Three siblings dead by 41: The complicated story of the Carter family.

Content warning: This story includes descriptions of alleged child sexual abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence.

Thirteen months on from the death of Aaron Carter, his sister Bobbie Jean Carter also died. Her passing marked the third loss of a Carter sibling, leaving behind Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and sister Angel.

She was found unresponsive in the bathroom of her home in Florida on December 24, 2023 and then immediately taken to hospital, PEOPLE reported. In February 2024, her cause of death was revealed as "intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl and methamphetamine," according to a report released by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Department, seen by PEOPLE. Her manner of death was listed as accidental.

At the time of her death, Bobbie Jean was on probation for cocaine possession. However, Bobbie Jean's roommates told officers she had not used any narcotics since her release from prison in early November 2023.

She was held for two months after allegedly stealing stickers and markers from a store while also allegedly being found in possession of fentanyl and was charged with drug possession and retail theft.

Angel Carter, Aaron Carter and Bobbie Jean Carter, 2006. Image: Getty.


The Carters' mother, Jane, confirmed the news in a statement, according to TMZ.

"I am in shock from learning of the sudden death of my daughter, Bobbie Jean, and I will need time to process the terrible reality of this happening for the third time," she told the publication.

"When I am able to think clearly, I’ll release a fuller statement, but until then, I would request to be left to grieve in private."

Jane asked the public to "say a prayer" for Bobbie Jean's eight-year-old daughter, Bella.

"[H]owever deeply a parent feels the loss of a child, the suffering of a young child at the loss of a parent must be much greater. So, I would ask the sympathetic to say a prayer for my precious eight-year-old granddaughter Bella, who previously lost her father and is now also left without her mother," she said.


On Thursday, January 4, Nick shared a childhood photo and a statement on Instagram about Bobbie.

Nick shared a childhood photo of himself and Bobbie Jean, along with a touching message. Image: Instagram @nickcarter.


"It may take a lifetime to fully process the loss my family has endured over the years - most recently, with the sudden passing of our sister Bobbie Jean," Carter wrote. "I am completely heartbroken."

He thanked fans for the support they've shown him and his family during this troubling time.

"Thank you for all your love and kind words," he said. "We are reminded again that life is precious, fleeting and to cherish the time we have with the ones we love. I know she is finally at peace with God."

"I love you BJ," he concluded.

Bobbie Jean was 41 when she died, following Aaron, who died aged 34 in November 2022, and Leslie Carter, who died at 25 years old in January 2012.

The loss of Bobbie adds another complicated layer for the Carter family, who have faced many challenges over the years.

Who are Nick and Aaron Carter?

Arguably the most well-known of the five siblings, Nick and Aaron were born seven years apart and were raised by their parents, Jane Elizabeth and Robert Carter. They had three sisters – Bobbie Jean, Leslie and Angel.

Their childhood was relatively quiet, but Nick's rise to fame with the Backstreet Boys in the early 90s put the family in the limelight. And this meant it also thrust a young Aaron into the spotlight.


By 1997, Aaron performed as the opening act for the Backstreet Boys, per Nick's recommendation. At the time of that performance, Aaron was only nine.

"Nick's the one who always wanted me to do this job that I'm doing right now," an 11-year-old Aaron told MTV News in 1998. "He just looks out for me a lot."

Soon after that performance, Aaron became the quintessential teen pin-up, with bubblegum songs like 'I Want Candy' flinging him into mainstream fame. His second album, Aaron's Party (Come Get It), sold three million copies in the United States. At not even 16 years old, Aaron had released four albums.

"My mum and dad did a really good job," Aaron told PEOPLE of his childhood stardom. "When I grew up, I had a bodyguard outside my door. I wasn't allowed to party. I wasn't allowed to do anything. As soon as I got, like, 17 years old, 16 years old, I started being very rebellious."

And that's exactly what happened.

Listen to Aaron Carter talk about addiction. Post continues below.

Video via The Doctors.

As a teen, Aaron turned to acting and appeared in the hit Disney show Lizzie McGuire. He then infamously dated Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan — at the same time.

Aaron then proposed to Playboy model, Kari Ann Peniche, onstage at Las Vegas' Palms Casino Resort in front of a crowd of 200 gathered for the Playboy Comedy Tour. However, just six days later, they made a "mutual decision" to call it off. It was around this time that Aaron's drug use began, and it intensified as the years went on.

In an interview with American talk show The Doctors, Aaron shared the reality of his drug addiction.

"I started [huffing] when I was about 16. My sister Leslie got me into it," Aaron recalled. "I didn't really touch it until I was about 23, right after I did Dancing with the Stars. And I started going to Staples and Office Depot, and different places, buying it with cash so it wouldn't be reported on receipts or anything like that, so no one could trace me."

"I was huffing because I was really f**king stupid and sad but this is really no excuse," he continued. "I was huffing because I'm a drug addict."

Addiction is something that has run in the family. Their mum struggled with alcohol addiction, with Aaron saying, "her drinking [started at] 5am in the morning [when] she woke up. She drank a whole bottle of vodka."

Nick said he began drinking heavily in his teens and then moved onto drugs at 18 or 19, starting with marijuana and moving to cocaine, ecstasy, and prescription painkillers. In 2002, Nick was arrested for a nightclub brawl, where he was reportedly heavily intoxicated. A few years later, the Backstreet Boy member was arrested and charged with drink driving.


Around this same time, pop singer, Melissa Schuman, alleged that Nick had raped her. She came forward with her allegations in 2017, but prosecutors in Los Angeles said they would not pursue sexual assault charges against Nick because the statute of limitations had expired. Nick denies the allegations.

The late 2000s is when Nick decided to become sober, following a serious health scare.

"I went out and just went nuts," he told PEOPLE in 2009. "I drank so much and I did a bunch of blow. I felt like I was trying to kill myself.

The Carter family — Aaron on the left, Leslie in the middle, and Nick on the right. Image: Getty.


Faced with the realisation that his life depended on getting sober, Nick said that he didn't want to die.

"I don't want to be that person people read about and think, 'That's sad that he couldn't stop it and killed himself.'"

Now Nick has been sober for more than a decade. He's married to actress, Lauren Kitt, and the couple have three children together. Ever since becoming sober, Nick said his relationships with his wider family have become quite estranged.

Nick and Aaron's sister Leslie also struggled with addiction, which led to her 2012 death aged 25. Her cause of death was determined to be a drug overdose, with three different prescription drugs found in her system including Olanzapine, Cyclobenzaprine, and Xanax.

Years after her death, Aaron alleged that his sister Leslie had abused him growing up.

"My sister Leslie suffered from bipolar and took lithium to treat it," Aaron tweeted. "She never liked the way it made her feel and when she was off of it she did things that she never meant to do I truly believe that. I was 10 years old...."


"My sister raped me from the age of 10 to 13 years old when she wasn't on her medications," he continued.

The allegations Aaron made against his sister never went further, nor did he elaborate on them again. Meanwhile, Aaron's drug use and addiction continued to spiral over the years.


In 2008, Aaron was arrested by police after they found more than two ounces of marijuana in his vehicle. In 2011, Aaron's manager released a statement saying the singer had checked into rehab "to heal some emotional and spiritual issues he was dealing with".

He continued to go to rehab on and off throughout the rest of his life.

Even just before his sister's death in 2012, Aaron said he had managed to rake up enough money for Leslie to go to rehab, and was about to offer it to her, but it was too late. In 2013, he ended up filing for bankruptcy.

From this point on, the relationship between brothers Nick and Aaron soured. 

Aaron did not attend his brother's wedding in 2014, and they were exchanging heated words via social media. In 2017, Aaron made headlines when he was arrested for driving under the influence and being in possession of drugs.

His brother Nick posted to Twitter following the incident: "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... Family isn't always easy, [but] we're all here for you."

However, in a public statement, Aaron revealed there was family tension.

"If my own blood 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."


Nick and Aaron together in happier times. Image: Getty.

In September 2017, Aaron checked himself into rehab before relapsing and then admitting himself again in October of the same year. It was at this point that Aaron confirmed his mental health struggles, saying: "The official diagnosis is that I suffer from multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety; I'm manic depressive. I'm prescribed to Xanax, Seroquel, gabapentin, hydroxyzine, trazodone, omeprazole."


By 2019, Nick and sister Angel had released a statement saying they'd taken out a restraining order against their younger brother.

Nick said the legal move came "in light of Aaron's increasingly alarming behaviour."

The statement read: "After careful consideration, my sister Angel and I regret that we were required to seek a restraining order against our brother Aaron. In light of Aaron's increasingly alarming behaviour and his recent confessions that he harbours thoughts and intentions of killing my pregnant wife and unborn child, we were left with no choice but to take every measure possible to protect ourselves and our family.

"We love our brother and truly hope he gets the proper treatment he needs before any harm comes to himself or anyone else."

They added they were particularly scared because Aaron legally owned guns and was allowed to keep them. He had been photographed with a large rifle at his home.

Aaron then responded to the claims by tweeting: "Take care Nick Carter. We're done for life."

Over the next few years, the siblings continued to be estranged. It's believed Nick and Aaron were not on speaking terms for the rest of Aaron's life, including when Aaron welcomed a son, Prince, with his ex-fiancée, Melanie Martin, in late 2021.


In September 2022, Aaron announced he had checked himself into rehab in order to regain custody of Prince, following his split from Melanie, and had been voluntarily attending an outpatient rehab program.

"I want my son back. That's the headline right there, I want my son back. Being a dad is the most important thing to me. Just being domesticated and civilised and adulting and taking care of my responsibilities," the singer shared.

Aaron said that he had lost custody of his son following a court order, due to drug and domestic violence claims. He later explained he had been involved in "group therapy, parenting classes, domestic violence classes".

In November 2022, the singer and actor was found dead. 

Reflecting on his brother's death, Nick said he was devastated that Aaron had not been able to find the help "he so desperately needed".

Following the news of Aaron's death, Nick's performance in London alongside the rest of the Backstreet Boys went ahead. Nick was seen breaking down in tears on the stage as an 'In Memoriam' to Aaron played on the concert's screen, as the Backstreet Boys sang 'No Place'.

"Sometimes we want to blame someone or something for a loss," Nick said in a statement. "But the truth is that addiction and mental illness is the real villain here. I will miss my brother more than anyone will ever know. I love you Chizz. Now you get a chance to finally have some peace you could never find here on earth. God, please take care of my baby brother."


As for Aaron's twin sister Angel, she said her brother was "part of her". 

"To lose a twin, it's an out-of-body experience. He's a part of me. And it was like when he died, I had this sense of, 'I've got to get him in my house. I've got to bring him home and protect him,'" she told PEOPLE earlier this year.

"For a few months after he died, it was my last way to protect him. I don't want anybody to do anything weird with him," she continued. 

"I can't trust that anybody else is not going to exploit him. So at that time, that was my last act of love."

She buried him at a memorial park in Hollywood Hills. 

Her relationship with her mother Jane, Angel said, was strained, after she chose to release graphic images of Aaron's death scenes. 

While Jane maintained she made the images public as she suspected Aaron's death was a homicide, the photos appeared to show faeces on the floor and a bathtub filled with green water. 

In Angel's mind, it was a "true invasion of privacy". 

"[It was]... something that Aaron would've never wanted the public to see."


In April 2023, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner ruled Aaron's death as accidental and attributed it to drowning after inhaling difluoroethane and taking alprazolam (Xanax). 

Angel said drug abuse made for a toxic family dynamic and only got worse when Nick and Aaron shot to fame. 

"Fame and money took over our family," she said, whose father died suddenly from an apparent heart attack in 2017.

"I always felt like that was the beginning of the end," she explained. "Aaron was already in a bad place, but it was like a domino effect."

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

If this brings up any issues for you, contact Bravehearts, an organisation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse, on 1800 272 831.

If this post brought up any issues for you, you can contact Drug Aware, Australia's 24hr alcohol and drug support line. You can reach them on (08) 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024. 

This article was originally published on November 7, 2023 and has been updated with new information.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.