We need to talk about Aaron Carter, which is kind of a shocking statement because it's 2017. But frankly, we're concerned. After a low-key comeback over the last couple of years, 29-year-old Aaron was arrested along with girlfriend Madison Parker for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana on Saturday night.
The news was lightly sad when heard in passing — just another child star arrest. And then the mugshot hit. "Oh my God, what happened?" is the knee-jerk reaction most fans are having.
Aaron Carter was the baby-faced boy band little brother who only wanted Candy. Aaron Carter had the stand-out song on every Nickelodeon movie soundtrack. Aaron Carter was your first stadium concert, flanked by the ABBA knock-off band A-Teens. AARON CARTER WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF A LINDSAY LOHAN AND HILARY DUFF TRIANGLE. YOU KNOW WHO CAME OUT THE WINNER IN THAT? HILARY DUFF. Nobody saw that one coming.
But like a very blonde pop music version of the Kennedys, the Carter dynasty has a bizarrely dark past with a handful of family tragedies. It was only in May that patriarch Bob Carter died at 65 of what is speculated to have been a heart attack, and there's no doubt that Aaron and brother Nick Carter have mourned this recent loss. But darkness definitely lies in the past of the former tween sensation.
What's going on with Aaron Carter? How did it get this way? We tried to find as many answers about his decline as possible.
When was Aaron Carter popular?
Throwback! Let's start simple and accurately pinpoint the height of Aaron's powers, back in the days when he beat Shaq. Aaron was a pre-teen heartthrob who truly exploded into popularity with his 2000 sophomore album, Aaron's Party (Come Get It). Obviously, the record is still a banger today.
Aaron had made an estimated $200 million before his 18th birthday, but he never quite saw the returns. He made only $2 million upon adulthood and reportedly owed twice that in taxes, apparently due to financial mishandling. "Under the Coogan Law, [my parents] were supposed to be putting 15 percent of my money into my Coogan Account," he revealed in an Oprah: Where Are They Now interview. "I got, like, $2 million when I turned 18 years old. I should have had at least $20 million in my account."
Rejection from the industry clearly hurt Aaron not only professionally but personally. After a stint on Dancing With the Stars, he descended into alcoholism after realizing that nobody wanted to work with him:
"They were not interested in me. They had no interest in me. They didn't want to touch me. They didn't want to touch me. They didn't want to do anything."
He eventually recognized his downward spiral and checked into the Betty Ford Center in 2011.
What's Aaron Carter's history with drug use?
Allegedly, the singer's substance abuse issues started when his parents announced their divorce circa 2003, the day he was set to film his episode of MTV Cribs.
"The depression was brought on because I loved my family being together. I did not want to see them divorced," he explained in 2016. "I couldn't dwell on it. I couldn't think about it too much. I kind of had to block it out. I started partying and getting into a lot of trouble."
Is Aaron Carter on drugs?
What, like right now? Well, in 2016 Aaron spoke to E! Online about being body-shamed for being "too skinny" and defended his thin frame, claiming that his lean figure and high cheekbones were a matter of genetics. He vouched that he wasn't on any hard drugs.
"I drink wine. I smoke weed," he said. "I have anxiety problems, I take medication for anxiety. I mean, it's just what it is. The misconceptions are that I'm a meth head, or I'm a crackhead, or I'm a drug addict, or I'm this or that."
Following his arrest, Aaron made another argument that he smokes marijuana for his anxiety, but doesn't drink alcohol. "I'll occasionally have a sip of a beer or something like that, but I can't even drink IPAs," he revealed. "I don't drink any hard liquor." As far as his pills go, he takes "Xanax, Propranolol for high blood pressure medication," and oxycodones for a jaw injury.
Has Aaron Carter been arrested before?
Who is Madison Parker?
Is Aaron under the influence of something other than alcohol? It was reported that his girlfriend Madison, who's been dating the singer since mid-2016, was released from jail later in the day. It's easy to play the blame game, however, there is nothing to substantiate that she encouraged Aaron to go down this path again. They seem very much in love, and engage in plenty of PDA on social media.
Why is Aaron Carter mad at Nick Carter?
Well, it's complicated. If you follow the former BSB heartthrob on Twitter, you'll see that he did reach out to his little sibling:
To my brother: I love u no matter what & if u feel the need to reach for help, I am here and willing to help you get better.
— Nick Carter (@nickcarter) July 16, 2017
But is the Internet really the place to air out someone's private issues? Uh, we're literally doing that, so maybe. Regardless, Aaron responded with his own statement about the arrest on Twitter, which ends with, "If my own blood (Nick) truly cared about my well-being, why wouldn't he call me directly and have a conversation instead of making this about him through a very public forum? That's not cool at all to use me for his PR and kick me while I am down. I love my family despite it through thick and thin." Hmmm….
How did Leslie Carter die?
Sister Leslie Carter — who we saw on House of Carters and who came out with the charming single "Like Wow!" from the Shrek soundtrack — was found dead of a reported prescription pill overdose back in 2012. She was only 25. Aaron spoke about their last contact before her passing in 2016, and the story is heart-breaking.
"I wasn't making that much money. Fortunately, I just hit my bonus — $10,000 the week before Leslie died — and I actually reached out to her two weeks before that and I said I'm going to get you the money to go to rehab. She wanted it and her phone got cut off."
Did Lou Pearlman molest Aaron Carter?
This is exceptionally uncomfortable to talk about, but we can't ignore that Aaron's former manager had many sexual misconduct allegations against him. Point blank: there's no solid evidence supporting that Aaron was a victim, nor has he come forward saying he was. In the wake of Lou's trial for bank fraud, however, Aaron and Nick's mother, Jane Carter, spoke to Vanity Fair about his "improper overtures" and she alluded that something may have gone on with her sons.
"Certain things happened, and it almost destroyed our family. I tried to warn everyone. I tried to warn other mothers, tried to expose him for what he was years ago. I hope you expose him, because the financial [scandal] is the least of his injustices."
Incidentally, when Lou passed away in 2016, Aaron himself was honest, respectful, and concise. "#LouPearlman my old manager died in prison," he wrote on Twitter. "Rip Lou not the best business guy really at all but he did discover me karma is real."
Is Aaron Carter going to be okay?
We don't know. But we hope that if he's being plagued by some sort of demons, he gets help. None of us want to see Aaron's party get shut down early.