Questions About Leslie Carter OD

By Sam Lansky 02/02/12

Police discovered the 25-year-old star with a pile of muscle relaxants next to her body. Her stepmother, Ginger, was also visibly intoxicated.

Leslie Carter died Tuesday. Photo via

Nearly every member of the famous Carter family has dealt with mental illness or substance abuse, and Leslie Carter—who passed away on Tuesday, aged 25—was no exception. Police reports now say she died of a drug overdose. Carter was known for her 2001 single “Like Wow,” as well as her high-profile family. Her older brother, Nick, was a member of the Backstreet Boys, while her younger brother, Aaron, was a teen pop sensation in his own right. The family’s turbulent personal relationships were documented on the reality show, House of Carters. Leslie’s death was the subject of speculation, and with good reason: Her stepmother, Ginger Carter, said Leslie had “a long history of mental illness,” and was taking medication to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and anxiety. Muscle relaxants were also found next to Leslie’s body. Authorities say that Ginger—who gave a statement to police about the circumstances surrounding the death—was also intoxicated, reportedly “under the influence of an unknown drug” and showing signs of “slurred speech, pin-point pupils, [and] glassy eyes.” While making her statement, she kept falling asleep, causing the interviewing officer to grow concerned that Ginger herself was at risk of overdose. An official cause of death will be determined following the toxicology report.

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Sam Lansky is the West Coast Editor at TIME. He has written for Rolling Stone, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, Grantland, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, OutBillboard and more. He is also the author of The Gilded Razor. You can find Sam on Linkedin and Twitter.