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Aaron Carter Opens Up About The Multimillion Dollar Mistakes That Led To His Bankruptcy

"Over the last 10 years, my story's been really difficult. No one has any idea what happened to me."

Aaron Carter is not broke. He wants you to know that.

When the former child pop star filed for bankruptcy in 2013, he made headlines, and his financial status was broadcast everywhere for the world to see. But the events that led up to that point, Aaron says, have been cloaked in mystery.

"Over the last 10 years, my story's been really difficult," he reveals to "Oprah: Where Are They Now -- Extra." "No one has any idea what happened to me."

Making His Millions

The younger brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, Aaron became a celebrity in his own right at age 7, and he was being managed by his parents. For the next decade, Aaron toured and made music, practically non-stop.

"I hadn't taken a break. It was almost like 10 years that I had not stopped working for my family," he says.

Though many like to compare the younger Carter to his older sibling, Aaron says he was doing quite well financially on his own, thanks to the earlier head start he had on his singing career.

"No disrespect to my brother, but when Nick was 18 years old and I was 10 years old, I was just kind of starting to make lots of money," Aaron says. "I made over $200 million in my career before I even turned 18 years old."

Thanks to a career that started at age 7, Aaron Carter says he made more than $200 million before his 18th birthday.
Thanks to a career that started at age 7, Aaron Carter says he made more than $200 million before his 18th birthday.

With the money coming in, the Carter family lived well.

"We had this massive compound, with, like, 12 houses on it," Aaron says.  "It was worth over $10 million, and I had paid a lot of that money."

He continues, "I had done a lot of that stuff, and I never got any of those returns back or anything like that… Even at this point, I've never even owned my own home."

Multimillion Dollar Mistakes

As his managers, Aaron's parents were responsible for his money. "There was a lot of neglect on my parents' part," he says. "They didn't do a lot of things right."

After he turned 18, Aaron learned that he owed $4 million in tax liens.

"Under the Coogan Law, [my parents] were supposed to be putting 15 percent of my money into my Coogan Account," he explains. "I got, like, $2 million when I turned 18 years old. I should have had at least $20 million in my account."

The Coogen Law -- a California bill meant to protect young entertainers -- requires that 15 percent of a child performer's ea
The Coogen Law -- a California bill meant to protect young entertainers -- requires that 15 percent of a child performer's earnings be put into a trust. Aaron says this didn't happen for him, and he lost out on millions.

So, owing twice as much money as he had, Aaron made the decision to file for bankruptcy. It wasn't an easy one.

"I was like, 'I don't want to do it because it's embarrassing, and people are going to be like, "Aaron Carter's broke," and all this stuff,'" Aaron says.

This isn't the case, he adds.

"I'm not broke," Aaron clarifies. "I mean, I don't make all the money in the world right now, but I'm doing the best that I can. I do a lot of shows and I write a lot of music. I'm rebuilding my life."

Looking to the Future

While Aaron says his parents made a lot of financial mistakes, he doesn't hold it against them.

"From 18 years old up until last year, I have been spending it trying to figure out how to resolve the bankruptcy issue in the … least embarrassing way for myself and the best way to protect everybody who was involved," he says. "Even if people did neglect the situation."

Overall, the 28-year-old is focused on the future -- he's reportedly releasing a new album later this year -- and says he is committed to maintaining a positive outlook.

He says, "It's important for me to take the things that could be looked at as a negative and use the power of positive thinking."

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