022 to tell their client's story. "To make Shay's trauma even worse, Carter infected her with the sexually transmitted infection HPV, that is significant because during our investigation we spoke with other women that Carter also sexually assaulted and infected with HPV," a representative from Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard said to the press. 

Carter's attorney, Michael Holtz, said Carter denies the allegations made against him. "This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue," he said. "Unfortunately, for several years now, Ms. Ruth has been manipulated into making false allegations about Nick –- and those allegations have changed repeatedly and materially over time." He went on to call Ruth's press conference a "press stunt orchestrated by an opportunistic lawyer."

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).

Carter was arrested for grabbing a bouncer's throat

Nick Carter started off 2016 by being arrested for choking a bouncer, Skylar Carden, who was allegedly attacked outside of a Key West bar called the Hog's Breath Saloon, according to TMZ. Carden said Carter became aggressive when he was kicked out of the bar for his "unruly and disrespectful" behavior. Mark DiCowden, Carden's attorney, described Carter as being a "Backstreet thug" that inflicted pain and suffering onto his client. The details surrounding the altercation between Carter and Carden were confirmed by sources close to the matter. They reported seeing Carter squeezing Carden's larynx and said that Carter hit Carden during the assault. DiCowden said Carden was just doing his job and didn't deserve to be attacked. Carter was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office's incident report claimed that Carter appeared to be intoxicated when the officers arrived. The report also declared that surveillance footage captured the physical exchange between the men.

The case reportedly came to a close in July of 2016. Sources close to the situation reported that Carter opted to make the matter go away by agreeing to a six-figure settlement with Carden's legal team. As part of the arrangement, Carter also agreed to 25 hours of community service in exchange for the battery charges disappearing from his record.

He was arrested for DUI

Nick Carter's name was splashed across the headlines in an unflattering way March 11, 2005 when media outlets reported that he had been formally charged with drunk driving in Huntington Beach, California. Carter was 25 years old at the time of his arrest. "The officer that stopped him noticed some traffic violation was occurring," Lieutenant Dave Bunetta said. "When he was contacted by the officers they conducted an investigation which would include field sobriety tests and they formed the opinion he was under the influence." His vehicle was impounded by police, and Carter was taken into custody for investigation of drunken driving. The bad press came at a particularly bad time, as the Backstreet Boys were preparing to embark on a North American tour March 21, beginning in New York.

Assistant District Attorney Ted Burnett later reported that Carter was charged with one count of driving under the influence and one count of driving with a blood alcohol level above 0.08, according to the Associated Press. Carter's publicist attempted damage control for the star's smeared reputation. Juliette Harris released a statement on behalf of the famous singer, offering a limited explanation to his alleged impairment at the time of his arrest. "Nick Carter deeply regrets the current situation," Harris said. "He is on doctor prescribed medication and was unaware of its interaction possibilities."

Nick Carter said he was drinking alcohol at age 2

Some stars turn to alcohol after skyrocketing to fame, but Nick Carter's issues with alcohol began at a very young age. He detailed the extent of his deep-rooted issues with alcohol in his memoir "Facing the Music and Living to Talk About It." Nick revealed that he was raised in an environment that normalized the consumption of alcohol. He told fans that his first home was an apartment that was above The Yankee Rebel bar in Jamestown, New York, which sometimes doubled as a strip club. The establishment was owned by his parents and his grandmother. "Family legend has it that when I was two years old, I crawled into one of the Yankee Rebel's liquor storage rooms where I was caught drinking for the first time," Carter revealed in his memoir. "My parents always laughed at that. I laughed too, for a while, and then I didn't laugh at it any more."

Carter highlighted the prevalence of alcohol in his home. "I'm shocked to see home movies taken when I was nine and ten; in them, I'm pretending to be drinking. Clearly, I'm mimicking my parents," he said. In 2019 Carter's mom appeared on "The Doctors" to discuss her issues with alcohol abuse. "I was doing a liter a day," she admitted on the show. She revealed that she would go through "a whole pint of vodka by noon," and at one point was drinking daily.

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).

He began doing hard drugs at age 18

The rise to superstardom with the Backstreet Boys took a toll on Nick Carter. He was catapulted into instant fame at the age of 13, and by the age of 18 he began to combine alcohol with hard drugs. "I began drinking heavily in my teens, and then moved on to drugs at eighteen or nineteen, starting with marijuana and moving up to cocaine, ecstasy, and prescription painkillers among other substances," Nick wrote in his memoir "Facing the Music and Living To Talk About It." Nick outlined a three-to-four month period where he used a lot of ecstasy "and I probably regret taking that illegal and dangerous drug more than anything I've ever done. I'm afraid the amount I did caused changes in my brain that are responsible for bouts of depression that I now struggle to control," he wrote.

On another night, "I was doing prescription painkillers on top of drinking alcohol," he says, "and I remember going back to my condo, getting in bed alone, listening to my heart pound and feeling as if my body was falling apart from the inside out ... But despite those fears, I never seemed to learn from my mistakes," Carter wrote.

Carter turned his life around. During a 2015 interview with ET, he was asked what the turning point was for him. "Your physical appearance, when you look in the mirror and you're doing things and you're seeing that you don't look healthy," he said.

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 singer was also accused of rape in 2017

Melissa Schuman, a member of the band Dream accused Nick Carter of rape in 2017. She said that she was a virgin when Carter allegedly forced her to engage in sexual acts at his Santa Monica home. She detailed the alleged attack in a blog that she posted on social media, going into graphic detail about what allegedly happened between her and Carter on the night in question. "I told him to stop, but he didn't," she said. "I felt scared and trapped. He was visually and clearly growing very angry and impatient with me. I couldn't leave. It was evident to me, that i couldn't leave. He was stronger and much bigger than me, and there was no way I would be able to open that door or have anyone help me."

Schuman learned about other victims that had accused Carter of forced sex acts and she felt empowered to tell her story. She filed an official report with the Santa Monica Police Department. "I wanted to do that for my 18-year-old self," Schuman said during an interview with The Daily Beast. "My 18-year-old self wanted to do that when it happened and didn't feel like it was an option. I didn't feel strong enough, I didn't feel safe enough to do it then."

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).

Nick Carter was raised in a toxic environment

Nick Carter revealed many family secrets in his memoir, and spoke about the toxic environment he was raised in as a young child. He said his parents were always stressed about having enough money and that they often drank excessively as a way of handling the pressures of their lives. "In one home movie, my cousin and I are acting as if we were going out to a bar like two adults," he wrote in his memoir. "We danced and feigned we were partying. Looking back at how alcohol was part of our playtime, I realize just how deeply my parents' drinking affected me. It was as if I was programmed to drink," Carter said.

His mother admitted to having a drinking problem, which was fueled by her husband's alleged affair and their tumultuous divorce, according to an interview on "The Doctors." Nick and his brother Aaron Carter were at odds with one another and engaged in a series of public disagreements and feuds that made headlines. The entire Carter family has been deeply affected by a series of issues, including the death of Nick's father in 2017, as well as his sister in 2012, and Aaron's death in 2022.

His serious heart condition

The human body can only endure so much, and Nick Carter's long-term use of alcohol and hard drugs took a heavy toll on his health. His years of substance abuse led to a very scary medical diagnosis that forced the star to stop in his tracks and reevaluate his life. During an interview with Dr. Phil, Carter opened up to his fans about a life-changing health scare he experienced. He said at one point, he was 60 pounds overweight and had frequent heart pain. "I got checked by a doctor and I found out that I had drug and alcohol induced cardiomyopathy, and that's a scary thing because it's also called the sudden death syndrome," Carter said.

Cardiomyopathy "is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure," according to the Mayo Clinic. Faced with the reality of his failing health, Carter made the decision to improve his life. The diagnosis changed everything for the star. "I made that choice right there and said I do not want to be this person anymore and that's what you have to do you have to find that moment in your life that moment of clarity and say is this who you want to be the rest of your life or do you deserve more?" Carter said. "I decided I deserved better."

He missed his sister's funeral

The Carter family feud ran so deep that the family was estranged during a very sensitive and critical time. Carter's sister Leslie died of a suspected drug overdose at the age of 25 and was laid to rest in a small ceremony in Upstate New York in 2012, according to TMZ. Carter was notably absent from the funeral service, and he blames his fractured relationship with his family. "I wanted to be at my sister's funeral, but my family has always had a complicated dynamic," Carter told the outlet. He went on to state that his family went through strategic measures to ensure he didn't attend. He didn't elaborate on the specifics but made it clear that he felt unwelcome to attend.

Carter opened up about missing the funeral during an interview with Dr. Phil. "The reason I did not go was because I actually got the phone call from my father that she that she had passed and immediately the conversation turned into not about her death and not about the actual, the passing, or what had occurred and more about themselves." Carter said. "They were blaming me for the death." He went on to say his family told him that his sister wouldn't have died if he had been there for her, and that was a tough accusation for him to cope with.

Nick Carter obtained a restraining order against his brother

Nick Carter didn't just have a tough time with his parents; he also feuded bitterly with his brother, Aaron Carter, and the relationship between them was volatile. It became even more strained in September 2019, when Nick sought protection from the courts to keep Aaron away. Nick said Aaron was displaying "increasingly alarming behavior and his recent confession" about wanting to kill them, according to TMZ. Nick obtained a restraining order against Aaron which ordered him to stay at least 100 feet away from Nick, his wife, their children, and all other family members. Documents filed in court requested extra protection in their Las Vegas residence. Aaron's twin sister, Angel, was also included in the restraining order against Aaron.

Aaron took to his Twitter and revealed the restraining order news. Nick stuck firm in his intentions to see the restraining order through with a tweet from his own account, writing, "We were left with no choice but to take away every measure possible to protect ourselves and our family." Despite this, however, it appeared that Nick and Aaron Carter were trying to mend their broken relationship, but sadly, Aaron died on November 5, 2022. Nick paid tribute to his brother on Instagram, along with the rest of the Backstreet Boys, who appeared in concert shortly after Aaron's death.