Aaron Carter talks proposed ‘Carter Law’ to protect child stars’ fortunes

Lyndsey Parker
Yahoo Music

Aaron Carter was only 7 years old when he first started performing; he was 9 when he went on tour with his older brother Nick’s group, the Backstreet Boys; and by age 10, he was a pop superstar in his own right. However, by 2013 he was filing a bankruptcy petition to shed more than $2 million in tax debt, mostly owed on earnings from his teen-sensation years. (Carter told Spike TV’s Life or Debt in 2016 that he’d made more than $200 million before he turned 18, but his annual income at the time was only $33,000.)

Now, as Carter turns 30 and releases his first full album in 15 years, LØVË, he wants to help other young celebrities avoid “making stupid decisions or not being 100 percent educated on finances and all those kinds of things.”

Carter tells Yahoo Entertainment, “One thing I really want to make a part of my legacy is this ‘Carter Law’ idea that I have, to protect kids from themselves, basically, when they turn 18 and they get a buttload of money and don’t know what to do with it. … A lot of younger kids are getting into this [business] — and with younger kids comes younger parents. So [parents] can be really naïve to the fact that they’re all caught up in the glitz and the glamour, and they forget about morals and principles that kids need to be taught.”

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As for how the “Carter Law” would work, it would be similar to the Coogan Law created by former Donna Reed Show child actor Paul Petersen, which puts 15 percent of an underage star’s money into an untouchable trust fund. (Carter once revealed on Oprah: Where Are They Now? that his parents, who were also his managers, had not followed that law, and that they had failed to set aside that 15 percent.) However, the Carter Law would take things further than the Coogan Law.

“The idea I have is when they turn 18, they don’t get all their money right away,” Carter explains. “They have to kind of graduate these classes in order to get increments of their money — every seven-year period of time, or something like that.”

As for the ways Carter squandered his own fortune when he was younger, he says, “I have no shame in saying that. … There’s quite a few things [I spent money on] that were pretty stupid. The 30 pairs of Icecream Pharrell shoes is one that sticks out to me. I bought every single [pair]. I took out a big chunk of my bank account for that.” Years later, Carter has nothing to show for it. “I don’t even have one single pair left,” he admits. “I don’t know where they went!”

Carter’s troubles lasted after his 2013 bankruptcy; 2017 was particularly bumpy, as he dealt with depression, an eating disorder, legal issues, and a turbulent love life that inspired much of his new album’s raw and honest lyrics.

“Last year was full of some dumb decisions that I made,” Carter admits. “I got arrested for an alleged DUI, and then I went to a treatment center to treat emotional stuff, and also I was really underweight, like 115 pounds. I came out of there at 160 pounds, really looking forward to 2018 and focusing on being happy. That’s my main goal in life: to be really happy and not dwell on things. [2017] was a tough year, but I’m excited for this year, because I have this new music, I have this amazing support system from my fans and friends and family. … I’m very optimistic about the future, and I’m going to strive to do my best and be the best artist that I can be, and come out in this industry swinging.”

Now, with LØVË, which Carter funded, co-wrote, and co-produced himself, finally out and climbing the pop charts, he seems grounded and in a good place, professionally and personally. “This is a big moment in my life, and I’ve worked really hard and fought off a lot of naysayers — people who didn’t believe that I could ever do it again, people who’d rather say, ‘Oh, I thought Aaron Carter was dead,’ versus ‘I wish him all the best,’” he says. “It was definitely really challenging getting to this point, but that just makes it all that much better.”

Aaron Carter’s LØVË is out now. Watch his full Yahoo Entertainment Facebook Live chat with his supportive fans below.

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