Fallen Idols: What happened to the Carter family?

Daisy Phillipson
Jane, Nick, Aaron, and Bob Carter

With Fallen Idols: Nick and Aaron Carter out now, here’s everything you need to know about what happened to the Carter family, including the siblings and their parents. 

Following the success of Quiet on Set, Investigation Discovery is back with a new true crime saga centering on another major fixture of ‘00s pop culture: the Carters. 

The four-part docuseries focuses on the various sexual assault allegations and lawsuits against the Backstreet Boys frontman, Nick, but it also delves into the family dynamics of the Carters and the events leading up to Aaron’s death in 2022. 

With a tragic history that’s been compared to the Von Erich family, here’s what you need to know about what happened to the Carter siblings and parents. Warning: Some may find this content distressing. 

What happened to the Carter siblings?

Image of the Carter family shown in Fallen Idols
From left to right: Aaron, Leslie, Bobbie Jean, Angel, and Nick Carter

Out of the five siblings, Bobbie Jean, Leslie, and Aaron Carter have died. They are survived by Nick and his sister Angel.

Fallen Idols details the struggles their family faced as Nick and Aaron were thrust into the spotlight at an early age, with parents Jane and Robert ‘Bob’ Carter depending on their sons. 

Speaking about Aaron, one of the Carters’ cousins, John Spaulding, says, “No child should have to think about the wellbeing of his family at that age. And it spilled over to Aaron and Nick’s relationship.”

The docu-series also sees accusations that the parents would purposely cause a rift between the two brothers. 

Ashley Repp, a friend of Aaron’s twin sister Angel who has accused Nick Carter of raping her in 2003, said the 2006 reality series House of Carters was accurate, in that the siblings were “always fighting with each other.”

“Out of the entire family, Leslie and Aaron were always kind,” she added. Leslie dabbled in music like her brothers, debuting through DreamWorks Records with the single ‘Like Wow!’ before forming a band named The Other Half from 2006 to 2009. 

In 2008, she married Mike Ashton, and the pair went on to have a baby together in 2011. The following year, Leslie died at age 25. Although it wasn’t listed as the cause of death, authority reports stated she had passed from an overdose on prescription medications.

Aaron and Leslie Carter
Ashley said Aaron and Leslie “were always kind”

Ten years later, following a public struggle with substance abuse issues and spats with Nick and his critics, Aaron died at age 34. The cause of death was reported as accidental drowning in his bathtub after inhaling difluoroethane and taking alprazolam.

Fallen Idols discusses the various issues Aaron dealt with, from fame at such a young age to the alleged neglect of his parents, as well as the virtual conflicts he would have online during active addiction and his up-and-down relationship with his brother Nick. 

Aaron’s ex-fiancée Melanie Martin spoke about how he would be doing well during his periods of sobriety, with the pair going on to have a son together in 2021. “When Prince was born, Aaron was doing great,” she said. 

At the time, various people in his life described how he was facing threats to his wellbeing from people online, including a YouTuber named Ganval, who even made comments about Prince and sent a can of duster to his home, egging him on to relapse. 

While Aaron publicly supported Nick’s accusers, he later went back on this. He went through periods of sobriety and stints in rehab, but when he relapsed, his relationship with Melanie broke down. In November 2022, Aaron was found dead at his home in Lancaster, California. 

Bobbie Jean, the second-eldest Carter sibling, mostly avoided the entertainment industry but she did appear in House of Carters. In December 2023, just over a year after Aaron’s death, Bobbie Jean died at age 41.

She too had struggled with legal issues, having been arrested for theft and fentanyl possession in June that same year. According to a Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Department report obtained by People, her death was ruled as “accidental” and caused by “intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl and methamphetamine.”

Both Nick and Angel have spoken about the impact the deaths have had on their family. Taking to Instagram at the start of the year, the Backstreet Boys singer wrote, “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. I am completely heartbroken.”

Angel, Aaron’s twin sister, has also mostly stayed out of the spotlight. She now works as a mental health advocate, going by the name Angel Carter Conrad online after marrying Corey Conrad in 2014, who she shares a daughter with. 

Instagram post from Angel Carter Conrad
Angel continues to advocate for mental health

One of her positions includes being a champion for the non-profit Kids Mental Health Foundation, helping to organize events and raise awareness. 

Speaking about the issue with CBS Mornings earlier this year, she said, “Children’s mental health is so important, and we want to create a world where mental health is a vital part of every child’s upbringing.

“That’s what I’m doing with my daughter, is I’m creating a world where there is structure, there is discipline, there is innocence. Children need to have their innocence and Aaron did not. He was working like an adult from a very young age and he just wanted to be home.”

For Nick, the Backstreet Boys are still going, having celebrated their 30th anniversary in April 2023. He is now facing numerous lawsuits from the women who accused him of sexual assault and has countersued. The cases are ongoing. 

What happened to the Carter parents?

Robert "Bob" and Jane Carter
Robert “Bob” and Jane Carter

The siblings’ father Robert “Bob” Carter died in 2017 at age 65, while their mother, Jane Carter, is still alive and has faced numerous accusations about her parenting in the new docuseries.

Jane and Bob married in 1979 before having the five Carter children together. In 2004, they got divorced. Numerous people close to the family describe the couple’s hands-off approach to parenting, including Ashley Repp. 

In Fallen Idols, she described going to stay at the Carter compound in Florida Keys as a teenager, saying that she’d never experienced that level of freedom before. “Every kid had their own house,” she said. “You could see on Cribs the Carter kids would take these big boats out and have yacht parties.”

Ashley went on to say, “Even when Bob Carter did make appearances, he was drinking right along with everyone else.” 

Cousin John Spaulding also recalled a time being picked up by Bob when he was 16, saying he was driving “140 miles an hour on the freeway with open containers in the car.” He added, “There was free reign to do whatever you wanted… my dad and my aunt and uncle were all drinking pretty heavily.”

Speaking about the relationship between Nick, Jane, and Bob, a family friend named Jen said, “What I saw mainly between Nick and his parents was business. It was about money. Bob and Jane, when they split, the impact that it had on the family was disastrous.”

The Carter siblings’ complicated relationship with their parents has been well documented. Back in 2003, Aaron filed for legal emancipation against his mother, accusing her of embezzling $100,000 from his bank account. However, he later dropped the file and the pair resolved their differences. 

Jane and Aaron Carter
Jane was accused of embezzling $100,000 from her son

Jane also faced legal battles a year after the divorce after she was arrested for attacking Bob’s new girlfriend, Ginger Elrod. According to reports at the time, the charges were dropped but a restraining order was put in place. 

Last August, Angel spoke out against her mom’s decision to release photos of Aaron’s death scene, which she did while contesting the reported cause of death, suggesting instead that he had been killed. 

“It was a true invasion of privacy and something that Aaron would’ve never wanted the public to see,” Angel told People, explaining that she hadn’t seen her mom since. “Aaron dying was the worst possible outcome for all of us. My brother deserves to be here.”

Fallen Idols: Nick and Aaron Carter is available to stream on Max now. For more true crime, find out about 50 Cent’s P Diddy documentary, how to watch the Burning Sun documentary in the US, and whether Ashley Madison’s Sam and Nia Rader are still together.

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