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Aaron Carter started off as a clean-cut child star, releasing his debut album when he was only 9.

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, he was a heartthrob among the young teen set, rapping about hard-hitting issues like playing basketball with Shaquille O’Neal. He sold millions of records and his life seemed to be headed in the right direction.

But somewhere along the way, Carter’s life started falling apart. With dramatic public breakups and family fights, bankruptcy, and a DUI arrest, something was seriously wrong going on in his world.

His loyal fans hang onto hope that Carter has turned things around and he’s doing better now. What does he have to say about his problems and his future, and is there reason to be optimistic?

From pre-teen star to mug shots

Aaron Carter performs onstage
Aaron Carter | Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Carter started his singing career when he was just seven, and there’s no denying he was adorable. His career was probably buoyed by the fact that his brother is Nick Carter, of the Backstreet Boys.

Not content to stay in Nick’s shadow, Aaron set his own path and developed a loyal following. But as it often happens with many child stars, the older he got the more his life went off the rails. 

Carter’s spiral downward started slowly, with cheating drama and breakups with Hillary Duff and Lindsay Lohan. As the years went by, the bad decisions started to pile up, with relationship issues, family strife, and financial problems.

His behavior became more and more strange, and he started making odd comments, like when he claimed that Michael Jackson had passed the torch to him, and the two of them were “the only ones of our kind.”

In 2017 he was arrested for DUI and marijuana possession. The former child star was unrecognizable.

Carter’s life starts to turn around … we think

Following that arrest, Carter went to rehab. He recently posted these side-by-side pictures to show how much better he looks now. In September he confessed on the TV show The Doctors that he actually went to rehab was “for huffing aerosols, duster cans, that’s why I went.”

In the same show, he urged his mom to get help for her drinking problem. It looks like he could be headed in the right direction for a better life. 

But on the other hand, Carter has been showing some very erratic behavior lately. He seems to have tried to sell a dog he adopted. His brother Nick claimed that he threatened his pregnant wife and unborn child, and so he got a restraining order against him. He also got a face tattoo.

Is his life actually any better, or is everything falling apart again?

Reasons for his struggles

Carter revealed on The Doctors that he has some very big reasons for all the upheaval in his life. He suffers from mental illness, including “multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety; I’m manic depressive.”

He’s been prescribed a number of medications to help him: Xanax, trazodone, Seroquel, gabapentin, omeprazole, and hydroxyzine.

It’s clear that Carter is battling some pretty big demons in his life. He’s asked that people leave him alone, and he swears he’s “doing just fine.”

He announced recently that’s he’s moving to Canada, where he’s bought a house that he says is a peaceful place for him to work on his music.

Anyone who’s battled mental illness knows that it can be a complicated journey. Considering everything Carter has been through this far in his life, all his loved ones and fans certainly hope that this is just a part of his path to being well.