Dating vanity fair slips

01 Jan

But that relationship unraveled seven months later amid accusations from her friends that Carter had hit Hilton (a charge he vehemently denied to PEOPLE at the time), and by the time the Backstreet Boys reunited in 2004, it was clear, say his bandmates, that Carter was struggling.

“Sometimes the last people you want to take advice from are the people closest to you,” says bandmate Howie Dorough, 35. When he was scolded, rather than motivating him, he curled up and crawled into a darker hole.” Carter’s drinking wasn’t the only thing out of control: Although a teenage diet of fast food and candy meant Carter had always been “a little bit overweight,” in 2006 he hit an all-time high of 224 lbs., a direct result of his partying.

And while he has not spoken to his father recently, Carter says their relationship is intact, and he is repairing the rift with his mother.

In 2002 he released a solo album that went gold; a year later he embarked on a high-profile relationship with Paris Hilton.

“There were things that were happening, proving that maybe what I was doing was out of control, all sorts of crazy stuff,” Carter admits.

“But every time those red flags would come up, I’d appease people in my inner circle and make them think everything was all right.” Even when it became clear that everything was most definitely not all right—last spring, during the European leg of the Backstreet Boys’ tour, he began experiencing a mild discomfort in his chest—Carter would not stop partying.

“I would get tired because we were partying so much, so I would do a bump [of cocaine] just to wake myself up,” he says.

“I would be that person who would stay at these clubs till the lights come on and they’re playing “Don’t Stop Believin.'” People are looking at me going, ‘Is that Nick Carter?