Hilary Duff is blasting the upcoming Aaron Carter memoir hastily being published after his sudden death.
"It's really sad that within a week of Aaron's death there's a publisher that seems to be recklessly pushing a book out to capitalize on this tragedy without taking appropriate time or care to fact check the validity of his work," the How I Met Your Father star said in a statement to E! News. "To water down Aaron's life story to what seems to be unverified click-bait for profit is disgusting. In no way do I condone shedding any light on what is so obviously an uninformed, heartless, money grab."
Here's what we know about Aaron Carter: An Incomplete Story of an Incomplete Life, written by Andy Symonds: The contents of the book were collected over a three-year period during interviews with the troubled "I Want Candy" singer, who struggled with addiction and mental illness and was found dead last Saturday at age 34. While the author acknowledged that they didn't complete the book, leaving gaps and unknowns in Carter's narrative, it will still be published, by Symonds's Ballast Books on Nov. 15.
"Aaron Carter hired me to help him tell the world his story," Symonds tells Yahoo Entertainment in a statement on Friday, following Duff's criticism. "That story, while tragically cut short, was filled with good and bad. His life was far from pretty, and understandably certain people in the public eye don't want some of the stories Aaron tells in his book to come to light. That doesn't make them any less true or newsworthy. Aaron had a right — as we all do — to tell his story. As a journalist, I am honored that he chose me to help him do that. In addition to being cathartic for him, Aaron hoped this book would help others struggling with addiction and mental illness. I hope and believe it will do that."
Duff said that the publisher hadn't taken "appropriate time or care to fact check the validity of" the book, which according to the New York Post includes claims about their sex life when they were children. He claims they lost their virginity to one another at a hotel when they were both "maybe" 13 "but I don’t remember," which seems equal parts murky and icky.
The book also has a story about Carter having a sleepover at his friend Michael Jackson's house and waking up to find the King of Pop next to his cot wearing only underpants. (Carter long defended Jackson while he was alive. He cited one "inappropriate" incident, but later clarified that it was not sexual in nature. Carter named his son, Prince, as a tribute to Jackson in 2021.)
News of Carter's book being released was first announced Wednesday in a press release. It stated the book would include Carter's take on his relationship with his famous family — including his estranged big brother Nick of Backstreet Boys fame — and his battle with suicidal thoughts. It claimed that Carter, who rose to fame in the '90s in the footsteps of boybander Nick, "was an open book during the writing process. It’s a tragic irony that his autobiography will never include all his stories, thoughts, hopes, and dreams as he intended." Nonetheless, Carter, is described as a "kind, gentle, talented soul [but] not without his demons" and it stated he "was so excited about telling his story" so it is owned "to him to release the parts we did complete."
Beyond Duff's criticism of the book is Carter's own management team condemning it. They thanked Duff for her statement and said, "In the few short days following our dear friend's passing, we have been trying to grieve and process while simultaneously having to deal with obscenely disrespectful and unauthorized releases. This is a time for mourning and reflection not heartless money grabs and attention seeking," according to E! News.
The "Aaron's Party" singer and the Lizzie McGuire star had a tween romance for the ages. They were first linked in 2000, when they were 13, and the young love lasted for three years — with a very famous blip in there.
"I started dating Hilary on my 13th birthday," Carter told CNBC in 2005. "I was dating her for like a year-and-a-half and then I just got a little bored so I went and I started getting to know Lindsay, dating Lindsay." Yes, that would be Lindsay Lohan, and, yes, there was a tween love triangle."
While Carter and Duff patched things up for a bit, they ultimately split. However, he long carried a torch for the Younger star — to the point where, when they were both single at age 26 (she had just split with first husband Mike Comrie), Carter declared his love for her on Twitter in 2014. He told his fans not to "be that stupid douche that loses the love of your life forever. Like me..." and vowed to "spend the rest of my life trying ... to get back to [Duff]." Carter, who came out as bisexual in 2017, had several long-term relationships in his later years, including the final three years of his life with a on-again, off-again fiancée Melanie Martin, the mother of his only child.
Carter had many struggles, including addictions to huffing and Xanax and mental illness diagnoses including multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety and bipolar disorder, leading to a troubled life, but he wore his heart on his sleeve. After he was found dead last Saturday, at his California home, and before the book announcement, Duff said in a statement that he had a "charm that was absolutely effervescent" and her "teenage self love[d] you deeply." She said she was "deeply sorry that life was so hard" for him.
The investigation into Carter's death continues amid reports there were compressed air canisters and medications near where his body was found dead. On Friday, a L.A. County Sheriff's Department spokesperson told Yahoo Entertainment, "We do not have any new information regarding this incident."
The Los Angeles County's coroner's office performed an autopsy on Carter on Sunday with the cause of death listed as deferred, which means the medical examiner is awaiting more information, like toxicology reports.