Aaron Carter's Troubled Life — from Promising Child Star to Filing for Bankruptcy

At the age of nine, Aaron Carter was one of the most famous children in the world. At 32, the singer is working to get back on his feet after his life imploded.

Tween sensation Aaron Carter burst onto the music scene in the late 90s with a debut album that sold a million copies. 

Thirty years later, Carter has been through bankruptcy, addiction, and diagnosed with several mental health issues. Like so many child stars, making the transition into adulthood became a nightmare from which he just couldn't wake up.

Aaron has admitted that he has been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety, and manic depression

Eleven-year-old Aaron Carter at a photo shoot in 1998 in Cologne, Germany | Source: Getty Images

Eleven-year-old Aaron Carter at a photo shoot in 1998 in Cologne, Germany | Source: Getty Images

THE CHILD STAR

Becoming a recording star at nine may sound like a dream come true, but it ended up turning the rest of Aaron Carter's life into a nightmare. 

The baby brother of Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter was following in his brother's footsteps. Nick was a star at 13, and Aaron beat him by releasing his first album at nine, and two more platinum albums in quick succession.

Aaron Carter at the premiere of "Marriage Boot Camp" in 2019 in West Hollywood | Source: Getty Images

Aaron Carter at the premiere of "Marriage Boot Camp" in 2019 in West Hollywood | Source: Getty Images

THOSE TROUBLING TEENS

But by the time he was a teen, things were already on a downturn for Aaron. At 16, his recording career was over, and the money stopped rolling in.

At 26, Aaron was forced to file for bankruptcy when he couldn't make good on a debt of over $3 million in taxes. Aaron revealed:

“I made over $200 million in my career before I even turned 18 years old... There was a lot of neglect on my parents’ part. They didn’t do a lot of things right.”

What Aaron's parents neglected to do was to put away the 15% stipulated by the Coogan Law into an account. Instead of the $20 million that he should have received, Aaron found he had only $2 million  -- and nearly $4 million in taxes, which his parents hadn't paid.

SUPPORTING HIS MOTHER

Despite all the problems his mother's neglect has caused him, Aaron is a devoted son, and has been Jane Carter's support throughout her fight for sobriety.

After Jane's recent relapse, Aaron flew to Florida to be by her side despite his own fragile health. Aaron said:

"My mother is still struggling with her illness and I'd rather be focused on that (...) and my music, life, and happiness. It's time to move in from all this pain [sic]."

Aaron admitted that he had become addicted to prescription painkillers after breaking his jaw in a fight and struggled with several health issues -- including lactose intolerance -- which left him emaciated and sparked rumors that he was an addict and was suffering from AIDS.

TROUBLED FAMILY

Aaron's relationship with his family is strained at best, and his brother Nick obtained a restraining order against him. Nick told the court that Aaron had confessed that he had "thoughts" about killing the Backstreet Boys' then-pregnant wife, Lauren Kitt. Aaron accused Nick of unspecified abuse, and of raping members of the family. 

Aaron has also alleged that his sister pop singer Leslie Carter -- now deceased -- had abused him sexually between the ages of 10 and 13.  

Lesley passed away from a drug overdose at the age of 25, leaving a baby daughter she shared with her husband, actor Mike Ashton. Ashton was also allegedly granted a restraining order against Aaron.

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

Aaron has admitted that he has been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety, and manic depression. The pressures of child stardom and his dysfunctional family life have taken their toll. Aaron revealed:

"I deal with the anxiety of relationship stuff, family stuff, the pressures of my career, and what I'm doing with my life, and evolving as an artist (...) and I've changed, I look different." 

UNLUCKY IN LOVE

Even Aaron's love life seems to be doomed. He had been dating bartender Melanie Martin, and happily announced in April 2020 that they were expecting their first child together.

This was less than a month after Martin was arrested for a domestic violence incident at the singer's home. In the last few months, the couple has made up and split up several times. 

Aaron had announced in 2017 that he was bisexual. The tween sensation is famous for dating a series of Hollywood beauties, including Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan.

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