Fame Comes at a Cost for Nick and Aaron Carter

Fame and success can bring money, but it also can bring pain and -- as it did with Nick and Aaron Carter -- it can tear apart a family.

When their family was young, Jane and Bob Carter lived out of a van. But their sons' stardom carried the family from a hand-to-mouth existence to wealth and comfort on a 17-acre compound in the Florida Keys.

Nick Carter, now 25, enjoyed years of stardom as a member of the multi-platinum group the Backstreet Boys. His younger brother, Aaron, now 17, got his break when he opened for the Backstreet Boys at a 1997 concert in Germany.

The boys' success was a tribute to their talent, but it was also a tribute to the tireless persistence of their mother and manager, Jane Carter.

"I sacrificed my whole entire life for that child and for the other child for the sake of that family. I made sacrifices every day. I was willing to do it for them. For the family," she told "20/20."

Jane's sacrifices paid off, but the great wealth and fame that accompanied the boys' success took a heavy toll on the family.

Starved for a Mother -- Not a Manager

Nick and Aaron Carter said they had to cut their mother out of their lives because she insisted on acting like a boss instead of a mom. "I think, mainly what we're saying now, is that we were starved for that attention, of a motherly figure," Nick told "20/20."

"Sometimes I would just stop and I would be like, "Mom, why can't we just fight about, you know, me being a teenager, and me growing up?" Aaron said.

Family tensions heightened in 1998. Jane had spent nine months traveling the world to make 10-year-old Aaron a star, and both boys had hits. However, things weren't as sunny at home. According to Bob Carter, the couple's three daughters were increasingly resentful of their mother's focus on the high-earning sons.

"The other kids used to call Nick the 'cash cow.' And when Nick grew up ... Aaron was the cash cow. 'Oh, mom only likes the cash cow.' This is what the girls would say," Bob Carter said.

By 2003, Jane and Bob Carter had separated. Aaron lived with his mom, but decided one day to visit his dad, who he hadn't spoken with in eight months. He said his dad showed him documents that convinced him his mother hadn't paid him the money he was owed.

"Every show we did, we would probably make about maybe $40,000, $50,000 a show. And it was all gone," Aaron said.

Jane told "20/20" a different story. She points out Aaron and Bob signed a document stating that she did not mishandle Aaron's money. She described a family that was over-extended, with children who had lavish spending habits and a husband who was buying boats, tractors, tour buses and cars.

'The Price of Fame'

Jane Carter's epic story of personal and professional heartbreak came to a humiliating climax on the night of Jan. 13, 2004, when she arrived unannounced at the home she once shared with her husband and kids. That night she found her estranged husband in bed with his soon-to be fiancée, Ginger Elrod.

After throwing a remote control at Elrod's head, Aaron phoned 911 and Jane was taken into custody on a charge of battery.

After the humiliation of her arrest, Jane tried to move on. The charges against her were dropped and Jane moved back to Tampa, Fla., but the pain between the mother and her sons wasn't over just yet. Earlier this year, the National Enquirer ran photos of Aaron getting high when he was 15 years old.

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