If you thought health, weight and image issues only plagued females in the entertainment arena, Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter wants you to think again.
“I freak out if I go a little too long without being in the gym. For a long time it was all about getting the weight off because I was 240 pounds at my heaviest, and now I’m around 175, so the majority of that weight loss was due to diet and exercise,” singer Nick Carter told FOX411’s Pop Tarts this week while promoting his new solo album “I'm Taking Off” which goes on sale in the USA on iTunes on May 24.
The blonde-haired, blue-eyed “Backstreet Boys” heartthrob battled a ten-year addiction to drugs and alcohol before being diagnosed in 2009 with cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle that, in extreme cases, can require a transplant or lead to sudden death.
But since sobering up and slimming down, Carter said he feels like a “new person.”
“I look back at the person I was before and I think, ‘who is that?’ I don’t know. I feel like I was reborn a couple of years ago,” he continued. “One of the most important things that I did to turn my life around was to realize and to accept that from this minute, that’s all we have. Everything that happened behind us we cannot change so you might as well look to the future.”
Carter is not only back in business physically and mentally, he’s also back musically – and his new solo venture is reflective of his transition from boy band star to a grown man.
“There are definitely differences, it’s fresh and newer,” he said. “(In the past) I didn’t really enjoy it all as much as I should have, I was so worried about things that had happened to me in the past with my family, and not really living in the moment, so now I enjoy it a lot more.”
Speaking of family, the 31-year-old also leveraged his fame with the E! reality show “House of Carters” in 2006, which captured the dramatic lives of the five Carter kids living under one roof. However, the pop prince learned his lesson to never again put his image into someone else’s hands.
“There is a level and a standard I want to hold and go by and I’ve done a lot of work to strip away all the things reality television can make you be perceived as,” he lamented. “There was a little music in the show, but it didn’t emphasize it and it didn’t show the ‘good’ things we did as much as the ‘bad.’ I’m a good guy but I think to get viewers, in their eyes, they had to highlight the ‘bad.’”
And although Carter has someone special in his life, longtime girlfriend Lauren Kitt, he wouldn’t mind sharing “Just One Kiss” (title of debut single) with another famous face.
“Let’s just say, I’d like to kiss Lady Gaga. I just think she’s interesting,” he added. “But I have a girlfriend, so if my girlfriend reads this, it was just for the interview!”
Deidre Behar contributed to this report.