Born in New York in 1980, Nick Carter joined the Backstreet Boys at age 12. While he became an international star with the highly successful pop group, the pressures of fame led to a lengthy battle with substance abuse. Along with his singing career, Carter has pursued interests in writing, directing and environmental activism.
Nickolas Gene Carter was born in Jamestown, New York, on January 28, 1980, to Robert and Jane Carter, owners of a bar called the Yankee Rebel. His childhood was booked with talent shows and work in commercials.
In 1992, Carter auditioned for a new pop group, the Backstreet Boys. Carter made the cut as the youngest member, joining AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell. After touring Europe, the Backstreet Boys released their 1997 debut album, which sold 13 million copies with songs like "Quit Playin' Games (With My Heart)" and "As Long as You Love Me." Seven years of touring and hits followed before Carter took a break from the band.
From Singer to Reality Star
In 2002, the singer recorded his first solo album, but it wasn't super successful. Carter then turned his efforts to acting, and eventually to reality TV in 2006 with the series The Carters. The show spotlighted the singer, as well as his younger brother Aaron and three sisters. (Sister Leslie died of a drug overdose in 2012.) Around this time, Carter also reunited with the Backstreet Boys while continuing solo projects.
Activist and More
Carter has expanded his resume outside of singing and reality television to writing, producing and directing. He created the short film The Pendant in 2010, and directed the music video for Just One Kiss in 2011.
Carter is also passionate about the environment, particularly when it comes to the oceans. (He has been an avid surfer and powerboat racer, and he started his own racing team.) Active in the United Nations Environmental Program and the International Coral Reef Network, Carter even lobbied Capitol Hill about protecting the planet.
Personal Struggles and Redemption
Like so many other young stars, Carter fell prey to substance abuse, including alcohol and cocaine, during his career. He attributed his 10-year battle with drugs to the pressures of celebrity life and the breakup of his parents' tumultuous marriage. His addictions led to DUIs, an arrest over a bar brawl, weight issues and other problems. However, a 2008 diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, a heart problem that killed actor Chris Penn, prompted him to get on the road to sobriety.
Carter has since straightened out his life and regained the hope of a promising future. He released his autobiography, Facing the Music and Living to Talk About It, in 2013, and the following year he married longtime girlfriend Lauren Kitt. In 2015, the former boy band star got the chance to show off his moves once again as a contestant on Season 21 of Dancing With the Stars.
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