Unlike the boy bands and girl groups that emerged in the late 1990s, singer and rapper Aaron Carter was a one-man pop music machine. His brand of bubblegum charm mixed with suburban hip-hop swagger catapulted Carter to the top of the charts with his debut album, Aaron Carter (1998), and the triple platinum-selling Aaron's Party (Come Get It) (2000). Carter boosted his career by acting on "7th Heaven" (WB, 1996-2006; CW, 2006-07), where he played main character Ruthie Camden's love interest, but it was his wild party boy behavior that made headlines. The singer dated Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan at the same time, sparking a feud between the teen queens. Carter's erratic and careless lifestyle led to his 2008 arrest for speeding and drug possession; a move which almost cost him his career and his life. In 2009, Carter made a triumphant comeback to the spotlight when he competed in the ninth season of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), shedding his party boy image and reclaiming his glory days as one of his generation's most beloved teen idols.
Aaron Charles Carter was born on Dec. 7, 1987 in Tampa, FL. He was the younger brother of Nick Carter, who was a member of the successful 1990s boy band, The Backstreet Boys. Carter also had three sisters, including his twin Angel, who was a model. His parents Robert and Jane ran the Garden Villa Retirement Home in Florida. Life at home was not always as sweet and bubbly as the pop songs performed by Carter throughout his career. His parents fought for years before their 2003 divorce, culminating in his mother filing domestic abuse charges against his father. It was growing up around violence and abuse that forced the future star to escape into a love for music. Carter began singing with the band Dead End for two years until performing as a solo act at the age of nine, opening for his brother's band at a concert in Berlin, Germany in 1997. Showcasing a high energy and passionate talent well beyond his age, Carter received a record contract by fall of 1997 and released his first single, "Crush on You." By December, the young star's self-titled debut album came out and was certified gold in Norway, Spain, Denmark, Canada, and Germany. It was not long until the singer was making his name known back in his home country.
Carter's debut album was released in the United States in June 1998. A few months later, he released a fundraising EP titled Let the Music Heal Your Soul (1998), where he collaborated with fellow pop artists such as 'N Sync, the Moffats, and his brother's band, The Backstreet Boys. Carter's second album, Aaron's Party (Come Get It), released in September 2000, was a massive hit. The album reached triple platinum status due to an upbeat mix of pop and hip-hop tracks like "That's How I Beat Shaq;" a song inspired by the larger than life basketball player, Shaquille O'Neal. The singer was also a bona fide heartthrob, gracing the covers of various teen magazines with his signature shaggy, bleached blonde hair and baggy clothes.
In 2001, Carter released his third album, Oh Aaron, showing of a more mature side with ballads like "I'm All About You." His image was also immortalized when Play Along Toys created an Aaron Carter action figure to coincide with the album's release. The pop star began exploring other artistic projects that same year, including acting appearances in the comedy series "Lizzie McGuire" (Disney Channel, 2001-04) and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" (ABC, 1996-2000; WB, 2000-03), both of which were very successful teen franchises. Carter played himself on "Lizzie" and "Sabrina," proving his fans wanted nothing more than to see the star himself grace their television screens. Carter made his Broadway debut in April 2001, playing children's book character Jojo in "Seussical the Musical," a theater production based on the books of Dr. Seuss.
An accompaniment DVD of "Oh Aaron" was released in March 2002, which included live concert footage, music videos, and interviews with the heartthrob. However, with harder hip-hop acts like Nelly and pop/punk singer Avril Lavigne dominating the music charts, Carter's Another Earthquake (2002) album was less successful compared to past efforts. He released the compilation Most Requested Hits a year later, which included a duet with his brother Nick entitled "She Wants Me" in an effort to woo his fans back. When it seemed his music career cooled off, Carter focused on his acting. When producers of the family drama "7th Heaven" wanted to attract a younger audience, they cast Carter as the boyfriend of Ruthie Camden, played by Mackenzie Rosman on the show. After his two-episode arc on "7th Heaven," Carter made a leap to the big screen, playing minor characters in the films "Fat Albert" (2004) and "Supercross" (2005).
Art imitated real life in 2005 when Carter played JD McQueen, a pop star who befriends a teenage girl while attending a regular high school. The comedy was the singer's first starring role and had him acting alongside former 1970s teen heartthrob, David Cassidy. By this time, however, most of the attention on Carter focused on his personal life rather than his career. A high-profile spat between actresses Duff and Lohan erupted after they discovered Carter was dating them both at the same time. The singer made little to no comment about the love triangle while the teen queens verbally attacked each other in press interviews. He would pipe up later, however, when Lohan became a bigger box office draw than Duff with her star-making performance in "Mean Girls" (2004). Carter made no bones about saying the biggest mistake he'd made up until that time had been to cheat on "good girl" Duff with "troublemaker" Lohan. Even more disturbing than his topsy-turvy love life were family issues. In December 2003, a few months after his parents divorced, Carter filed for legal emancipation from his mother. The singer claimed mom took over $100,000 from his bank account without his permission. The number dramatically increased to $6,400,000 by the time Carter was interviewed by the news program "20/20" (ABC, 1978- ) in April 2005. The most unusual part of the case was a report that $1 million worth of gifts were given to Carter by Bruce Willis, which the actor's lawyer stated was a lie. Carter and his mother resolved their financial issues in early 2006 when Carter dropped the charges against her.
As these things often happened with young teen idols, Carter began losing his foothold as a 'tween pop star. Opportunity arose in the form of the reality program "House of Carters" (E! Entertainment, 2006). The cameras followed Carter and his siblings as they engaged in family fights and made up, only to fight again while living under one roof. The series' most memorable feud happened between Carter and his older brother Nick, who discovered his younger sibling was courting his ex-girlfriend, notorious party girl and socialite, Paris Hilton. Even more twisted was the Carter brothers' relationship with Kari Ann Peniche, the woman who was involved years later in a leaked sex tape scandal with celebrity couple, Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart in 2009. His older brother had briefly dated the beauty queen-turned-Playboy model before Carter proposed to her in September 2006. The couple had only dated for five days prior to their engagement, which they broke off six days later. By that time, Carter was a fixture on the young and reckless Hollywood party scene, going to clubs with his older brother and dating Playboy models. The pop star reached rock bottom in February 2008 when he was pulled over for speeding in Kimble County, TX and authorities found marijuana in his car.
Carter laid low after his 2008 arrest and concentrated on his favorite hobbies, basketball and motocross bike racing. He joined the celebrity basketball team Hollywood Knights, which played exhibition games to raise money for charity. In August 2009, in an effort to put behind him boy his teeny bopper stardom, as long as a lot of notorious headlines, Carter joined the ninth season of ABC's popular reality series "Dancing with the Stars," where, along with professional partner, Karina Smirnoff, he competed against celebrities such as former teen idol, himself, Donny Osmond and reality TV star, Kelly Osbourne.
By Marc Cuenco
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
First solo appearance, singing a cover of The Jets' "Crush on You" when opening for the Backstreet Boys in Berlin
Signed a record contract, and released his first single, "Crush on You"
Released self titled debut album, Aaron Carter
Sang "(Have Some) Fun With The Funk" for "Pokémon: The First Movie" soundtrack
Released second album, Aaron's Party (Come Get It)
Recorded the album Oh, Aaron, which featured his first duet recording with his brother, Nick
Sang three songs on the "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" soundtrack
Made Broadway debut, playing JoJo the Who in "Seussical the Musical"
Appeared as himself on episodes of "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (WB) and "Lizzie McGuire" (Disney)
Released the album, Another Earthquake
Voiced a soldier named Joseph Plumb Martin in the PBS animated series, "Liberty's Kids"
Made his film debut in Joel Zwick's comedy, "Fat Albert"
Appeared in two episodes of the WB's "7th Heaven"
First lead role in a feature, the direct-to-video, "Popstar"
Acted in the film, ""Supercross"
Joined his siblings to star in the reality show, "House Of Carters" on the E! network
Appeared in Jeff Garlin's indie comedy, "I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With"
Joined the ninth season of ABC's reality series, "Dancing With The Stars"