Following news that Carter, 34, was found dead on Saturday, Duff took to social media to post a message addressed to the singer. As teen stars, Duff and Carter dated on and off for about three years, and the "That's How I Beat Shaq" performer made a guest appearance on her popular Disney Channel series, Lizzie McGuire.
In a note "for Aaron," the actress, 35, reflected on her ex's troubled life, which included substance abuse, mental health struggles and losing custody of his infant son, Prince, earlier this year.
"I'm deeply sorry that life was so hard for you and that life was so hard for you and that you had to struggle in front of the whole world," she wrote. "You had a charm that was absolutely effervescent ... boy did my teenage self love you deeply."
Duff ended her note by writing that she was "sending love to [Carter's] family at this time."
"Rest easy," she signed off.
Duff and Carter's relationship began in 2001, and reportedly overlapped with his romance with another teen icon of the time, Lindsay Lohan. Though he and Duff — now a mom of three who wed second husband Matthew Koma in 2019 — had called it quits for good by 2004, Carter continued to declare his love for the star.
In 2014 Carter referred to the How I Met Your Father star as the "love of my life" and shared his regret about losing her.
"I don't know who she is today, she doesn't know who I am today, but I would sweep her off her feet if I ever got a chance to again and fix what I did wrong," he told Entertainment Tonight.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department confirmed to Yahoo that deputies responded to Carter’s home in Lancaster, Calif. on Saturday shortly after 11 a.m. Upon arrival, officers found a deceased body. Homicide is handling the investigation, which is standard procedure at this time.
CBS News reports that, according to a spokesperson from the sheriff's department, Carter's house sitter called police after discovering the singer's body in the bathtub.