Aaron Carter had no idea what awaited him when he sang a cover of The Jets’ “Crush On You” in 1997 as his first single. The song became an instant hit and turned the then 9-year-old into a teen pop idol What many fans didn’t know was that the former teen heartthrob never thought he’d be a star. “I don't think I had a voice,” the 28-year-old said on OWN’s Where Are They Now. “I think I was terrible, but they did it as a joke. And then, I just wanted to get good." Suddenly, Carter was touring the world with Britney Spears and his brother’s group, The Backstreet Boys. He went on to headline his own tours, guest star on popular shows like Lizzie McGuire, and earn top 20 hits. However, he says his story is much different than other teen stars, like Justin Bieber. “Justin Bieber and other kind of kids, they started when they were like 13, 14,” Carter said. “My story’s a little different, you know, because this is all I’ve ever known, so it’s not really like this is something I could ever give up on.” Teen stardom took its toll on the "Another Earthquake" singer. He entered rehab in 2011 after excessive “drinking and smoking” led him to a deep depression. “There was a picture that leaked from one of my best friends of me smoking weed and it was on the front cover of The National Enquirer — and it damn near ruined my career,” the singer explained. “I ended up going to the Betty Ford Center, you know, to go and just take a break and try to just, you know, figure out how to get myself healthy and together. 'Cause I wasn't healthy. I was drinking and smoking and really excessively doing it and I was very depressed. I wasn't making any money and I wasn't doing any tours, I wasn't doing any concerts. Nobody was booking me for anything. I wasn't making any money. I made probably, like, $2,000 that year.” Now, Carter is sober and committed to relaunching his career. He’s performing live shows throughout the South, in states like North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia. It’s a far cry from the stadium tours Carter’s accustomed to, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Catch the singer updating us about his life when Where Are They Now returns tonight at 10 p.m. EST.