This is very tough to hear.
According to Aaron Carter’s manager Taylor Helgeson, cyberbullying played a major impact in the pop star’s mental health struggles before his untimely death. Speaking to Page Six on Friday about the late I Want Candy singer, who was found dead in his bathtub on November 5, the Big Umbrella Management executive opened up about the hateful comments people would send Aaron’s way, saying:
“It was like a nightmare.”
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“It was nonstop. It was so relentless and, yeah, it did a number on him.”
While the music industry insider previously revealed he does not believe Aaron’s death was intentional, he knows for a fact his mental health was affected by consistent bullying from trolls online and occasionally in person. Recalling a time Carter was heckled at a live performance, he continued:
“It really affected him, and he didn’t let it show in the performance, but when he got off the stage, he was like, really sad. He wasn’t angry, he was sad.”
The hurt only continued to get worse when he looked at social media after the fact, he added:
“He would look at this stuff and it hurt him a lot.”
While Taylor once offered to run Aaron’s social media accounts for him so he wouldn’t be subject to the hate, that would “never happen” because the House of Carters alum felt the need to respond to his haters. She says he “could not seem to keep himself off” social media no matter how brutal it was sometimes:
“A lot of days, he felt like he had something to prove. He could just stand in this mess.”
While he’s not blaming trolls for the artist’s death, he definitely doesn’t think the negative feedback helped, insisting:
“I wouldn’t go as far as to blame that entirely [for Carter’s death], but I watched that break him down over a long period of time.”
A reminder for everyone to be more kind on the internet. You never know what someone is going through on the other side of the screen.
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On another note, part of the reason the manager thinks the 34-year-old struggled so much with mental health and addiction is that he didn’t have the proper tools to help navigate his difficult life:
“He never chose his life. He didn’t choose that. He was too young for that, he was like 5. He played his part. I don’t think he was given the same tools that a lot of us are to navigate life in a way that leaves room for us to live sustainable, good lives.”
What’s especially sad about hearing all of this is that following Aaron’s tragic death, there has been such an outpouring of love for him — from fans to estranged family and friends. It’s disappointing he wasn’t able to see that in person. But the “hard part” is also for his friends to see “the other [AKA negative] stuff” continue to prevail online, Taylor dished:
“That’s the big reason why … why we’re talking. Because somebody needs to say different … He was a wonderful, wonderful person.”
Speaking of those in the Lizzie McGuire alum’s inner circle, Taylor went on to address Aaron’s estranged relationship with his brother Nick Carter. Despite various reports, the exec confirmed the brothers didn’t get to speak directly before the dad of one’s death, but the Backstreet Boys star was aware that he had regrets, Taylor revealed:
“I know that they had plans … to get together, to forgive. I don’t know exactly when, but I know that they wanted to — that was the idea.”
“[Aaron] said, ‘When the time is right, we will figure this out,’ and that’s the irony, right? ‘The time is right.’”
Oh, man. So true…
While the bros never got to reconcile in person, Nick did pen a heartfelt tribute to him after his death, writing in part:
“I have always held onto the hope, that he would somehow, someday want to walk a healthy path and eventually find the help that he so desperately needed. Sometimes we want to blame someone or something for a loss. But the truth is that addiction and mental illness is the real villain here.”
We continue to think of all of Carter’s loved ones in this very tough time. To hear more from Taylor, check out his full interview (below).
Rest in peace, Aaron. Sorry you had to go through so much in your short life.
If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, help is available. Consider checking out the resources SAMHSA provides at https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available. Consider contacting the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, or text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.